13 January 2010

Countdown to Wisconsin @ Northwestern

#13 Bucky (3-1) visits the Welsh tonight to take on a resilient Willy (1-2) squad. Last year the two teams split the season series as both squads defended the home court. The game at the Welsh was close, but Craig Moore's dead eye from distance made the difference.

Bucky has exceeded all expectations so far this season. Their marquee game was a home win over the Dukies as part of the Big Ten-ACC Challenge (hey! no quotes anymore since the Big Ten finally won it this year). Wisconsin has gone back to basics with solid fundamental basketball on both ends of the court and crashing the boards hard. Super guard Trevon Hughes gets most of the pub, but the key to Wisconsin's season has been the emergence of Jon Leuer. He poses a big matchup problem when on offense as he is 6'10" and can knock it down from distance at a 35% clip.

NU finally appears to have caught a break as Leuer will be out for the game due to surgery on his non-shooting hand. This will be Bucky's first game without Leuer, and his absence will require some adjustments that should alter Bucky's chemistry.

What to expect? A low scoring game with tough defense is almost an absolute certainty. Aside from that it is nearly impossible to say who will step up for NU on offense since we don't have access to Bo Ryan's defensive game plan. Will they focus on stopping Shurna? Crawford? Thompson? We are tempted to say that Marcotullio will have a break out game since 1) it's been some time since he's had one and will most likely want to make up for his worst game of the year on Sunday in Ann Arbor, and 2) he is filling Craig Moore's role this year -- and Moore lit it up in last year's tilt.