Saturday, March 29, 2008

A Trend, and an Unacknowledge Profile

First, thanks to Hoops Marinara for pointing out the following-- over the past half-dozen games or so, the Badgers have fallen in love with three pointers. And with good reason: they've shot the lights out generally. If you hit 40% of your threes, that's obviously equivalent to hitting a much higher percentage of your twos. So keep shooting them. But at some point, the touch may desert you, as it did with Wisconsin in the second half against Davidson, and those looks will almost always be better if they're the product of an inside-outside game. UW seemed to forget those things.

Second, in retrospect, I think Davidson was made to beat Wisconsin. That's because they're offense is mostly built around what Wisconsin tries to force teams into-- taking jumpers. Wisconsin's defensive mantra is protect the rim, guard the lane, no easy shots. This frustrates most teams, since most D-I basketball guys are great athletes who like to get to the rack or post up. But Davidson doesn't have explosive slashers, and maybe has one solid leaper and low post threat in Lovedale. However, they do have a gaggle of outstanding jump shooters, including maybe the best jump shooter in the country in Curry. So what we were "forcing them into" they were happy to take, they were designed to take. Then when UW gave up on protecting the lane in order to cover more jump shots, Davidson, Richards especially, took the penetration we were offering them, and made the extra pass for easy baskets. Also, as the Duke, Purdue and Marquette losses demonstrated, UW struggles with smart pressure defenses. The refs let poor little Davidson play-act on offense and get handsy on defense, and without Hughes, the Badgers didn't respond by driving and drawing fouls. In sum, Davidson played both the exact right type of offense and defense to beat the Badgers. As they say, the Tourney is about match-ups. Maybe this is why I was pulling for Georgetown a week ago.

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