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Wisconsin: The Most Boring Team in America

  • If you take out all the flopping, watching Wisconsin is like watching women's basketball.

  • Gus Chiggins

    Chitown_Badger said... (original post)

    Because it's less about the number of possessions and more about the points per possession (ie. offensive efficiency). Up tempo teams believe that they are more efficient at a faster pace, teams like UW believe they are more efficient at a slower pace. The style of play does not determine how "good" a team is...being able to impose your style on another team and being more efficient on the offensive end does. There are plenty of teams that push an up tempo style of play but are horse shit and get run out of the gym on a nightly basis.

    You obviously didn't understand my post at all.

    Although it is generally irrelevant to my argument, I did acknowledge that Wisconsin is--on average--very efficient on defense and offense. That is great, on average. However, an average is not a guarantee over any narrow period of time. As my post argues, averages are subject to wide swings due to variance. When you see wide variance swings over short sample sizes, you get unlikely results (i.e. upsets).

    As you increase possessions, the variance is less likely to have an impact on the eventual outcome. This is like card games. On average, a certain result is likely when certain cards are dealt. But that doesn't mean the result is will occur in that one hand. Obviously, this takes the sample size to the extreme, being one. Nevertheless, the same principle applies when comparing a sample size of 60 possessions versus 75 possessions.

    While reducing possessions as a strategy may allow Wisconsin to compete with more talented teams, it also works the other way. That is to say, it allows Wisconsin's opponents to beat Wisconsin when Wisconsin executes poorly offensively, defensively or both.

    Your final point is about tempo for tempo's sake. I don't argue that all high possession teams are good. In fact, an inefficient high possession team is a worse strategy than an inefficient low possession team, as they are likely to be more exposed over the course of a high possession game than a low possession game.

    In sum, my point is high efficiency, high tempo is the optimal strategy for big time success, with high efficiency preferred to high tempo. But look at the National Champions since Pomeroy began tracking tempo. On average, their adjusted tempo is 70.0, with a range from 65.4 to 73.9. Currently, Wisconsin has an adjusted tempo of 59.0, a full eleven points below that average and lower than any Final Four team since Pomeroy began tracking tempo.

    This post has been edited 3 times, most recently by Gus Chiggins 3 years ago

  • spartans17 said... (original post)

    A slower tempo implies that they are probing the defense, patiently waiting for an offensive opportunity. That is not the case with Wisconsin. They, more or less, kill the shot clock until there are 10 seconds left in order to shorten the game. That isn't slow tempo; it's deliberately turning a 40-minute contest into a 30-minute contest so that actual basketball factors, such as skill, talent and athleticism, play less of a role in who wins the game.

    How can you say that isnt the case when they are consistently one of the most efficient teams in the nation. They just getting lucky every year?

  • DayWalker said... (original post)

    How can you say that isnt the case when they are consistently one of the most efficient teams in the nation. They just getting lucky every year?

    Their efficiency is a product of their smaller sample size (in terms of number of possessions per game) and of their remarkable ability to not turn the ball over. They've put up some ridiculous turnover-related stats over the years; partly due to the fact that they don't have much in terms of "fast-paced action" going for them, because they always just shoot jump shots and also due to Bo's coaching, I'm sure.

  • Gus Chiggins

    spartans17 said... (original post)

    Their efficiency is a product of their smaller sample size (in terms of number of possessions per game) and of their remarkable ability to not turn the ball over. They've put up some ridiculous turnover-related stats over the years; partly due to the fact that they don't have much in terms of "fast-paced action" going for them, because they always just shoot jump shots and also due to Bo's coaching, I'm sure.

    Their efficiency has little to do with their sample size. However, you are right about their low risk style of play, which clearly improves their efficiency numbers. Either way, on average, they are extremely efficient on offense and defense.

    Obviously efficiency is not the sole metric for determining success. Otherwise, Wisconsin would be winning championships left and right. But as we know, they haven't won much over the last eight years. So clearly, something else is at play.

    Again, I argue tempo is also a critical factor in a teams success, as borne out by the numbers. I would also argue that Wisconsin does not have the talent/depth to increase their tempo while still playing as efficient of a game. In other words, as Wisconsin increases pace, I believe their efficiency--offensively and defensively--would worsen. Now, that is probably true with most teams, as rarely do dominant teams like 2005 & 2009 North Carolina come around that can lead the country in offensive efficiency while playing at a 73.9 tempo.

    This post has been edited 3 times, most recently by Gus Chiggins 3 years ago

  • Giant Moose said... (original post)

    When MSU loses in the tournament, it's not usually considered a bad loss. When Wisconsin loses in the NCAA tournament, they have a tendency to lose to teams they shouldn't.

