February 16, 2008

Breaking Down the Box - Wisconsin (II)

Minnesota - 56
Wisconsin - 65
BOX SCORE (.pdf)

I know there has been a cry for holding this team to a higher standard, but did anybody expect a Gopher win? I didn't and the fact that we played well, were competitive was enough. I apologize for my acceptance of mediocrity, but this season being competitive on the road against the team I think will be the league champ is acceptable. In seasons to come I will not be so accepting of a near .500 record (see my displeasure with Glen Mason).

Anyway, here are my deep thoughts on this afternoon's game...

--- Jon Williams, did you help us or hurt us? Big Jon had a great defensive and rebounding game while Tollackson excelled to 12 min of average play. But 0-5 from the field and a few of them were point blank that should have been 2 points. That hurt us in a major way. So Williams played well on one end but was a liability on the other. So you tell me did he help keep us in the game or did he keep us from winning it?

--- As a team we are incredibly weak around the basket. Big men up through the guards all go to the basket expecting to get blocked and hoping to get fouled. Wisconsin on the other hand would attack the basket expecting to score and hoping to get fouled in the process. We are just weak.

--- When will those seniors help us? I assume you noticed how few minutes all three of the Gopher seniors played in the first half. And I assume you noticed that our best line up was Nolen, Hoffarber, Abu-Shamala, Johnson and Williams. At some point those three seniors need to step up but I think that time has passed. There are only so many games left and they have all been rather inconsistent. Disappointing.

--- Why didn't we press? This has been a staple of our defense all season and we dropped back to 1/2 court after every dead ball or made basket (those were rare). I don't remember the Badgers breaking it and scoring at home, but we did play better team D in the half court so maybe it was the right move.

--- Al Nolen with this first start. I liked the idea to match up Nolen on Hughes. Trevon lit us up last time with 20 and I liked the recognition that Nolen is our best on the ball defender. Hughes' first couple baskets were not Nolen's fault and for the game he was held to 11. Here were Hughes' three field goals in the first half.

  • first FG - a three coming against our zone on an inbounds play
  • second FG - Westbrook turnover that led to a layup
  • third FG - McKenzie guarding, Hughes scored after offensive rebound

Player of the Game - Al Nolen
  • 6 points
  • 6 reb
  • 5 assists
  • 0 turnovers
  • 3 steals
Nice game by the freshman. His six points didn't dominate the the box score but his baskets were huge, his lack of any turnovers was huge and the rest of his numbers were very helpful as well. At least 2 or 3 assists were blown by missed shots by our big men.

Tempo Free Zone - just the stats m'am

We were out rebounded in total but we this was arguably our best rebounding game of the year.

Up Next -Michigan (home), Thur. Feb. 21

This has to be a win as does the following game against Penn State at home. Two games that are must wins, not for any tournament seeding or bubbling but just because we are a better team and need to win. This competitive game at Wisconsin, followed by a couple of home wins could give us a little momentum as our last 4 games will be tough.


From The Barn said...

Nolen started against FSU

Tom said...

that is tru, I thought about checking back but didn't want to take the time.