Opening Comments: Whew. That was scary.
I would have had a completely different feeling if this game was played with the two halves swapped. Then, UW would have finished on a high note after a bad start. Now, we are left to wonder.
Summarizing the game in a few words: UW shot lights-out in the first half and hung on to win after a sluggish second half while NU hummed along.
Pace: The game played out at 54 possessions. In conference, we have been at 58.
Efficiency: Was it good offense or good defense? We played superior offense in the first half and poor defense throughout the game. NU was comparably efficient both halves. The difference in the game was NU’s defense in the second half (or UW’s lack of offense – I think it was mostly NU’s defense).
NU scored a very efficient 1.17 PPP. Excellent. UW has now been giving our opponents .98 PPP. NU hit 1.12 PPP in the first half, 1.21 in the second half. These last two games have been defensive disasters.
The good news: UW scored 1.30 PPP. How did that happen? Because in the first half we hit 43 on 26 possession – a smoking 1.65 PPP. Yikes. In the second half we were a substandard 27 points on 28 possessions, .97 PPP.
eFG%: NU hit an eFG% of 55%. Very good (we tend to give our opponents 48% in conference play). UW did even better hitting 60%.
3 pt shooting: UW launched 20 hitting 7, or 35%. NU took 7 fewer, 13, and hit 3 fewer, 4, for 31%. So, UW won the quantity and quality battle beyond the arc. Plus 9 for UW.
2pt shooting: Inside, NU was a very good 17 of 29 for 59%. UW took 10 fewer shots, 19, but hit only 4 fewer – 12. So, UW actually hit a better percentage – 68% to 59%. NU got back 8 points inside the arc.
1pt shooting: NU put up 22 FTA’s and hit 17 for 77%. UW took 29 attempts and hit 23 for 79%. UW picked up 6 points at the line.
Rebounding: UW had a decided rebounding advantage on both ends of the court.
UW Defensive end: There were only 21 rebounding opportunities and UW got 17 to NU’s 4. UW held NU to only 19% offensive rebounds. UW is typically excellent at around 26%, less than the national average of 33%. So, 19% is excellent, but not unusual for UW.
UW Offensive End: There were only 20 rebounding opportunities and UW got 8 or 40%. That is very good for UW and a key to our victory.
Turnovers: UW is one of the best in the nation at avoiding TO’s, and we did a good job today giving up 9 or 17%. But, NU did even better giving it up only 6 times or 11%. In the first half, NU had 4 and UW 3. So, when NU went mostly zone in the second half, they increased their turnovers to 6 and only offered it up to UW twice. That is a good way to get back into this thing.
Opportunity Index: UW had a plus one OI based upon a +4 offensive rebounds but a -3 TO’s margin.
Quantity / Quality: The quantity was about equal (OI +1 for UW). NU took 3 extra FGA’s but 7 fewer FTA’s – with is 3 or 4 trips to the line.
So, from a quantity perspective, it was a draw.
But, UW won the quantity battle. We hit a better eFG% (60% to 55%) and better FT% (79% to 77%). Those few percentages made the difference.
Fouls: NU had 21 and UW 19. That is more fouling than would normally be expected from either team.
Playing time: UW played 7 ten or more minutes with Leuer getting 22 and Bruesewitz 14. Wilson chipped in a quiet 8 minutes. JBo played the whole game again. He effectively hid behind the big guys during the timeouts.
Notable Performances: JBo had yet another good line. He scored 17 on 9 FGA’s, 2-2 from the line, snatched three defensive boards, but was tagged for 2 TO’s. JBo, long will the tales of your exploits be told around the campfires of my people. He has been on fire lately.
Taylor dropped 16 on only 9 shots, 6-7 FTA’s, two boards, but uncharacteristically picked up 4 TO’s.
Hughes scored 13 on 8 FGA’s, 5-6 from the line, five boards, and 3 unfortunate TO’s.
Leuer got back into it with 22 minutes off the bench. He scored 11 on 5 FGA’s, but missed 3 of 8 FTA’s. he grabbed 3 rebounds, 2 offensive, and most importantly had 3 critical blocks. My people have missed talking about you around the fire and hope you can get your old mojo back against Indiana.
For NU, Shurna was terrific. He scored 26 on 9-17 shooting, 7-9 FT’s, 4 boards and 2 TO’s. He scored every way possible including some tough dribble drives. If he came to UW there would be multipage threads about how Bo can’t recruit athletes … John, I salute you, which is hard for me to do for an opponent.
Grading Shetown’s Predictions
1. Shurna scores less than 15. We’ve got the defenders to disrupt his flow. Miss – big time. He got 26. Ouch.
2. Wisconsin attempts 59% or more of their shots inside the arc. Bo and the players will make an intense effort to get in the paint and re-integrate Leuer. Miss. UW took 51%, fifth most of the year.
3. To go with #2, Wisconsin attempts more than 14 free throws. The last time they did was January 24th, with the assistance of overtime. Hit. A critical aspect of the win was UW making 23 of 29 FTA’s.
4. Leuer scores in double figures. He becomes more assertive in the post and is more comfortable shooting on the home court. Hit. He got 11 much needed points in 22 minutes. UW has had good luck in the past with UW big men killing NU’s. Leuer had a nice game, but was not dominating. That will come against IU on Thursday.
My Prediction: The Badgers take out their frustration on the Nerds, winning 68-50 in 56 possessions. Hit. Remarkably close. UW 70 to 62. It was a nail biter that seemed closer than 7.
Closing Thoughts: It seems strange that UW had dribble-drive issues with NU but contained such studs as Manny Harris and Evan Turner. I did not see that coming.
UW is not 10-5 in conference. That is a nice record. If we win the next two we are 12-5 going into Illinois. I trust Bo to figure out what the deal is and get the team peaking come tournament time.