    So first you said UW loses in the first weekend just about every year. When shown how wrong that was, you're now changing it to the perception around who the loses were to? Change your argument on the fly much?

  • spartans17 said... (original post)

    Their efficiency is a product of their smaller sample size (in terms of number of possessions per game) and of their remarkable ability to not turn the ball over. They've put up some ridiculous turnover-related stats over the years; partly due to the fact that they don't have much in terms of "fast-paced action" going for them, because they always just shoot jump shots and also due to Bo's coaching, I'm sure.

    Wrong. Offensive efficiency is determined on a per game basis, and then averaged over a season (and I believe kenpom adjusts for any tempo discrepancy).

    The only way sample size would affect comparisons is if one team played less games than another team, and that's rarely the case...so the sample size is the "same" for all teams.

  • Chitown_Badger said... (original post)

    So first you said UW loses in the first weekend just about every year. When shown how wrong that was, you're now changing it to the perception around who the loses were to? Change your argument on the fly much?

    In the past 6 NCAA tourneys, Wisconsin has lost 4 times in the first weekend -- or just about every year like I said.

    signature image
  • red_cedar said... (original post)

    Dude, Wisconsin's defense is good. Not just slow.

    Their opponents are shooting 24% from 3-point range (rank #8) and shooting 37% from 2-point range (rank #4). Also, they battle on the defensive glass just about as well as anyone on the country (opponent's offensive rebounding 25%, rank #14).

    Is bad shooting against the opposing team, or for the defending team?

  • Responding to this post (post reply when quoting didn't work):
    --------------------------------------------
    Gus Chiggins said:
    Their efficiency has little to do with their sample size. However, you are right about their low risk style of play, which clearly improves their efficiency numbers. Either way, on average, they are extremely efficient on offense and defense.

    Obviously efficiency is not the sole metric for determining success. Otherwise, Wisconsin would be winning championships left and right. But as we know, they haven't won much over the last eight years. So clearly, something else is at play.

    Again, I argue tempo is also a critical factor in a teams success, as borne out by the numbers. I would also argue that Wisconsin does not have the talent/depth to increase their tempo while still playing as efficient of a game. In other words, as Wisconsin increases pace, I believe their efficiency--offensively and defensively--would worsen. Now, that is probably true with most teams, as rarely do dominant teams like 2005 & 2009 North Carolina come around that can lead the country in offensive efficiency while playing at a 73.9 tempo.
    ---------------------------------------

    What amuses me is the two approaches some of you take to crack on Wisconsin...there's people like you who claim UW doesn't have talent and skill, and then there's the other group who claims that UW recruits just as well as the premier teams and because of that should be going to final fours. Just an observation...and it amuses me.

    You're trying to argue that the style of play is what determines a team's success. As I said before, teams play a style that they feel gives them the best efficiency and chance to win. At any pace, the more "efficient" team is going to win. If Wisconsin is playing UNC, and they can force the style of play where they are more efficient and UNC less efficient, they have a better chance to win the game. We saw that when the two played this year (and UW still could have won despite shooting poorly from the field). If that game is instead played at a pace where UW is less efficient and UNC more comfortable it's probably not close. I'm not above pointing out when I think Bo makes coaching mistakes, but he outcoached the shit out of Roy Boy in that one.

  • Giant Moose said... (original post)

    In the past 6 NCAA tourneys, Wisconsin has lost 4 times in the first weekend -- or just about every year like I said.

    So now you're cherry picking the years that kinda make you look like you're right. Aren't you the one who was just saying something about a "smaller sample size"? lol

  • tig ol bitties1

    the article is spot on. Bo is a very good basketball coach. His teams are awful to watch.

    I don't watch every badger game, but it seems like they have gotten away from a G posting up. Has he changed is offense? Seems like all they do now is shoot tons of 3s.

    "Put your mother in a straight-jacket you punk ass white boy." ~ Mike Tyson

  • Chitown_Badger said... (original post)

    So now you're cherry picking the years that kinda make you look like you're right. Aren't you the one who was just saying something about a "smaller sample size"? lol

    Dude, it's Wisconsin's reputation. I didn't give it that. Basketball fans across the country know UW as the regional power team that underperforms in the NCAAs and has an ugly style of play.

