Opening Comments: This game was an opportunity lost. Losing to MSU on the road will not hurt our rankings very much, but we missed out on an opportunity for a signature win (think Texas and Michael Flowers).
Summarizing the game in a few words: Both teams shot poorly, but while UW was bricking threes, MSU was pressing hard inside causing UW to foul and MSU prevailed at the line.
Pace: The game was played at 60 possessions. We have been at 63 overall and 59 in our 3 conference games. MSU plays at 70.
Efficiency: Was it poor offense or poor defense? Poor UW offense, obviously (or good MSU defense).
MSU scored .90 PPP, which is great UW defense (or poor MSU offense – take your pick).
UW scored .78 PPP. Believe it or not, that would have beaten OSU and 5 of our non conference opponents. But, it is not good enough to beat MSU in their house.
Shooting: What a bizarre shooting day. MSU was bad and UW worse. The difference was shot distributions and quantity of free throws.
eFG%: Both teams stunk up the place. MSU was at 40% and UW an even worst 38%. Our opponents have been shooting at only 39% in the 3 conference games. UW for the year is at 53% and 50% in conference (including this brickfest).
3 pt shooting: MSU only took 4 deep shots and made two for 50%. UW launched 23 and only made 5 for 22%. Ugh. UW picked up 9 additional points outside the arc, but needed 19 shots to get those 9 points.
2pt shooting: MSU took 10 more shots inside the arc than UW, 38 to 28, and made 2 more baskets. So, UW hit 12 of 28 for 43% inside while MSU was 14 of 38 for 37%. MSU netted (pun intended) +4 inside. From the floor, UW outscored them by 5.
1pt shooting: Here lies the story of the game. MSU made a living at the line, at least in quantity. MSU shot 30 FTA and made 20 for 67%. Meanwhile, UW hit the same percentage (67%) but only took 12. The 18 free throws provided 12 extra points.
This demonstrates the relative efficiency of free throws. Even after hitting a pedestrian 67%, MSU gets 1.34 PPP.
Rebounding: MSU strength was offensive rebounding. That collided with UW’s strength, defensive rebounding. Who won?
UW Defensive end: There were 32 rebounding opportunities and UW got 21, leaving MSU 11, or 34%. That is close to the national average, way below MSU’s typically excellent 42%, which is #9 nationally. It is way above UW’s nation leading 25%. So, they split the difference. I call that a draw.
UW Offensive End: There were 36 rebounding opportunities and UW only got 6, or 17%. MSU clearly dominated their defensive glass, which is not a surprise.
Turnovers: I predicted UW would enjoy a 3-5 turnover advantage. That came true. MSU had 14, or 23% while UW had 10, or 17%. I think 4 of those happened with the first 6 possessions. Unfortunately, UW took those extra possessions and used them to clank three pointers.
From a personal standpoint, it would drive me nuts if I was an MSU fan watching them turn the ball over so much. Izzo tolerates this in the name of up tempo easy baskets. It ultimately works for them.
Fouls: UW had 21 fouls to MSU’s 15. That is reverse of our usual where our opponents have 20 and we have 16. But, those 6 extra fouls resulted in 28 additional free throws. MSU attacked the basket hard and UW fouled as a defense of last resort. That was a big part of the game and why MSU won.
Playing time: UW had 6 players in double digit minutes. Keaton Nankivil only played 15. Ryan Evans had 8. Leuer avoided serous foul trouble and played 36. JBO lead the way, per usual, with 38. Taylor played a starter-like 34.
Meanwhile, MSU played eight 10 or more minutes.
Notable Performances: Jon Leuer put up first team all conference-like numbers going 9-19, 3-6 from deep, 7 boards, and 21 points. Jon, long will the tales of your exploits be told around the campfires of my people, and we need some really big fires this time of year.
In my mind I match Jordan Taylor and Korie Lucious up. They were from the same class and one went to MSU, one to Wisconsin. In this game, Taylor got 34 minutes and Lucious 16. Taylor scored 7 on 2-6 shooting, 3-4 free throws, one rebound, and two TO’s. Lucious was did not score, took one shot, and grabbed 3 boards in limited playing time. He had one TO. Those of you who like assists will be happy to hear that Lucious had 3 and Taylor 2 (That is the first time since I have been doing these summaries that I have mentioned assists. I do not know how to feel about that).
In the other big match up, neither Hughes nor Lucas did anything to impress voters for the first team all conference point guard. Hughes scored 7 with his 13 shots and missed both FTA’s. He added 4 rebounds. Lucas was also 3-13 from the field but hit 4-4 free throws. He had 3 rebounds and 3 TO’s. I would call that a draw that both lost, if that is possible.
Grading Shetown’s Predictions
1. Lucas doesn't reach 13 points. I like Hughes and Taylor to rattle him into a bad game. . Hit, but the reverse was true as well.
2. Leuer scores more than 15. He's been in a funk lately and I think he breaks out for a big game against the small MSU frontline. Hit. Leuer had 21, which was fantastic in a grinder-like game this one turned out to be.
3. Badgers hold MSU to 50% or less inside the arc. MSU is the seventh best 2-point shooting team in the country, but Wisconsin is the 32nd best defending it. I think defense wins out on this one. Hit. MSU shot only 37%. But they did nearly equal damage to our offense allowing us only 43%.
Shetown’s Prediction: The Badgers make Izzo cry again, squeaking out a 69-62 in 65 possessions. Miss. 54-47 MSU in 60 possessions. You hit all three of your predictions yet we still lost the game. Go figure …
Closing Thoughts: MSU did to UW what we used to do to our opponents. UW bombed away from deep while they killed us at the line. The “we made more free throws than our opponents attempt” is dead and gone for the year. We need to make up 52. It could happen, but we need something systemic to change.
UW had +4 turnovers while MSU had +5 offensive rebounds. So, class, your assignment for this week is to write an essay expressing which is more valuable, an offensive rebound or a turnover.
All will be right with the world after a big UW win versus PU. Go Bucky!