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Wisconsin basketball: Previewing, roasting the Michigan Wolverines

As I think all of you know, Michigan football is one of the most easily unlikeable thing in the Western world. They are just behind Twitter, people ordering their drink “mixer and then spirit” instead of “spirit and then mixer” like a monster, Ohio State football, Duke basketball and anyone whose job is “Instagram influencer” on the National Likability List. Which makes the fact that I **swallows bile** kind of **shakes arms and legs around before making a big announcement** like the Michigan basketball team.

NOW HOLD ON! I don’t like LIKE the Michigan basketball team. I hate them, as every red-blooded American should, because they are Michigan Men and they are innately hateable. But, my hatred for them is so low and I just don’t know how to reconcile that with my principles as both a sports fan and a man.

God, I feel gross.

John Beilein is a great coach, they’ve got NBA talent, a guy named “Zavier” and a Lithuanian-Canadian that you’re really gonna dislike. Put “Arizona State” or “St. John’s” or “Texas Tech” on their jersey and this team would easily be my second favorite behind Wisconsin. Alas, they play in Ann Arbor and I must heap scorn upon them at every turn despite what I may secretly long to do. Which is love them.


All KenPom rankings are as of Jan. 16, 2019

Michigan Wolverines

KenPom.com rankings: 6th overall; 20th offense, 3rd defense

Notable wins: At Villanova (No. 22 KenPom), UNC (No. 10 KenPom), Purdue (No. 13 KenPom), Indiana (No. 32 KenPom)

Hilarious losses: None, unless you count the Peach Bowl or The Game … which I do.

Record: 17-0 overall, 6-0 Big Ten

Biggest strengths: Their defense is fucking unbelievable. They don’t foul. They don’t allow you to shoot a bunch of three-pointers. They don’t give up offensive rebounds or second-chance points. They have a 7’1 rim protector (Jon Teske) and a fleet of interchangeable wings and a pesky point guard with quick hands and I’m just going to stop before I convince myself that Wisconsin is going to lose by 30.

Needless to say, they have been good.

You can add two more wins at the end of that chain.

Biggest weaknesses: Sweet heavens, can’t these people ever be happy?

Who gives a shit about your dumb, underachieving, annoying-ass football team!?! Your basketball team is undefeated! Just look at these stats about their starting lineup!

I don’t think Khalil Iverson has scored 11 points total all season! [Ed. note: He has scored 73, for what it’s worth]. GOD I HATE MICHIGAN SO MUCH WITH THEIR SMUG ALUMS WHO REALLY WISH THE FOOTBALL TEAM WAS BETTER AND THEIR GREAT BASKETBALL TEAM THAT THEY DON’T REALLY CARE ABOUT!

Here’s the only, nominal weakness I could find for the Wolverines: they’re almost as bad at free throws as Wisconsin is (although in conference play UM has been much, much better). Hopefully that comes into play. Their strength of schedule also isn’t very good, and the only close game they’ve played was a two-point win at Northwestern, so maybe they aren’t battle tested? (They are…they’re good, JUST LET ME HAVE THIS!)

When do they play Wisconsin?: Saturday, 11 a.m. CT, ESPN; Kohl Center (Madison, Wis.)

Wisconsin Badgers

KenPom.com rankings: 17th overall, 7th offense, 60th defense

Notable wins: Oklahoma (21st overall KenPom), N.C. State (29th overall KenPom), at Iowa (34th in KenPom)

Hilarious losses: At Western Kentucky (105th overall KenPom)

Record: 11-6 overall, 3-3 Big Ten

Biggest strengths: Wisconsin has lost four of its last five games and five of its last seven. That isn’t good, and I know this, but I’m not quite ready to book travel plans to the CBI yet. Despite starting two seniors, Iverson and Ethan Happ in case you haven’t watched a game all year, this is still a fairly inexperienced team. They are going to have their ups and downs, and I think we, as a rational and reasonable group of fans, need to let them figure it out on the court.

Despite harping on turnovers, which ARE happening too often in key moments, the Badgers are still fourth nationally in turnover percentage and fourth in the Big Ten in conference play. They can’t hit a free throw to save their mothers’ lives and that has been, and will continue to be, a problem … but what if they start making progress?

What if they realize that college basketball games contain two halves, and instead of skipping one like they did against Minnesota and Maryland … they play both?

What if Nate Reuvers continues his Poor Man’s Frank Kaminsky impersonation? What if Kobe King supplants Iverson in the starting lineup and brings some more offensive punch to a team that maddeningly goes through 5-plus minute scoring droughts regularly?

I guess what I’m trying to say is, there is a lot for this team to work on, but there is also a lot that is going right—and a lot that could get better! If the Badgers can hang with Michigan into the second half, and the Kohl Center is rocking despite the 11 a.m. tip off, this could be a major turning point in a fun season.

If not? Well … they play Illinois after Michigan and I think a decent team from the SERF could beat the Illini.

Biggest weaknesses: Wisconsin, leading the nation in priorities since 1848.

When do they play Michigan?: Saturday, 11 a.m. CT; ESPN; Kohl Center (Madison, Wis.)

You know, sometimes when I think about how I’m allowed—nay, encouraged—to write blogs for this website, I think there must be a shortage of good journalists out there. Then I read something like this, and I’m positive that there is a shortage of good journalists out there.

Nick Foles would be starting at multiple positions on the pitch for her team, methinks.



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