Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Wisconsin Game Review

I have never been a huge Westbrook fan but as much as I dislike him, the whole state of Wisconsin hates him. He has been inconsistent all year and has disappeared for most of the Big Ten but he has single-handedly beat Wisconsin twice when we had no business winning either. Westbrook didn't equal the 29 he scored in Madison but he scored 15 all in the second half. He scored the last 10 points for the Gophers.

This was a huge win. If we had lost that game we would have needed a huge run in the Big Ten tournament. Now, if we beat Michigan on Saturday, we will be in the tournament regardless of how the Big Ten tournament turns out. In fact CBS Sports with the win moved us off the bubble and has us listed as safe. It might be true but I would not like to test that theory by going 0-2.

Another interesting development was that of Devoe Joseph. He started the game at point guard in place of Al Nolen who has been much maligned in the blogosphere. He did not do much only getting 2 points, 2 rebounds and 0 assists but the interesting thing was at the end of the game when we needed stops he was out there and not Nolen. He was in charge of stopping Hughes when we desperately needed stops and he did. He forced back to back misses from Hughes and he also had a hand in the shooters face for both missed 3's down the stretch. While I think he is better as a shooting guard, his defense has drastically improved this season and I would guess he will get the starting nod again on Saturday.

Stats of the Game
  • 53.6%: Percentage of Gophers scoring by Westbrook in the second half. He won this game for us down the stretch by being the scorer in the half court.
  • 11.25: PPG for Damian Johnson in the last 4 games, outside of Westbrook down the stretch he is the only one who consistently gives the effort and is trying to will the team into the NCAA's. He has become the on-court leader this team needs. He is a lock to win Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year.
  • 2-22: The Gophers from behind the arc in the last 2 games. They currently have no perimeter game. The two 3's were made by Paul Carter and Travis Busch, not exactly the likely suspects. This team would be so different if Blake returned to last year's form but it just is not going to happen.

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