Saturday, August 30, 2014

no prediction

Badgers -LSU is tonight and I am not making predictions. Even in college basketball where you know a lot of the players coming back and rosters are only 13 players it can be hard to predict how a team will do (see Nebraska last year). With a roster of 100 players and 44 players in the 2 deep there is just too much turnover and change to have any idea how good a team is until you get to see them play.
Last season Anderson had a veteran team and despite his wishes to play his way, the Badgers pretty much stuck with what they had done in the past. With a young team this year (only 12 seniors in the 2 deep) Anderson appears to be going full go on his vision for the Badgers, i.e. spread offense with running QB, and a small, quick, attacking defense. I have posted about my doubts in Anderson's system multiple times so I won't beat a dead horse.
UW's defense is very young, and LSUs line is very big. This concerns me. The likelyhood of shootouts early in the season is high so it's a pretty good chance this game is high scoring. I won't write off Anderson's schemes if LSU runs over this young team. He needs a couple years to get his scheme run with his veterans instead of young kids and holdovers from the previous scheme.
I had just got used to the idea that Stave was going to be our guy for the next couple years, when it was leaked that Tanner would start. I am interested to see how this works. I'm not sold Stave is out. If Tanner tanks I'm sure a change will be made, and a time share seems almost likely. I'm mostly interested to see what plays Tanner runs. A spread running attack is interesting, but I'm not sure it works at UW any better than what we do already.
I can't help myself.
LSU 38 UW 28

Monday, August 25, 2014

Tanner McEvoy Starting at QB

So word has leaked that Tanner McEvoy is going to get the starting nod for the Badgers this Saturday in the big season opener against LSU in Houston.

Most are surprised by this news, but I think this is epitome of Wisconsin Football™: we can beat you with a quarterback who used to be a safety.

Supposedly, Stave will still get snaps. And we have all seen the Badgers be very successful with a power running game and an option quarterback. But this will certainly be interesting to watch.

What do you guys think?

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Battle 4 Atlantis pre-preview

The bracket for the Badgers' Thanksgiving Week tournament (the Battle 4 Atlantis, brought to you by Prince, apparently) was just released, and it looks like this:

1 UW (4) v. UAB (243)
2 Georgetown (49) v. Florida (9)
3 UCLA (43) v. Oklahoma (16)
4 UNC (7) v. Butler (35)

This is a well-crafted bracket. In fact these are exactly the matchups I "predicted" except that I would have switched games 2 and 3 (so that UCLA and Oklahoma were on UW's side of the bracket).

The numbers in parentheses above are the teams' current T-Rank projection. The top of the bracket is incredible: Wisconsin, North Carolina, and Florida should be Final Four contenders again. But even beyond that, 7 of the 8 teams are in the T-Rank top 50. The one exception is UAB, the Badgers' first-round opponent.

UAB was a mediocre team last year, finishing in the middle of the pack in Conference USA. They did upset North Carolina during the non-conference schedule, but that was the highlight of their season by far. Unfortunately, they lose pretty much every major contributor. Five seniors graduate, but the gut-punch is that their leading scorer, junior Chad Frazier, is leaving the team after being charged with domestic assault. Before that news came down, T-Rank had projected at 183—not good, but not terrible either. Now they've fallen to 243, and it looks like a lost season ahead. The matchup against Wisconsin figures to be something like a 1 versus 16 seed, and unless there are some real ballers waiting in the wings (they do have one borderline top-100 recruit coming in, William Lee), UAB looks like the Atlantis tournament's version of Chaminade.

Butler may be the most difficult team to get a handle on, and their T-Rank of 35 looks to be too high. They were not good last year (Kenpom rank: 104), but they also suffered one of the most critical injury losses in the nation, when Roosevelt Jones went down just before the season started. Assuming he returns at full strength, they'll have a nucleus of quality players to work with. So T-Rank expects a bounce back. But their unproven coach and loss of promising freshman Elijah Brown to the transfer bug (he went to New Mexico) leaves plenty of question marks.

OU appears to be on the way up under Lon Kruger. They were a 5-seed last year and got upset by North Dakota State. But Kruger has made progress in each of his three years with the program, which he took over after Jeff Capel ran it into the ground. It shouldn't surprise anyone if their upward climb continues next year, as they return about 80% of the minutes from last year's very solid team. They could easily makes the finals of this tournament.

OU's first-round opponent, UCLA, returns only about a third of its minutes from last year's team, after losing two seniors and three underclassmen (including the seldom-used Zach Levine) to the pros.  They hope to reload with another stellar recruiting class, headlined by Milwaukee's Kevon Looney. But they figure to experience some growing pains early in the season.

Georgetown comes off a very disappointing 2013-14 season, and they lose about half their minutes to graduation. They do bring a strong four-man freshman class headed by Isaac Copeland, and maybe former UCLA five-star recruit Josh Smith will actually suit up for them this year. There is enough talent in the program to get back to the tournament, but they are far from a sure thing.

This should be an entertaining and wide-open tournament. The Badgers will have the best chance to win it, primarily because they get by far the easiest opening game. I'm hoping for another game against Florida (it would be cool to have a neutral-court rubber match against them) and then a neutral-court grudge match again Ol' Roy and his boys, followed up with Duke's visit to the Kohl Center the following week. It would be pretty sweet to see the Badgers play Florida, North Carolina, and Duke in a 7-day span. Even sweeter to sweep them.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Badgers Highly Hyped

It's still a few months until college basketball season begins, but this year's Badger team is (justifiably) getting a lot of hype. Today's entry is a article based on a poll of college coaches that asked them, "Which NCAA player would you take over all others?"

Here are the results:
  • Frank Kaminsky (Wisconsin): 17 percent
  • Jahlil Okafor (Duke): 16 percent
  • Fred VanVleet (Wichita State): 15 percent
  • Marcus Paige (North Carolina): 10 percent
  • Montrezl Harrell (Louisville): 7 percent
  • Sam Dekker (Wisconsin): 5 percent
Two Badgers in the top six, including the number one selection, Frankie Long Legs.

Number two on the list is Duke's incoming freshman center Jahlil Okafor. Duke, of course, comes to Madison to play the Badgers on December 3rd. Should be a great matchup—though I have a feeling Dekker may steal the show.

With Ohio State, Michigan, and Michigan State all looking to be in a bit of a rebuilding mode this year, anything less than a conference championship next year would be a disappointment. Is that unreasonable?


The scuttlebutt is that Brett Favre will be inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame this year, and that his number will be retired. Great news. Hopefully any Packer fans who still hold a grudge against Favre can use this opportunity to move on. Hug it out, people.