Monday, March 10, 2008

Positives and Negatives

Well, the Big Ten announced their annual awards this afternoon and alas, Michael Flowers did not win defensive player of the year. That went to Purdoodoo's Chris Kramer, who did lead the league in steals. Still, I'd take Flowers over Kramer any day of the week. And I have no doubt that Flowers could equal Kramer's steal total if the Badgers played Purdue's style of pressure defense. Kramer is, undoubtedly, an excellent player, but it's a shame. The coaches bought into numbers over substance, in my opinion.

The positives were that Michael was named to the all-defensive team, for the second straight season. Joining him on there was Joe Krabbenhoft, someone who doesn't get enough credit for being an awfully good defender. Michael, deservedly so, was also named second-team all conference by the media and third-team by the coaches. (I guess the coaches were just generally a little more down on Michael than the press, unfortunately.) Similarly, Marcus Landry was second team by the coaches and third team by the media. Congratulations, Marcus, and I hope you'll continue to develop during the rest of your time at Wisconsin. In a surprise, Butch was named first-team all conference by both the coaches and the media. Congratulations and well done, Brian. I believe Brian was honorable mention last season. Also, Trevon Hughes made honorable mention all-conference in both squads. I have no doubt that, barring injury or tragedy, Hughes will be a first team guy during the rest of his time here, however long that is.

The great and suprising award-- Jason Bohannon as sixth man of the year. Amen to that one. Without his shooting, capable defense, and smart decision-making, I don't know where Wisconsin would be. Certainly not atop the Big Ten. The complete list can be found here.

As far as my predictions, my main problem was drastically overstating everyone's opinion of Northwestern's Kevin Coble. I guess my opinion was biased by his total en fuego-ness against Indiana a few weeks ago, when NU gave them a scare. He scored 37 points, I think. None of the Hoosiers could stop him. And I underrated everyone's infatuation with Robbie Hummel who was a unanimous first-teamer, even though he lost out on freshman of the year to one-and-done Eric Gordon. I also can't believe Drew Neitzel made first team from the coaches. He had a rough season and Sparty underachieved.

Anyhow, congratulations to all the Badgers mentioned for their excellent achievements. It's remarkable that every one of the Badgers' top six players won some form of all conference recognition. Simply remarkable. And congratulation to the rest of the team for helping get these guys the recognition-- through hard work and dedication.

Addendum! The Journal-Sentinel, I guess as a product of being the largest paper in the state, named Flowers its "Division I State Player of the Year". See here. That apparently means, the best or most important player on any of Wisconsin's four Division I programs (UWM, UWGB, Marquette, and Wisconsin). A nice and well-deserved honor for Michael. The J-S also named Bo its Division I Coach of the Year. See a write up of that here.

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