Opening Comments: Consider this a warm up for the regular season. I dusted off the old spreadsheet, updated with a new schedule, and should be good to go for a new season.
As an exhibition game, I will try to refrain from drawing any conclusions. This will simply say what the box score tells us.
Summarizing the game in a few words: UW steamrolled an inferior team by hitting their shots inside the arc and taking a bunch of free throws. As good as the offense was, which was very good, it was primarily a defensive win.
Pace: The game was a zippy 75 possessions. We were usually in the low 60’s last year. This should be expected for an exhibition game.
Efficiency: Bemidji scored at a .72 PPP clip. The best we did last year was .73 against NW in a home blow out.
On offense, UW score 90 points or 1.20PPP. While excellent, it was not near our best from last year. In conference, that was less than Indiana (1.39), Iowa (1.30), Michigan (1.22) and NW 1.21. Out of conference, we lit up Edwardsville (1.29) at a greater pace.
Shooting: UW took 8 more shots from the floor and 27 more shots from the line. Ouch! See the fouls, rebounding and turnover numbers.
3 pt shooting: The one somewhat shining moment for BSU was their 3 point shooting. They hit 6-17 for 35% compared to UW’s poor 5-20 for 25%. Edge BSU – plus 3 points.
2pt shooting: UW cleaned up inside the arc. UW took 4 more shots and hit 12 more baskets. UW was 28-43 for a sizzling 65% to BSU’s 16-39 for 42%. Or, BSU lost 24 points inside the arc.
1pt shooting: UW took 32 FTA and only hit 19 for a miserable 59%. BSU was 4-5 for 80%. In a case of quantity trumping quality, UW had a plus 15 points from the line.
Rebounding: With the loss of Landry and Krabbenhoft, rebounding will be worth keeping a close eye on this year. One would expect Bo to teach rebounding and get the job done, but I would like to see the results.
UW Defensive end: UW cleaned up the boards nearly perfectly. UW grabbed 27 of 30 possible rebound attempts for 91%. Fantastic.
UW Offensive End: UW was effective on the offensive glass as well. UW had 35 rebound opportunities and got 14 for 40%. Anything about 33% is typically good. UW does not value offensive rebounds like some teams (e.g. MSU) so anything over 30% is good by UW standards.
Turnovers: BSU had 19 TO’s, or 25%. UW had 13 for 17%. UW often has a low TO rate but fails to gather TO’s at the other end. In this case, UW had a plus 6 edge. I would not expect this to continue.
Fouls: BSU had 19 to UW’s 13. But, the key point was UW got to the line 32 times to BSU’s 5. Last year, we lost he “UW shoots more FT’s that the other team makes” mantra. Can we get it back? Can Bo recreate the amazing no foul defense that Tucker and Taylor mastered? We shall see.
Playing time: Bo played 10 players more than10 minutes. A clear indication that this was an exhibition game.
Notable Performances: As an exhibition game, many Badgers came, saw and conquered. JBO had a nice line hitting 14 points on 8 shots, 4 FTA’s and grabbed 4 boards. JBO, long will the tales of your exploits be told around the campfires of my people.
Closing Thoughts: I am assuming that those who do not buy into tempo free stats have long since given up on reading this post, so this is directed towards those few that hung in there with me.
The things that Bo does that generates wins are the things that do not make Sports Center’s top ten plays: Get to the line, play position defense and do not go for steals unless they are a sure thing, avoid fouling, avoid turnovers, protect the defensive glass at risk of losing fast break opportunities, get back on defense and forgo offensive rebounding opportunities … He says, “Make the good play, not the great play.” I think all of this adds up to people not appreciating how good UW’s offense has been over the years. UW scored 90 points, which is a high total for UW. UW never scored 90 points in D1 games last year, yet the offensive performance was only not our best compared to last year. But our defense was, compared to last year. But, how many would recognize that?
None of this means much because we will not be able to feast on BSU-like teams.
A thought on tempo: The important thing about basketball is that completing a possession awards the other team a possession. So, getting your work done fast only gives the other team another possession more quickly. If working fast gets more PPP, I am all for it. The most exciting teams are winning teams, and winning teams are efficient teams. That is a tempo free concept.
Many thanks to Bruce.