Monday, December 01, 2008

What an ending...

Holy cow. Wisconsin blows a nine-point lead with a minute left, despite only committing one turnover and one bad foul and making its free throws, because the Hokies are totally on fire from outside, in particular one forward/guard known as A.D. Vassallo, who hit UW up for 24 points in the second half, including at least four 3s. That guy was ridiculous. Most of his shots were contested in some form or other, but he scored inside and out. Wild stuff. I can't remember when I've seen a guy be that on fire against the Badgers. I guess Curry in the tournament last year, but Vassallo was more efficient. This was actually similar to Wisconsin's near loss at home against Winthrop two seasons ago.

I definitely have never seen a team rally from that far down in a college game against a team I support. I mean, from a nine-point lead to a tie in one minute? Totally crazy. You won't see that happen very often. But Pop saves the game, and the Badgers make it happen with no timeouts left. Sometimes it works out best that way. Instincts take over, and leaders step forward. Well done, Pop, and well done, Badgers. A gutty performance in a tough environment in the face of ridiculous performance by Vassallo. Random thoughts---

- The defensive rebounding was much improved in the second half.
- Rob Wilson got a ton of minutes this game. That's excellent to see. Plus, the 80% underclassmen group on the floor of Leuer, Taylor, Wilson, Jarmusz and Landry didn't give away the store, like they did against UConn. The younger guys seem to be coming along.
- But they still have a ways to go. Wilson's aggressiveness is great, but he needs to be better from the line. Nankivil needs to be strong in the post. He looked afraid of taking the ball in there and going to the hoop. He's a good offensive option when he gets the ball in the right position. He needs to take his shots. And he also needs to be strong on the defensive boards. Leuer also has some rebounding issues. His positioning was often a bit off. And of course Jon's foul on a Hokie three attempt late in the game, when the Badgers were clinging to a four-point lead, can't happen.
- Joe looks like he lost some quickness. I like him in the post on a guy about his size. I don't like him facing up his guy and driving to the basket, unless he's guarded by a larger, slower defender.
- What ridiculous outside shooting for both teams. Wisconsin shot 12 for 18, but was outdone percentage wise by Tech's 11 for 16 performance. At least four of those came in the last minute or so.
- Just a great college basketball game. Hard fought, magnificent plays by both teams right until the end. An excellent win for Wisconsin. Despite their three losses, Va Tech should make the tournament this season. They have a fair amount of talent, and the ACC looks pretty top heavy. Virginia Tech should really be able to make a strong push for third, or for second, over Duke, if they continue to improve.

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