I have always respected Wisconsin University (in football and basketball for that matter) and their style of play. What I really respect is the consistency of Wisconsin basketball, and their head coach Bo Ryan.
When I was watching the game [Wisconsin v. Arizona] last night and saw the score 16-3, I turned off the game. Why? I knew it'd be close... I knew the refs were going to give some calls to Arizona. But the thing is, I thought no matter how hard Arizona came back, they just aren't that good this year. They are, however, a lot better than what I thought. I just didn't think Bo Ryan and the Badgas would lose to a clearly inferior team.
What I am trying to say is, history has a tendency of repeating itself. Both Gonzaga and Memphis both lost close to clearly superior teams (Michigan State and Kansas respectively) and now Gonzaga and Wisconsin both survived scares in Maui. It was just meant to be, I guess, so we got the matchup the media wanted. Wisconsin-Gonzaga.
And either way, this would be a HUGE win for either of these programs come Selection Sunday. A loss, would not help you at all, if you are fighting for the last at-large spot in the NCAA Tournament.
Now, Wisconsin doesn't put up the high profile offense, nor do they put up a lot of points. They mostly rely on their defense and using the shot clock to their advantage. They can create turnovers and get easy buckets off those turnovers. Bo Ryan is a master at this, and that's why they are usually a threat to go deep in the tournament each year. And that's also why they could easily end up winning this Maui Invitational Tournament.
A few quick notes about Wisconsin:
1. Defense is key. If Wisconsin executes and shuts down the frontcourt of Gonzaga, they will be in this game till the end.
2. They have athletic guards too. Including a freshman Ryan Evans. We all know about Trevon Hughes, and how good he is....
Don't laugh at their frontcourt, neither. They have some height, too. They have a 6'10 Forward in Jon Leuer, and a 6'8 Forward Keaton Nankivil. Both can possibly shut down Robert Sacre and Elias Harris.
What Gonzaga needs to do to win the game:
1. Take care of the rock, and don't give up easy points to the Badgas.
2. Dominate in the frontcourt (Especially Sacre)
3. Have some good guard play and make smart decisions, take open threes, but otherwise, pass the ball.
4. Where has Matt Bouldin been? He needs to produce. He hasn't really produced so far besides the Colorado game. Maybe Maui is his wakeup call.
5. Contain Trevon Hughes. DO NOT let him shoot too many threes...
How Wisconsin will win the game:
1. Playing great defensively
2. Trevon Hughes catches fire
3. Jon Leuer will get his 15 points and shut down Robert Sacre
4. Wisconsin doesn't have the refs from last night that were just horrible ... hahaha...
5. Gonzaga will forefit. (Obviously I am joking here....lol)
Either way, I think this will be a low scoring affair. I was way off yesterday, as the Colorado Buffaloes came out to play, and had a tremendous game, but I think I will return to a bit of a better predicition today...
This game could get really interesting if all of these things go as I mapped out in my keys to the game. I don't see how any team gets more than like an 8 point lead during any point in the game. Both squads can play defense and Wisconsin will obviously try to slow down the tempo.
I have a decently good feeling about this game after the kind of performance Wisky put up yesterday, so I think the final score will be something like:
Go Zags! This should be a diaper dandy...