    I don't know why you can't accept that. Keep arguing efficiency and KenPom rankings and all that, but the fact is that a Sweet 16 every few years is Wisconsin's ceiling. It's not a bad thing, but you are on a board with a school that is mentioned in the same breath as blue bloods. The standards are a lot higher here.

    signature image
  • spartans17 said... (original post)

    Their efficiency is a product of their smaller sample size (in terms of number of possessions per game) and of their remarkable ability to not turn the ball over. They've put up some ridiculous turnover-related stats over the years; partly due to the fact that they don't have much in terms of "fast-paced action" going for them, because they always just shoot jump shots and also due to Bo's coaching, I'm sure.

    Bascially with your arguments, you're saying Bo Ryan is one of the best coaches at using his personnel and getting them to play a style that is most benifitial for his team to win the game.

    You keep saying that all they do is run the clock down to 10. If true, how do they end up among the national leaders in scoring effiiency when they have no time on the clock? According to you, Bo Ryan must be the best coach ever to be able to have his team create so many good looks with the shot clock winding down.

    I get why people on here don't like Bo Ryan. And most on here hate the flopping they accuse the Badgers of doing. No issues with any of that. But to argue about Bo Ryan's coaching style is just idiotic.

    As the great Herm Edwards said, "You play to win the game." That's what Bo Ryan does. If he were to try and run up and down the court, they probably would lose more often than they do.

    PS - MSU averages 74.8 ppg, Wisconsin 68.1. Just want to see how much of a difference the points per game were, a whole 6.7 ppg.

  • gbhmt said... (original post)

    the article is spot on. Bo is a very good basketball coach. His teams are awful to watch.

    I don't watch every badger game, but it seems like they have gotten away from a G posting up. Has he changed is offense? Seems like all they do now is shoot tons of 3s.

    It can be bad at times for sure. But at the same time, I've seen plenty of up tempo teams that are awful to watch as well when things aren't clicking....tons of turnovers, bad shots, sloppy play, etc. Some may say that's exciting, but I think it can just be terrible basketball (both ways).

    The guards are still posting, though I feel like they're not giving it as much chance as they should be. The offense works best when they actually run the offense through the post, and Taylor (one example) is quite good down low. If the offense doesn't run through the post, it can end up being 20-25 seconds of perimeter swing and then someone having to force something.

    Taylor hasn't really been asserting himself from a scoring standpoint this year, and I'm not sure why.

  • Giant Moose said... (original post)

    Dude, it's Wisconsin's reputation. I didn't give it that. Basketball fans across the country know UW as the regional power team that underperforms in the NCAAs and has an ugly style of play.

    I don't know why you can't accept that. Keep arguing efficiency and KenPom rankings and all that, but the fact is that a Sweet 16 every few years is Wisconsin's ceiling. It's not a bad thing, but you are on a board with a school that is mentioned in the same breath as blue bloods. The standards are a lot higher here.

    I'm not claiming we're anything...I'm just responding to some ridiculous points that lack a basis in logic or fact. And noting that certain mantras, no matter how much some of you repeat them or how much you believe them does not make them true. Among them:

    UW always loses in the first round (or weekend): not true

    UW flops all the time: I wish there was a stat on this, but all teams do it to some extent (yes, even MSU)

    UW underperforms in the tourney: not true, unless your only measure of success is reaching the F4. Bo Ryan's PASE and win pct in the tourney is well above average and better than many "marquee" coaches.

  • red_cedar said... (original post)

    Isn't forcing an uptempo game just as "unfair"? UNC wants as many possessions as possible so their athleticism will get the most chances to wear out their opponent. Are you really trying to claim that a fast pace is honorable and a slow pace is dishonorable?

    It is much much harder to make a slow, disciplined team like Wisconsin speed up their game than it is to get people to engage in an up tempo game. Wisconsin wants to use the impatience of athletes, particularly young athletes, to their advantage, not only do they shorten the game, but they get a psychological edge because you're frustrated by their play. UNC beats you because they give you what you want, an up tempo game. Coaches can beat into their players heads not to engage UNC at that level, but slowing the game down goes against everything a high level, competitive athlete wants to do, so it's easy to get them to go up tempo against all advice to the contrary. They then lose to simply better players. Wisconsin gets people because lesser players slow the game down, causing frustration on the oppositions part, and their play lags as a result.

  • gbhmt said... (original post)

    What standard other that going far in the tournament would you use to gauge tournament success, exactly?

    Tourney appearances

    Total # of wins

    PASE

    Sweet Sixteens

    Final Fours

    Championships

    Win %

    Lots of ways to look at it. For example, if you just use Final Fours as a measure, you get one part of the picture. Jim Larranega has a F4. Does that mean he's a better coach than every coach who has never made a final four? No. You need to consider the other measures to further inform things.

