Ball-You-Man – Northwestern

Editor’s Note: The final FOLD week post will be late tonight or tomorrow (for the 17 of you who care). I’ve now been at work for 13.5 hours (on a Friday).  These are the things that happen when you take a day off to drive through snow to watch Hawkeye fans celebrate.  Here’s Trevor’s preview of the Kitties: [Read more…]

Devotion

The temptation here is to write the “live life while you’re young, kids – enjoy this time” post. I’m 42, wearing orange, sitting with Krush, acting like it’s 1992 again. (Speaking of, could this team use Deon Thomas or what?) But I’m not going to write that post. I’m going to write about devotion. [Read more…]

Ball-You-Man – Iowa

We’re going into Carver-Hawkeye with a shot to steal a big road win against a team trying to play their way into the tournament just like us. Strap on your goggles boys and girls.

By the numbers

The Hawkeyes are looking to hold serve at home to close out their season with a shot at the tournament. They’ve put together a solid offense despite Roy Marble’s departure, rated 31st nationally and 3rd in the conference by kenpom. Iowa does it by getting solid contributions from several players. Jarod Uthoff and Peter Jok have both developed into solid all around basketball players, Gabe Olaseni continues to show he’s one of the best offensive rebounders in the country (23rd nationally on offensive rebounding rate), and Aaron White does a lot of crafty veteran things. Throw in the solid play of Mike Gesell and Adam Woodbury and you’ve got a good squad with several options every time down the floor.

Unfortunately for Iowa fans the defense has been much worse. The Hawkeyes give up an over 50% eFG, don’t turn people over (13th in the conference in turnovers forced), can’t clear the boards (10th in the B1G in opponent offensive rebounding rate), and foul a bunch. Of all of the things I just mentioned, good defensive teams absolutely none of them.

Who are they on offense?

For a team that lost their senior heartbeat in Roy Devyn Marble, they’ve been surprisingly efficient on offense. The biggest reasons for the bounce back have been the evolutions of Jared Uthoff and Peter Jok.

A year ago Jok was a very talented but out of control freshman. This year he’s a smooth operator who knows who he is and what he wants to do on the basketball court.


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Hey Jealousy

I’m the worst at being a reporter. Just the worst. Everyone else is down in the press room right now getting quotes. I’m seated courtside… watching the MSU players celebrate and take pictures with their parents on the court. I’m the band kid staring at the football lunch table, longing for a day in their shoes. [Read more…]

Cosby Gone

It’s always odd when someone leaves.  As you know from the words I write here, I spend a lot of time thinking about future rosters.  Football depth charts, basketball rotations – I’m always looking at the present and trying to predict the future.  Then a guard I had written in ink A) doesn’t live up to his pre-Illinois stats and B) transfers out and I’m left scrambling.

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Pick My Post – Richard Keene

I’m playing Pick My Post tonight.  Not sure what to write about, so I toss a Pick My Post out there on Twitter and write about one of the first responses.  I used to say “the first response” but one time someone just wrote “YOUR MOM” and that would have been boring for everyone. Tonight’s Pick My Post topic: Richard Keene.  [Read more…]

One Month

Editor’s Note: I watched the beginning of the first half.  And then my son popped by wanting to chat about something.  I was more than happy to turn off the annual Stricker game in Madison and talk life with my son.  SO, I asked Tyler to write up a postgame post.  Because he, like, actually watched the game. Here’s his thoughts: [Read more…]

Back & Forth – Michigan

This was quite the flurry of emails that Tyler and I shared after the Michigan win on Thursday night. Tyler was at the game, so we didn’t really chat about the game (over email) until Friday. Something about a 21-2 run to close out an overtime win brings out the LET’S TALK ABOUT EVERYTHING in both of us. [Read more…]

Ball-You-Man – Wisconsin

It’s been a roller coaster again in Coach Groce’s third year. A few weeks ago we sat at 3-5 in conference, wondering if good times would ever come again, and now we’re heading to Madison at 7-5, playing with house money. We’ll need to run pretty hot to win, but stranger things have happened. Let’s get to it.

By the numbers

Wisconsin is a top five team in the country full stop. Sporting an adjusted offensive efficiency of 124.6 (per kenpom) the Badgers rank number 1 in all of college basketball. Their play has only improved in conference with an adjusted offensive efficiency of 125.7. They lead the league in effective field goal percentage (55.4%), turnover rate (10.7%), and free throw rate (46.4%). This team has been an unstoppable juggernaut offensively.

The defense hasn’t been as good for Bucky, but they still sport trade mark Bo Ryan peripherals. As I said earlier they hold the top free throw spot in the conference with a 46.4% rate; they conversely hold opponents to 23.1%, again the top spot in the B1G. They’re also a phenomenal defensive rebounding team, only allowing opponents to corral 23.2% of their misses (2nd nationally). They get easy points for themselves, and they prevent opponents from getting to the line or earning bonus possessions. Combine that with the offensive numbers we’ve already talked about, and it’s easy to see why Bo Ryan could be back in the Final Four again this year.

We’ll have our hands full slowing down their offense, and even if we do we’ll need to hit a truckload of threes to stay in it.

Who are they on offense?

The Badgers are far better than any offensive team we’ve faced to date. They put Indiana to shame. They’ve got size, shooting, and the frontrunner for national player of the year.

The best strategy for us will likely entail overplaying the three star frontcourt players, Kaminsky, Hayes, and Dekker. All three stand 6’8+ with great length. They can each shoot it, put it on the floor, and pass well. Dekker finishes as well as anyone around the rim at 73%. Hayes and Kaminsky both sport great midrange games to compliment back to the basket moves and their great touch on runners and floaters.

The Wisconsin offense typically plays through Kaminsky catching at the top of the key. He’s big enough to see over most defenders, and he presents terrifying matchup problems that far from the hoop. If you don’t play him tight he cans threes at a high rate, but if you get into him he can get to the lane where he’s a fantastic finisher.


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Flip The Script

I’ve been kind of obsessed with it this season: have the lead, playing well, collapse at the end and lose. It led me to play all of those what-if games. “Just hang on when we were up 12 on Michigan or when we were up 6 against Indiana and we’re in second place in the B1G right now”. Tonight? Narrative-wise, at least, we flipped the script. [Read more…]