Men's basketball notes: not all silver lining

Wisconsin's depth shines but wrinkles remain

MADISON—As easy as it is to point out the positives in the University of Wisconsin's dominating win over UW-Parkside Wednesday night, it is important to recognize the problems the team encountered in its first exhibition game of the season.

UW forced 19 turnovers in the contest, but the Badgers committed 15 of their own. However, Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan is willing to understand it (for now) considering this was the first matchup of the season.

"Obviously there were 15 bad [decisions] on the turnover side, but it's the first time out. But there were a couple that weren't really forced, just bad decisions," Ryan said.

Unfortunately, a lot of the bad decisions were made by the inexperienced UW backcourt. According to Ryan, the play of his point guards, including senior Sharif Chambliss, sophomore starter Kammron Taylor and freshman Michael Flowers, was "average."

For the Badgers to improve, they'll need better leadership and consistency from their court generals, but in addition, they'll need improved play from all positions.

As a team, the Badgers struggled at times to put the ball in the hoop, took ill-advised shots and also missed important free throws that could have resulted in three-point plays.

Considering it is the first game, however, Ryan and his players appeared pleased with their initial effort of the year.

UW turns up the heat

From the get-go, the Badgers brought a full-court press Wednesday night and at times it was a very effective means of disrupting the Rangers' attack.

Several of Parkside's 19 turnovers were the result of the Badger full-court attack, but for Ryan, the pressing was about making sure his players could get to the right spots at the right times on the court and about controlling the tempo as much as it was about causing turnovers.

"Basically, today was just being in a game situation and getting to spots," Ryan said. "It was more of a nuisance than it was real pressure tonight."

"The thing with full court pressure is that you still have to play defense, and we did that tonight," Mike Wilkinson said.

Wisconsin employed primarily a ‘diamond' press, with the ‘4' providing pressure on the in-bound pass and trapping some initial throw-ins to the corners. The amount of pressure the team used varied through the course of the game but the act of pressing was continual.

"There are things you can do with the press where you can up the tempo, slow the tempo, double certain things, not double…there are different things that we are going to end up doing," Ryan said.

Badgers' depth shines

With all 13 players suited up for the contest Wednesday managing to see some minutes, Badger fans got a chance to witness the versatility and depth of this year's squad.

Throughout the contest, Ryan mixed players in and out of the rotation and received productivity from nearly every group. However, one set of five that made a huge splash was the big man lineup, comprised of Brian Butch, Greg Stiemsma, Zach Morley and Ray Nixon and Michael Flowers.

This lineup, with four players 6-8 or taller, is something unfamiliar to Badger fans in recent years, but is unquestionably one of the aces up Ryan's sleeve.

"They're just going to wear down people," Reigel said. "With that size and strength, he's [Ryan] just going to rotate bodies in. Their depth is going to be a big factor I would imagine throughout the season for them."

Whether it was a big lineup, three-point group, speedsters or the traditional five, the Badgers were able to sport it all in their win Wednesday.

"Whether we use nine, 10, 13 or 14, it will play itself out … this was just 40 minutes and we'll see the next 40 minutes," Ryan said.

"When I was at Platteville with him that's what he did," Reigel said of Ryan. "He played 10 guys. They would just continue to bring the hammer and just wear on people."

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