The Badgers Need Professional Help At the Charity Stripe
ESPN should issue a public apology to anyone subjected to the travesty that unfolded on flat screens tuned to the Wisconsin-Michigan State “basketball” game last night at the Kold Center in Madison.
It may have been 5 below outside, but with no wind chill inside it was below 50 (final score 49-47) when it came to shooting the basketball, especially for Wisconsin, and particularly at the free throw line. When the wrestling match was over, the Spartans skated away with their fourth straight win over Bo Ryan’s wayward Badgers. The analysts, pundits and commentators will attribute this to the physical defensuive style of Big Ten basketball conference play, but any fool watching at home could plainly see the Badgers couldn’t throw it in Lake Monona, or Lake Michigan, for that matter.
When you stand at the free throw line, however, there is no defense. And when you go 7-18 from the charity stripe in a two point game, therein lies the difference. Jared Bergeren, 2-8, was the leader in the clubhouse. George Marshall clanked one, then missed an intentional miss, with the game on the line. That’s right, he missed the entire basket trying to just hit the rim. Whatever. Ryan Evans was 1-2, 50%, way above his season average. It’s apparent the whole team needs a shrink and not Rick Barry to bail them out.
When your three starting seniors idea of leading by example is shooting 39% from the the line and 29% from the floor, good luck. No amount of extra time in the gym is going to get you out of this dilemna, and the only guarantee is that another game that should be on “the left side of the column” will wind up on “the right side of the coulmn”, as Bo likes to point out.
This lack of poise at the line may also cost Wiskya trip to the NCAA. although an improbable victory over #2 ranked Indiana one week ago, at Assembly Hall, may be enough to punch their ticket, even if they finish under .500 in the Big Ten conference.
How do they emerge from this free throw funk? Underhanded attempts ala Barry? Jump shooting attempts as a tribute to Hal Greer? If you’ve never heard of either of these players, you’re not old like me.
Anyway, when the demons are in your head and not in your eyes, ears, legs, hands, arms or shoes, a schedule that turns downright dangerous from here on out could become downright ugly with every clank off the free throw rim. The Badgers are nineteen games into this season and are shooting 52% as a team from the line. No one in their right betting mind could ever sign off on this team getting past any opponent with that kind of performance from the free throw stripe.
Get it figured out men, because every miss from the line is starting to sound like another nail being hammered into the 2012-2013 season coffin.
And For What