"My rule was I wouldn't recruit a kid if he had grass in front of his house.
That's not my world. My world was a cracked sidewalk." —Al McGuire

Friday, December 10, 2010

Warriors seek Badger road kill

The Marquette Warriors and the University of Wisconsin-Madison Badgers renew hostilities on Saturday afternoon at the Bradley Center with plenty at stake for the good guys. The Warriors enter the game with a record of 7-2, beating every team you'd expect and nothing more. As Carl Spackler said, I guess the kidding around is pretty much over. It's time for the Warriors to step up, claim a solid out-of-conference win, and rid the State of the rabid menace to the West once again.

We expect a tight game on Saturday. In many aspects both Marquette and Wisconsin-Madison (not Wisconsin-Green Bay or Wisconsin-Milwaukee) will compete on matching strengths or weaknesses:

  • Bo Ryan's squad is very good at defending inside the three-point line, while Marquette is very efficient offensively in that range. Strength vs. Strength.
  • Bucky is so-so from beyond the arc and MU defends those shots poorly. Weakness vs. Weakness.
  • Wisconsin-Madison is fifth-best team in the nation at protecting the ball. Marquette turns teams over at a rate higher than the national average. Strength vs. Strength.
  • Bucky is great on the glass both offensively (#20) and defensively (#26). This is where Wisconsin-Madison has a definitive strength relative to Marquette.
  • Wisconsin-Madison's offense is not great. But neither is MU's defense.
  • Bucky rarely gets to the line. Marquette rarely fouls. These tendencies cancel out.
So what does this all mean? More than likely the game hinges on two primary factors - rebounding and turnovers. For the Warriors to make road kill of the Badgers they can't be soft on the backboards as they were against Gonzaga and they must turn the Badgers over at a fairly high rate, winning the turnover battle convincingly.

In the Badgers' two losses they were exposed in different ways. Against UNLV, where the Badgers fell 68-85, Wisconsin-Madison coughed up the ball too much (15 times) and allowed UNLV shoot nearly 50% from the field. In the loss to Notre Dame, Bucky protected the ball well (only four turnovers!) but was blitzed on the glass by the Irish (40-28 overall and 12-6 on the offensive boards) falling 58-51.

The good news for MU is that they forced Duke and Gonzaga into a lot of turnovers. With a bit better result on the glass against the Zags, MU would have pulled that game out. The same formula applies on Saturday -- turn'em over, hold your own on the glass, and take then make the first best available shot on offense. For the sake of argument I'll presume that MU's defense will be solid in front of a marvelous home crowd on Saturday.

Saturday's game is a Gold Out in the Bradley Center. Gold! Tipoff is scheduled for 1:30pm Marquette Standard Time. The game will be broadcast on ESPN2. Alumni -- please remember to stop by the pre-game reception sponsored by Marquette University on Saturday starting at 11am at the Pabst Brewery. Find details here.

And sure, while this post is (for the most part) entirely rational our blogging brethren at the Anonymous Eagle have been filling the void with well-deserved Badger Hate all week. I highly recommend you check out each offering from those guys.

Anonymous Eagle Badger Hate Week

Todd Rosiak updates

Additional updates
That's right .... Gold out!

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