I'm taking this year's tourney one game at a time.
I live in Madison, and it seems as if everybody is talking about the Badgers playing against either USC or Kansas State.
Do people really have memories that short?
It has only been a year since UW came off of one of their best regular seasons ever, only to squeak past a 15 seed, then lose to a seventh-seeded UNLV in the second round.
Before you start trying to figure out which future NBA lottery pick is in our way, lets pay a little bit of attention to Cal-State Fullerton.
While they don't have the size to match up with the Badgers, they can shoot the lights out. If their shots are dropping—like they were for most of the Big West championship—it could be a nightmare for the Badgers.
However, aside from Jon Leuer, every single rotation player this season was there for the nightmare finish last year. I hope (and think) that this year's group will come out hungry to avenge last year's disappointing tournament.
I think that the Badgers will treat Thursday's game the same way that they treated the Michigan State game after fouling out Sparty's entire front court and pound it down low all game.
If the Titans aren't getting the outside shot going, I don't see the game going in their favor, as they really don't have anybody who can match up with Brian Butch down low.
Alright, I can't help myself. If the Badgers don't come out flat, they should be able to handle the Titans.
In the second round, the Badgers would then play the winner of the USC-Kansas State game. In other words, UW would take on one of the best freshmen in the country and a future lottery pick either way, either Michael Beasley from KSU or USC's O.J. Mayo.
Here's how I think the Badgers ought to game plan for either situation.
UW wins and draws USC.
The key to winning the game against USC will be dictating the pace of the game. If the game is played at an uptempo pace, it favors the Trojans. If the Badgers can keep banging away at the Trojans I think they can wear them down and win the game.
With that said, I don't think an uptempo pace would necessarily have the horrible effects that national pundits seem to think it would.
The Badgers are extremely well conditioned. This isn't the 2000 Dick Bennett team; these guys are mostly four and five star recruits. If the Badgers are forced to run, I think they'll manage. However, as I'm sure you've heard by now, it's easier to slow a team down than to speed them up. This plays into the Badgers' hands in a big way.
UW wins and draws Kansas State.
My best advice regarding Michael Beasley would be to do everything short of ignoring him. Beasley's going to get his points. There's really nothing that can be done about that.
I think the best plan would be to have Marcus Landry defend Beasley, and just make sure to get a hand in his face. Don't waste a double-team. Worry about Bill Walker and the rest of the team. It's definitely possible to stop Walker from getting his points, and when that happens, the Wildcats usually lose.
Theoretically speaking, the tournament is designed on the idea that the higher seeds will advance. I know it's about as premature as you can get, but I just have to wonder how a UW-Georgetown game would turn out.
Both teams play a slow-paced game. However, they go about it very differently. Roy Hibbert rarely wanders too far from the basket. Brian Butch has been known to shoot several three-pointers in a night. It'd be very interesting to see these two matched up against one another.
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