Saturday, November 18, 2017

WI is better than MI

Quick revisit of one of my favorite Blog posts of all time.

With the win today. UW clinches another year in which MI will not win more games than the Badgers. The last time MI won more games was in 2003.

2003 was a long time ago. For some reference I'm sure one MI fan will appreciate:

In 2003 the show "Friends" was still on the air with new episodes.

Friday, November 17, 2017


6-10 after splitting the double bet last week. I'm doubling down again.
UW is a 7 point favorite, and the over under is 41.

I'm taking UW to cover, and the under.

UW wins. 23-14.

Friday, November 10, 2017

On board with Van Vliet, but....

OK, that was a decent game for Van Vliet. I'm on board with him in this rotation, but there are concerns. Hard to argue with the line. 18 points on 7-11 FG, 4-5 3FG, 8 boards, 2 blocks and just one turnover. Any player puts up those numbers and you have to be a bit crazy not to be encouraged. I can already hear people starting to compare this with Kaminsky's break out junior year. A bit premature? Yes. Will he put up those numbers all year long? No way, but he doesn't have to to be an effective part of this rotation.

Here are the concerns. Chuckers are great when the shots are falling, but can be a cancer when they aren't. Remember those games when Vitto would jack 10 long 2 point jumpers and only hit 2or 3 of them. Van Vliet won't hit 80% of his 3s in many, if any more games this year. The concern is as much the types of shots, as the volume. At least 3 of the 3 pointers were attempted very early in the shot clock, (I was at the game so I'll have to check the tape, could be more) and came from a pass from the top of the key instead of from a post feed. He needs to let the offense roll a bit and they can get a better shot.

He also had 3 fouls in 22 minutes against competition that was not imposing on the inside. SCS hardly even tried to get it inside in the first half, as they shot jumper after jumper. Badgers only had 9 team fouls all night, he had a third of them. Defense is still not his thing. Finally, with about 6 minutes left in the 2nd half, Van Vliet looked like he was about to fall over. He was subbed out with 5 to go, and to be fair he had played a stretch of about 7 straight minutes. However he only played 9 total minutes in the 2nd half, and 22 overall. Conditioning is not his thing yet either.

Maybe that last part is OK. If he only gets 20 minutes a game, that may be for the best. Gard can roll with him when he's hot, and bench him when he's not. Having a guy with no conscious isn't always bad. When Vitto was hitting shots it totally changed the team. Van Vliet is certainly a better shooter than Vitto, so he should hit more often.

So, I'm much more encouraged about Van Vliet than I was before, but not as encouraged as all the people I will talk to tomorrow at the bar, who will probably be calling him the 2nd coming of Kaminsky already.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

UW Iowa

4-8 after another 0-2 week. Haven't got a single win since that meaningless FG Torvik likes to make fun of me for. Badgers are a 12.5 point favorite, and o/u is 46.

In honor of Torvik, I am changing up the rules. When everything is going wrong and you can't buy a win, what do you do? Double the bets! All picks count double from now on.

I'm taking Iowa and the points and the over this week.

Is Illikainen out?

I saw today Reuvers is still considering taking a redshirt year. After watching him in the exhibition I can see why. He needs body development and practice in the system, but I would like to see him play this year. We'll see what happens, but it got me to thinking about Illikainen.

Reuvers is behind Happ, Thomas, and Van Vliet at this point, and maybe Ford too. It's not clear that he is behind Illikainen. Illikainen did not show anything special in the video I saw of the Australia trip. I didn't hear anything about him against Missouri, and while I didn't see the N Iowa game, his line was telling. In a game the Badgers dominated, he was 1-2 for 3 points and had  2 rebounds in 8 minutes, with 3 fouls and 3 turnovers. He wasn't any better against UW-Stout with 0 points, 2 rebounds, 1 foul and 2 turnovers in 6 minutes.

