Whoop! What a wacky game. And hello Marcus Landry and Trevon Hughes. Way to rumble. Landry was clearly representing mad hip-hop and R&B flavor upon being back in the Good Land and performing in front of his people. 4 blocks in 20 minutes, new-found assertiveness by the basket. Wee haw!So let's discuss what the hell happened...
First off, Alando is the man, and is seriously able to take people to the basket off the dribble. Getting Barro in foul trouble, thus eliminating Moo's main interior defensive presence was likely a serious plus for UW. He had three fouls in the first half, and finished with four. The lanes were therefore open, and A-Tuck took Wes Jr. to the rack repeatedly. Why Crean didn't shift who was guarding Alando, I don't know. You'd think throwing a bunch of different people at him would prevent him from getting into a rhythm of sorts.
Second, when we were deep in the second half, and Bohannon hadn't hit the floor yet, I was certain that he was sick or something. And I thought, why that actually worked out well because Hughes (despite some bad turnovers, like the unnecessary charge against James) is playing great. But it turns out Bohannon was fine. Bo just went with Hughes from the beginning thinking that he matched up better with Moo's guards. Well done, Bo. An astute move that I wrongly believed you'd be afraid to make given Hughes' limited minutes. See this for a more thorough explanation.
Third, it was nice to see that our 3-point defense actually doesn't suck, and that we had just played against a bunch of teams that were on hot streaks. The proof/pudding is that Moo shot 3 of 19 on 3-pointers, in their own building. Even when people got temporarily open, we made a strong effort to fly out there late, at least giving them something to think about. And the "foul" called on Flowers during James three attempt in the closing minutes was Grade A Baloney Sausage. By the way, did anyone else notice that Ed Hightower was wearing patent leather hightops?
Fourth, though we had some lame defensive responses, particularly on tips and Moo's offensive rebounds, our help defense was outstanding. Landry, and his outsize wingspan, played their best game of the season. That's the guy we remember from last year. Stiemsma played well defensively, before starting to lay down the elbows. Goodness, I wish he could stay on the floor longer, but two turnovers (and offensive fouls no less) in six minutes is not a good rate, though he had two blocks as well. Overall, Moo shot 39% from the field, and we outrebounded them by 6. (That's probably an effect of them shooting much worse than we did).
Fifth, we still managed to win despite having a season high 22 turnovers. Looking at that stat alone, you'd think we wouldn't have come out on top, but somehow it happened, even though we only hit three 3s. Very weird. I guess our solid D, and Moo's poor outside shooting played a big part. As did Alando, who 59% from the floor. Moo turned the ball over 16 times, and Wes Jr. and McNeal fouled out, with McNeal and Barro being in foul trouble for most of the game. Since they're a pretty shallow team at this point, that likely helped a lot.
Finally, the papist student section, perhaps suffering from irritability after camping our for the "best" seats, was quite foul-mouthed. Chanting our "f*** the Badgers" at one point, on national television. Not only naughty, but unoriginal, and something that will not curry favor with Disney-owned ESPN. It's things like that that make you wonder whether Marquette is a four year, accredited institution. I'm not saying their not, it just makes you wonder.
Next on the schedule, UWM and then Pitt, both at home. Thoughts on #2 ranked Pitt will come later in the week, but on a purely superficial basis, I think they can be had. Stiemsma can take Aaron Gray.
Packers play at 3 pm this afternoon in the city by the bay. I guess the game will show us whether (A) we'll see whether we were just getting our butts kicked by good teams the past three weeks, or (B) we're just plain bad. As noted before, I am looking for improvement in our youth (that means you Hawk, Collins, Jennings and linemen), but for drafting purposes, will not be upset if we lose. I will not be excited if we pull out a win because of Brett and DD and Al Harris. Those guys don't have much, if any, time left. I won't be seeing the whole game, because the wife is pulling me away to see Moscow Cats. Yeah, not joking.