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Monday, December 22, 2008

Michigan vs. Wisconsin

MICHIGAN (5) Pts RB Assts Stls Fg% 3pt% FT%
G Jimmy King 11.9 4.1 2.7 1.4 0.477 0.351 0.676
G Louis Bullock 17.9 3.4 2.5 1.1 0.434 0.433 0.867
SF LaVell Blanchard 15.8 7.3 1.4 0.6 0.435 0.389 0.813
F Maurice Taylor 12.3 6.2 1.1 0.7 0.507 0.200 0.718
C Tractor Traylor 14.7 8.9 1.8 1.2 0.567 0.000 0.544
B: F Bernard Robinson, Jr. 12.5 5.3 3.0 1.4 0.439 0.297 0.813
G Daniel Horton 14.7 2.6 4.4 1.7 0.396 0.358 0.796
G Ray Jackson 10.1 4.6 2.4 1.0 0.493 0.259 0.680

King: One of the fab five that actually stuck around, King was a big guard who could shoot from everywhere but the line.
Bullock: Bullock was probably the best player each year he was a  Wolverine and even averaged 20 a game his Jr year.  The Timberwolves agreed he was a stud by taking him with the 13th pick in the '99 draft.
Blanchard: Led the team in scoring all four years.  He is outstanding from 3 and clutch from the line.
Taylor: Played one year in Ann Arbor but had some dominant performances in the Big Ten Tournament.
Traylor:  The Tractor was a mini Shaq, putting up several double doubles while manhandling people in the paint.
Bench: Robinson was a solid forward who could post up a little and shoot from outside, Horton, a true floor general, adds another guard to UM's arsenal, and Jackson is outstanding swingman who can be the showstopper.

Strengths: Athleticism, FT shooting, Size on the perimeter
Michigan's guards are big.  Bullock and Jackson will tower over Harris and Kelley.  Even though the stats don't show it, Michigan may have the most future NBA players on the team.  

Weaknesses: foul trouble, me-first basketball, inexperience
The Wolverines may have the most talent but the guys didn't stick around to show it.  Tractor Traylor was often plagued by foul trouble and when Horton is on the bench there can be some doubt on whether or not the offense will be run or if someone is going to try and steal the spotlight.

WISCONSIN (4) Pts RB Assts Stls Fg% 3pt% FT%
G Devin Harris 14.8 4.1 3.1 1.7 0.446 0.374 0.778
G Mike Kelley 4.7 2.3 2.7 2.1 0.472 0.279 0.750
F Alando Tucker 16.5 5.7 1.6 0.8 0.479 0.306 0.636
F Michael Finley 18.7 5.6 3.2 1.5 0.440 0.338 0.769
F Mike Wilkinson 11.8 6.6 1.7 1.3 0.474 0.336 0.737
Bench G Kirk Penney 11.5 3.8 1.7 0.6 0.433 0.387 0.753
C Brian Butch 9.0 5.4 0.8 0.5 0.467 0.319 0.626
G Tracy Webster 14.4 2.8 5.7 2.1 0.426 0.411 0.775

Harris: Exceptionally quick off the dribble, I never saw a guy Harris couldn't drive on.  Honors: 1st team All Big Ten 1994
Kelley: The glue that holds this team together, Kelly never looked to score but instead to stop his opponent from scoring.  An absolute nightmare for most offensive foes, Kelley averaged over 2 steals a game for his career.  Honors: Def player of the year 1999
Tucker: Tucker and Harris were an underrated tandem while wearing Badger red.  Tucker is a go-to guy that doesn't disappoint.  Honors: 1st Team All Big Ten 2006; Player of the Year 2007
Finley: Forced to play PF on this team, Finley will help his teammates on the offensive end  with his versatile game.  The guy can post up and hit the turn-around j or he can nail the big three.  Honors: 1st Team All Big Ten 1993, 1995
Wilkinson: A big, burly lumberjack type guy, Wilkinson improved each year in Madison.  As a senior he earned first team honors thanks to mastering the 12ft jumper and for his hard work in the paint.  Honors: 1st team All Big Ten 2005
Bench: Kirk Penney earned first team honors in '03 & '04 for his dynamite 3 point shot, Polar bear Brian Butch was another awkward looking big man who could shoot from 18 feet but struggled defensively against smaller, quicker players, and Tracy Webster gives the Badgers some backup if anything happens to Harris or Kelley.

Strengths: Defense, guard depth, experience
The Badgers defense is the best in the tournament bar none.  Harris and Kelley make up for what they lack in size with lightning quickness.  The sheer depth of guards will enable the Badgers to create a variety of matchups causing constant miss-matches.  And with several four year players on the squad crunch time should be a little less nerve-wracking. 

Weaknesses: Lack of size, Offensive oriented big men
Really, anything other than these two weaknesses is nitpicking.  The lack of size could haunt the Badgers as Finley is already playing power forward.  If Butch and Wilkinson are forced to score more than 10 points this team could be doomed.

What to Expect:  Wisconsin will grind out the game, forcing Michigan to create lots of turnovers.  Michigan will run, run, and try to get the Tractor to push people around.  If Wisconsin has their way they'll win 45-41 while Michigan will shoot for the upper 70's. 

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