Friday, January 16, 2009

Flowers-less

After watching the Badger basketball team blow an important home game last night against Minnesota, it was apparent that this year's team is missing something that last year's team had--something that makes the difference between beating Texas on the road and losing to Texas at home, beating an in-state rival and losing to that in-state rival, and holding a lead against a conference opponent and blowing that lead. Whereas the 07-08 Badgers were able to come out on the winning side of all those battles, the 08-09 Badgers haven't been able to achieve similar success.

I think at this point in the season, it's clear that the main difference is the absence of Michael Flowers. Without diminishing the loss of Brian Butch and Greg Stiemsma, the Badgers have other big bodies that can collectively fill their shoes. But the loss of Flowers leaves them perilously thin at guard. Travon Hughes and Jason Bohannon have both improved since last season. But both have weaknesses for which Flowers compensated in a three guard rotation. And while Jordan Taylor and Rob Wilson may yet round into great players, right now they're too raw and inexperienced to make up for what Flowers provided: great perimeter defense, timely big-play shooting, and reliable ball-handling.

One has to think that those qualities would have made a big difference against the Gophers. If Wisconsin can't find a way to make up for them, they may find themselves falling just short on a few more occasions down the stretch.

2 comments:

abby said...

Could you consider a career as a sportswriter? I like your stuff better than most other things I read. :-)

AJK said...

Well, if this philosophy thing doesn't work out, I may have to figure out how I can get paid to watch sports so . . .