Friday, March 02, 2007

Skinning the White Weasel

Seriously, no more of Michigan State's Drew Neitzel running around hitting three pointers that touch every part of the rim twice before falling in. I, like most Badger fans I imagine, am pissed. I'm pissed that Sparty pushed us around last time. I'm pissed that Kam missed the front end of that one and one. I'm pissed that Butch had that freakish injury and then started crying on national television. Accordingly, I really want the Badgers to take out the frustration of the last week and a half on Sparty. I am pissed, and I demand a whuppin'.

Since our loss in East Lansing, I've thought it over, and Wisconsin's talent level is better than Michigan State's. They basically have a bunch of relatively athletic but relatively unskilled relatively big guys. Then they have a couple athletic, but not overly scary guards, and then Raymar (also not a real name) Morgan, a raw Shannon Brown-type, and Mr. Eminem wannabe, who's game is basically running hard off of illegal screens and shooting jump shots. Whoopety do. (Did anyone notice how totally standard white-bread his parents were? They were shown in the stands during the last game. Is someone pretending to be "from the streets" or is it just me? Friggin' poseur.)

Anyhow, we're better and it's time to show it. MSU will probably try to do a tight man on man defense, like last time. We have to respond effectively. Drive by it and go to the basket, or look to pass when someone comes to help. Make them foul you. People who aren't Alando seem to be afraid of driving; I'm guessing this is because it increases your chances of turning the ball over (in addition to easing the opposing team's transition to a fast break) and thus Bo likely disapproves of doing so until the shot clock is getting low. But I really think it's the best option when the other team is pressing perimeter players that closely. I also say we switch around Trevon and Flowers on Neitzel, as opposed to just Flowers. He looked a little worn out by the end of the Spaty game. Until Ohio A&M's last play, that combination did a good job of frustrating my pick for Big Ten Freshman of the Year, Mike Conley, Jr., aka mister "I wish I had a pencil-thin mustache." Also, our back court defenders need to accentuate the ever-so-slightly moving screens Sparty runs for Neitzel. Ram them hard. Go sprawling sideways. Wear mouthguards.

And, of course, rebounding. We need to do it, particularly on the defensive end. (Badger frontcourt--put your ass on your man and push him away from the basket.) Also, it would probably help matters if the refs looked over the rulebook before the game and rediscovered the foul called "Over the Back." Hopefully, this time our coaching staff will be able to do some pointed lobbying to this effect without drawing technicals. (Sigh...) Finally, we need to make Sparty pay for sending three or four people after offensive rebounds. Bo prides himself on having his team take high percentage shots. Hey, Bo--close range shots on 3 on 2 breaks ARE high percentage shots. Get the defensive rebound, hurl the ball down court to Kam or Hughes or Bohannon or Alando, and get easy points. It's fun, it's relatively easy-- it can actually be "Showtime" as Magic and Worthy demonstrated. Like those Laker teams, we have a really athletic jumper/finisher who is great on the break in A-Tuck. And for god's sake, pushing a 3 on 2 break is certainly a more efficient means of scoring points than waiting for Sparty to get their defense set.

Also, as I stated in a previous post, I urge someone to take a sign to the game that reads "Marquise is a Delicious Breakfast Juice" on one side, and "Trade in Your Marquise for a Dannon Frusion Smoothie" on the other. Vengeance. Retribution. Deterrence. Rehabilitation. Redemption. Death to Sparty.

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