After UND’s 85-53 loss to Wisconsin on Tuesday night at the Kohl Center, it’s pretty clear this team is still a ways away from pulling off an upset of a nationally ranked opponent.
On the other hand, the Badgers are going to make a lot of teams look bad this season. The versatility of their posts is incredible. Jon Leuer, the preseason all-Big Ten selection, is 6-foot-10 and might be Wisconsin’s best perimeter shooter. The Sioux had no match for that kind of size and athleticism.
UND’s youth was also evident. Junior Patrick Mitchell, at times, appeared to be the only confident player on the floor for the Sioux. UND’s uber-athletic freshman, Troy Huff, played confident offensively, as well, but almost to a fault. Huff forced a number of shots, especially in the first half. On the other hand, Huff remained effective and led the Sioux in points and drew praise from Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan in the postgame press conference. Huff may have been unable to beatÂ Big TenÂ defenders right now, but you could definitely see that he’s going to be a handful for Great West Conference opponents. Huff’s explosiveness is unmatched in recent Sioux history.
UND’s offense this season revolves around pick-and-rolls on the perimeter and the ability of Sioux guards to drive to the basket, draw defenders and kick to the open shooter. The problem against Wisconsin was that the Badger defenders were so strong in one-on-one situations. Sioux dribblers couldn’t drive past their defenders, preventing any need for help defense and therefore eliminating any kick-out passing options.
UND’s game against Sacramento State on Friday will be a much greater barometer for this season. The Hornets of the Big Sky are also young and are coming off seasons of two wins in 2008-09 and nine wins in 2009-10.
Just as you have to take UND’s blowout win against Waldorf College with a grain of salt, you also have to be tempered in reaction to a blowout loss to No. 25 Wisconsin. We’ll know much more come Friday.
And yes, I realize the top ofÂ my blog now has a picture of a guy walking into the woods. That header reflects a blog with far deeper thoughts than mine possesses, so I’ll get around to changing that eventually.