February 3, 2008

Breaking Down the Box - Wisconsin

Wisconsin - 63
Minnesota - 47

While I wasn't anticipating a win, I was at least hopeful for a competitive game. At the very least we needed the three seniors to put up a fight and they were all non-factors. As expected Wisconsin dictated tempo and executed their game plan for 40 min.

This game doesn't hurt much and what will be interesting is how we make adjustments when we travel to Madison in a couple weeks. But today was uninspiring.

Some individual player thoughts...

Westbrook - has been scoring more but he has also turned into a turnover machine. I wouldn't exactly count them as aggressive play that results in a turnover there are at least 2 per game that are just careless and bad decisions.

Hoffarber - Myron Mecalf thinks that the Hoff needs to learn to create his own shot, but he doesn't have that ability in him. He is savvy and a great shooter, but he is not athletic and able to get by people with the dribble. What needs to happen is the rest of the team needs to learn how to get him the ball so he can score. Hoffarber can develop a pump fake, dribble pull-up, but he isn't going to be able to beat people off the dribble, he's just not athletic enough. Ultimately we need to find a way to get him more open looks. If teams are going to glue a man on him we need to make them pay. If the Hoff is on the right wing with a player stuck on him then Nolen/McKenzie/Westbrook need to penetrate that gap on the right and get to the hoop.

Johnson - continues to improve and contribute in a number of ways. Double digit scoring for only the 2nd time since Dec. 12th, but he did so much more than that. 5 blocked shots, 2 assists, 3 reb and a steal are great hustle stats.

Nolen - notched way too many turnovers today but he was a real spark off the bench. 9 rebounds is incredible for Nolen. He was given credit for only 2 steals but I think the scorekeeper missed a couple more. At the very least he was responsible for 4 or 5 Badger turnovers. Unlike Westbrook, Nolen's turnovers were aggressive moves that resulted in Wisconsin getting the ball back.

Tollackson - two numbers jump out; 1 and 4. One rebound for the game and four minutes played in the second half.

McKenzie - paging Lawrence McKenzie...come in Lawrence...are you there?...ANYONE?

Coleman - wouldn't consistency be nice? 9 pts and 4 reb is a very nice first half line when you are playing a rival at home. Seeing DC step up to LEAD this team to a signature win would really be nice to see but currently is is the 'best of the lousiest and the lousiest of the best'.

Bottom of the Bench - I think Tubby needs to reign in his bench. Busch and Payton should not see the floor. Abu-Shamala was a nice story last year but he really shouldn't be playing. Williams is a necessary evil since we have no frontcourt depth. But off the bench it should be Nolen, Hoffarber and Williams in that order.

Player of the Game - Trevon Hughes

20 pts
3 asts
6 steals

Hughes was the best player on the floor. He had a handful of turnovers but his 6 steals more than made up for that. A very impressive game for the sophomore guard.

Temp-Free Zone

This was actually one our better rebounding games, which was probably aided by the Badgers shooting such a high percentage.

The Gophers shot an eFG% of 62% on Thursday @Michigan but that dropped to 39% today.

Up Next?

Can the Gophers get three wins in a row now?

@Northwestern - Wed
Iowa - Sat
Illinois - Tues

Those are all games we should be favored to win and games where we can dictate tempo and play our game. In fact if we win these next three there is a real good chance that we can win 5 of our next 6 and put us 8-5 in conference heading into the last several games.


Anonymous said...

Payton played very well in the small number of minutes he played. I agree, he should see limited action, but I disagree that he should be benched altogether. He's a project, for sure, but he is a team player and has a lot of athletic ability. He will be a solid contributor by the time he is a senior, I predict.

Tom said...

sorry, but I just can't agree, Payton is very average in every aspect of his game. His lateral quickness is very slow, he is an average shooter, he can't create and his decision making is questionable.

Hoffarber for instance is equally as slow and can't create, but is more savvy and a superior shooter. I just don't think Payton adds anything positive to the rotation.

A few minutes here and there isn't a big deal but he should not be playing anything significant during the rest of the season. If he is contributing when he is a senior then the next couple recruiting classes will be a considered failures.

I could be wrong and I'd be happy to be as he seems like a good guy who is working hard to make his team better. But I just don't think he is a Big Ten caliber players.

scottzers!!! said...

Everyone in the zoology community knows that badgers are much more ferocious than gophers...and now the NCAA has been put on notice as well, so...

From the Barn said...

Payton deserved his minutes on Sunday. He was the only Gopher that actually seemed to care and the only one (with a few noted exceptions) that showed energy. I don't think he should get a ton of minutes, but he plays an important role on the team (you can still have an impact on the bench. Why not give him minutes in a blowout, especially when the more talented players don't care?

Tom said...

I don't care that he received minutes, but watching him in during this time just cemented to me that he doesn't have the talent to play at the Big Ten level.

From the Barn said...

Payton is no better or no worse than any other 11 or 12 in the Big Ten. Unfortunately, the overall talent level of the team dictates than he play more than any other 11 or 12.