So Far, So Good
The Wisconsin Badgers won their second consecutive game (and first road game in the last five) with a win at Penn St. on Sunday afternoon. I’m not yet ready to proclaim that the Badgers are “back” for they seem to match up well with the Nittany Lions (what the hell is a Nittany Lion anyway?). Perhaps that’s because the Lions mirror Wisconsin as a ‘donut team’ with a questionable defensive presence in the middle. And Trevon Hughes appears to relish playing defense against talented PSU guard Talor Battle.
But in the last two games there are signs that the Badgers have begun to ‘find themselves’. The entire team, and today Joe Krabbenhoft in particular, has started to attack the basket more than they did during their losing streak. Also, it’s clear from the last two wins that Jon Leuer belongs in the starting lineup. He plays much more aggressive and with more confidence when he begins the game on the floor. Leuer also gives them another consistent offensive option that they lack in Keaton Nankivil, his uncharacteristic 3-point barrage against Purdue notwithstanding. The Badgers are now set up to come home for winnable games against Iowa and Ohio St.
UW is aided this season by the balance of the Big(11)Ten with conference teams beating up on each other; most of the league has 4-6 conference losses. In fact, the only team that can be considered an ‘almost win’ on anyone’s schedule is Tom Crean’s young Indiana squad. If the Badgers continue to play as they have recently, they can still position themselves well going into the conference tournament; something I wouldn’t have predicted just a week ago.
(How’s that, Jon? Better?)