Friday, March 28, 2008

So What the F*#%k Happened?

Well, first off, Wisconsin played the second worst game of the season. The worst still, in my mind, being the Duke game. Ok, maybe they're tied. Whatever. Fundamental things that they've been doing pretty well all season-- like getting back on transition defense, having the ball touch the post, not turning it over-- were totally lost. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh.

As folks have said, they didn't look like Wisconsin. They turned the ball over. They fouled too much, especially in the second half. They let pressure defense, from the champion of the Southern Conference (a team that swept Elon this season), rattle them and prevent them from getting the ball into the post. They shot not great jumper after not great jumper-- doing what UW usually does to opposing teams. Given the low number of decent looks, it's not surprising that they shot 39% from the floor. Terrible. Awful. Ugh. Again, reminiscent of the Duke blowout.

That said, two things that were mostly out of the Badgers' control occurred. First, Trevon Hughes got injured. The loss there cannot be understated. Defensively, Davidson is guard and forward heavy. Hughes is our second best perimeter defender, and would have been able to keep Richards (#2) out of the lane had he been healthy. Offensively, Wisconsin desperately needed capable ball handlers to dribble drive past Davidson's handsy pressure defense. Hughes is easily the team's best penetrator. So him going out was even worse offensively. Maybe this is the fruit of Mickey Perry transferring, because Wisconsin needed another good guard, and Bo obviously didn't feel comfortable putting Jarmusz out there. As Papa said to me, the Badgers never got burned by injuries all season, until this game. (Good thing UW has two capable looking guard recruits coming in next season.)
Second, Davidson came in on fire from outside, and stayed on fire. That stretch where Curry drained two threes in about a minute, after the Badgers had cut the lead to three, was staggering. Both shots were generally contested. It didn't matter. Davidson got some open looks, and often made UW pay for them. If a team takes 24 threes and makes half, they're almost always going to win. That's just how it works. The three point shot is the great equalizer. This is the first time that I've thought "well, I'm glad they're moving the line back next year." It's gotten to be too much of an advantage.

Finally, I'm rooting for Kansas. I hope they stop these little handsy, "someone else does our laundry", three-ball brats. Seriously, UW's team is full of middle class kids, from strong families, like Michael Flowers. Davidson has a bunch of foreigners with questionable immigration statuses, and an NBA legacy with a hot mom, an Oedipal complex, and a family fortune in the tens of millions. Lame. Booooo. Enough free press for the darling Cinderella. I want to see Darrell Arthur hammer dunks over and over again. I hope Kansas friggin' stomps them.

If I sound more sane than you'd think I would, it's because immediately after the game, I went and cooked a grass-fed steak (from this place) according to this recipe. Holy Christ, was it good. I had a NY strip, so I added three more minutes in the oven. Best home cooked steak, I've ever eaten, hands down. Life seems a little less grim when you've been wonderfully fed. Anyhow, say goodbye to meaningful sporting events until the draft in April, the UW Spring Game, and Packer training camp in August. I guess I'll have time to finally read Dostoyevsky's "The Possessed". Crap sandwich.

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