Last year I floated the idea that a sophomore Badger big man should redshirt. That didn't happen, and now it looks more likely that Illikainen would transfer than redshirt as a junior. Thomas seems destined to be the physical presence we need when Happ is on the bench. Van Vliet may be a chucker, but at least he has some confidence, unlike Illikainen who looks scared every time he is on the floor. Not many minutes left for the remaining 3 guys, and at this point Ford looks to be the first guy up to get a crack at those minutes.

It's really too bad. Maybe he turns it around and gets in the rotation, but it doesn't look good. In his first 10 games as true freshman he showed tons of promise. Then his confidence went somewhere and it has yet to return. I know they haven't even played a real game yet, so there is plenty of time to turn things around, and an injury could open an opportunity at any time. Here's hoping he does better tomorrow night,  but if he continues to sit I'd be surprised if he wasn't gone by season's end.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Likelier Things

There's been a lot of focus lately on a scenario—let's call it the Doomsday Scenario—that could arguably keep a 13-0 Wisconsin out of the college football playoffs. I have a few things to say about this.

To start, a 13-0 Wisconsin team is making the playoffs. "But what if the Doomsday Scenario occurs? What are the chances that the Badgers would miss the playoffs then?" The chances are zero. ZERO. It's not happening. "How can you be so sure?" Because I have a functioning brain. If you disagree with me about this, I'm sorry: we can't be friends anymore. Not even on Facebook.

Even if I am wrong about this—and I am not wrong about this—it's super unlikely that I'll be proven wrong. This is because the chances of the Doomsday Scenario even materializing are still extremely small. For the Doomsday Scenario to occur, each of the following must occur:

1) The Badgers must win out. Let's be chipper and put the odds of that at 1 in 3. Here, already at step one, we have a Likelier Thing that submarines the Doomsday Scenario. But we still have hope. 

2) Either Alabama or Georgia must win out, and the other must finish with just one loss (to the other, preferably by a slim margin). I'll be generous and say Georgia has a 40% chance of winning its final three games, and Alabama has a 75% of winning its final three games. That makes this another 1 in 3  shot, and one of them losing not to the other is another Likelier Thing that pierces the Doomsday Scenario bubble.

3) Either Oklahoma or TCU wins out. FiveThirtyEight says Oklahoma has a 33% chance to win out and TCU has a 17% chance to win out. That's a total chance of one of them winning out of around 45%. This may be off given that they play each other at least once, but close enough for these purposes. Another Likelier Thing that defeats the Doomsday Monster.

4) Finally, the most likely iteration of Doomsday Scenario involves both Notre Dame and Clemson winning out. Being generous again, let's say both of those are 50/50 chances, meaning the chance of them both happening is 1 in 4. Yet another Likelier Thing kneecapping Dr. Doomsday.

So, the odds of the Doomsday Scenario emerging in the face of all these Likelier Things is .33 * .30 * .45 * .25 = 1% — and that's being generous.

5) Now, if you plug the Doomsday Scenario into the FiveThirtyEight playoff calculator—which has not been informed that a 13-0 Wisconsin team is actually a 100% lock to make the playoffs—it says that the Badgers currently have an 83% chance of making the playoffs even in this Doomsday Scenario. In fact, they're actually the third-most likely team to make the playoffs in this scenario, meaning that they'd still likely be the 3-seed ahead of either Oklahoma or Notre Dame. 

Bottom line: even if we pretend we don't know that the Badgers would be a 100% lock to make the playoffs at 13-0, there's about a one-sixth of one-percent chance the Doomsday Scenario ensnares them. So let's talk about something else. 

How about college basketball?

Friday, November 3, 2017

UW Indiana

Drop to 4-6 after another 0-2 week. UW is a 13.5 point favorite this week and o/u is 48.5.

This sure seems like a trap game. UW has Iowa, MI, and at Minn before a date at the Big Ten Championship game. Indiana is an improved team, and Bucky is on the road.

I'm taking Indiana and the points, and the under.