Monday, March 31, 2008

Swing Aptitude

We have raised our expectations, as all successful people do. We have won the Big Ten Regular Season AND Tournament Titles (we have the nets to prove we were there) and cruised to the Sweet 16. We got bumped by an insanely hot playing/shooting school of filthy rich bastards with filthy rich parents (god bless em). And the flags go up. Are we inherently disadvantaged by our Swing offense? Are we shackled by its principles? Not enough points to win against great teams? Standards get raised and new questions get asked. This is our most salient characteristic and the foundation of science, so let's explore the question. 

Watching the other elite teams this year you notice what they do and the Badgers don't. They pressure the inbounds like crazy (TN's only strength), they press, they get handsy out on the perimeter and they push the pressure well past the 3 point line, they look to fast break on misses and blocks (UNC will beat your ass down floor even on makes), they have atleast 2-3 guys who are NBA caliber.

That last bit maybe should have come first. We do not get the NBA guys. We got one (Finley) and produced another (Harris), but in general we don't get them. That HBO piece last year explained everything, other NCAA players, including Big Ten kids, would laugh at Alando Tucker last year that he had to go to class. We need passable student-athletes. None of these guys have written theses of note, but they are passing classes and getting smarter, hopefully. So even if we switched to the Memphis/Phoenix Suns offense where the 5 moves to the weakside to create space for Dribble Drive, who's gonna execute? (BTW this offense is called Dribble Drive Kick Dribble Dribble or something ridiculous) Are we gonna run that for KrabbenBot? Is Tim Jarmusz going to the hole like the NBDLers at Memphis? Me thinks no. (BTW, is it me or do we lose all our dumb kids to Louisville?)

The Swing offense must be considered not as a underperforming stylistic choice, but instead a trait emblematic of our unique resources as a Midwestern University with unyielding academic standards. We know what happens when we try to defeat even Big Ten behemoths with high aptitude-pro stlyes. We suffer decades of futility. The Swing unites us like a phalanx against the tyranny of fake basketball prep schools that feed the High and Mighty programs. The Swing is our method. Bo Ryan looked at basketball and said: less turnovers, more free throws, good shots, solid defense. And he ran that formula over 30 years and has a tremendous resume. Come to Wisconsin and win. 

I'm convinced that if we move away from this style we will go back to losing. All emotion aside, the Swing is a proven winner. Wisconsin, not so much. Not a whole lot of talent or tradition here. But we are now (arguably) the top Program in the league and Top 15 Nationally. I think we have become a little too pompous to think that now WE are too good for the Swing. 

Can the Swing take us all the way to the title? I think so. But it may have to be tweaked a little. It seems high pressure defense on inbounds and on the perimeter needs to be incorporated. It works against us, that's for sure. And we should be more trained to go vertical against pressure. There is no reason Northwestern should be able to press and trap us. We should be passing over their heads and dunking it on their heads. 

6 comments:

Papa Sal said...

Agreed. Although getting NBA-type talent would help that. As much as J-Bo has improved his handle, he still ain't scaring anybody into laying off of his jumper.

I believe that this system is vulnerable to teams like Davidson who shoot the lights out, and teams like Kansas who shoot the lights out and dunk on your face. Ergo, our best shot at returning to the Final 4 (without U-65's recommended changes) is in a similar manner to how Dick Bennett did it: get insanely hot and get lucky with match-ups.

Mr.Man said...

I thought Bo used to run the press at Platteville. Am I wrong? I agree that pressing at times would be good.
Regarding the offense, I'm fine with the swing, though I also agree that pushing the ball on offense more often would be good. If the idea is to get high quality shots-- well a lot of times it's easier to get high quality shots when you're 3 on 2 or 3 on 3, than a full 5 on 5. The only thing I can think of to explain the reluctance in those situations is there's some fear that UW's players aren't as good one-on-one as the other team's.

So what about talent? If UW has a roster full of Kinder Bologna (one of Rashard Griffith's Italian teams) types, will that be enough? Or do they need a couple kids who can make it in the league? Can we get guys who will turn into NBADL guys eventually (like Tucker), and will that be enough?

Sadly or not, as U-65 noted, it seems like the NCAA is now dominated by teams who are now loaded with future pros. Is this the product of the NBA's age limit? It seems like it. I can't help but think that Wisco had a better chance when nearly all the top prospects were jumping directly to the league.

Randy Moss said...

i'll take it 6 5. + tweaking.

we do have athletes though. i'm not handing out ribbons for making lemonade over here. steimsma is a much better athlete than butch and he plays 10 minutes a game. krabbenhoft is a better shooter than 2.3 (or whatever he avgs) shots a game but he is only 'in charge' of rebounds and hustle plays. i don't think that intelligence is the only way athleticism manifests itself in our program. that's a cop out.

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