  • vator88 said... (original post)

    It is much much harder to make a slow, disciplined team like Wisconsin speed up their game than it is to get people to engage in an up tempo game. Wisconsin wants to use the impatience of athletes, particularly young athletes, to their advantage, not only do they shorten the game, but they get a psychological edge because you're frustrated by their play. UNC beats you because they give you what you want, an up tempo game. Coaches can beat into their players heads not to engage UNC at that level, but slowing the game down goes against everything a high level, competitive athlete wants to do, so it's easy to get them to go up tempo against all advice to the contrary. They then lose to simply better players. Wisconsin gets people because lesser players slow the game down, causing frustration on the oppositions part, and their play lags as a result.

    Not to mention, playing defense is hard. I remember doing those defensive drills in high school where your thighs would start burning, you'd start to get upright, and then you're in bad position and chasing, reaching, etc. If you have a team that can take care of the ball on offense, it's probably going to pay dividends.

  • Spartan Punk said... (original post)

    Bascially with your arguments, you're saying Bo Ryan is one of the best coaches at using his personnel and getting them to play a style that is most benifitial for his team to win the game.

    You keep saying that all they do is run the clock down to 10. If true, how do they end up among the national leaders in scoring effiiency when they have no time on the clock? According to you, Bo Ryan must be the best coach ever to be able to have his team create so many good looks with the shot clock winding down.

    I get why people on here don't like Bo Ryan. And most on here hate the flopping they accuse the Badgers of doing. No issues with any of that. But to argue about Bo Ryan's coaching style is just idiotic.

    As the great Herm Edwards said, "You play to win the game." That's what Bo Ryan does. If he were to try and run up and down the court, they probably would lose more often than they do.

    PS - MSU averages 74.8 ppg, Wisconsin 68.1. Just want to see how much of a difference the points per game were, a whole 6.7 ppg.

    and you missed the point again. You play to win the game so you can win championships. Wisky plays on a micro level and has topped out as a team that wins their conference every blue moon or so and then gets laughed off the big stage. Bo Ryan's style is a big reason why they're not able to compete when it matters, his style is brutal and kids that want a future in the sport don't want that yoke around their neck.

    It really isn't that hard of a concept to grasp. No matter how much you try to argue semantics and or bullshit nonsense like KenPom it's obvious that UW bball would make James Naismith cringe and is half a step above the 4 corners offense (only by necessity of course, I have little doubt you'd see UW games in the single digits if there was no shot clock)

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    youngblood96/viggo martyr/jargon: tRCMB's answer to Vidkun Quisling and Fred Phelps.

  • Gus Chiggins

    Chitown_Badger said... (original post)

    What amuses me is the two approaches some of you take to crack on Wisconsin...there's people like you who claim UW doesn't have talent and skill, and then there's the other group who claims that UW recruits just as well as the premier teams and because of that should be going to final fours. Just an observation...and it amuses me.

    You're trying to argue that the style of play is what determines a team's success. As I said before, teams play a style that they feel gives them the best efficiency and chance to win. At any pace, the more "efficient" team is going to win. If Wisconsin is playing UNC, and they can force the style of play where they are more efficient and UNC less efficient, they have a better chance to win the game. We saw that when the two played this year (and UW still could have won despite shooting poorly from the field). If that game is instead played at a pace where UW is less efficient and UNC more comfortable it's probably not close. I'm not above pointing out when I think Bo makes coaching mistakes, but he outcoached the shit out of Roy Boy in that one.

    You are still not understanding the argument.

    First, I don't care about debating whether Wisconsin has talent or no talent. They clearly have talent. My point regarding talent has more to do with the talent to execute as efficiently at a faster tempo. Again, it isn't a slight against Wisconsin, as few--if any teams--could execute as efficiently at such a fast tempo. Shit, MSU couldn't execute that efficiently at such a fast tempo. Hence, my 2005 & 2009 Carolina example. Those were freakish teams by any metric. But alas, that is not relevant to anything other than your "amusement" I suppose.

    Second, I am arguing style of play determines a team's ability to win at a high level. And the numbers bear it out. Unfortunately, when operating at a slow pace, Wisconsin is more affected by variance in offensive and defensive efficiency. This isn't just Wisconsin; it applies to any team using a similar strategy. As I have mentioned, this principle allows Wisconsin to compete with better teams, while subjecting Wisconsin to upsets (see first post for examples of variance resulting in long droughts against less efficient teams). Proving how it helped Wisconsin against UNC is actually helping to prove my point. So unless you believe playing fewer possessions against a lesser team favors the statistically more efficient team, I am not sure how your post does anything to dispel my argument. That is my point, it both: 1) helps Wisconsin against BETTER teams; and 2) hurts Wisconsin against LESSER teams.

    As a Badger fan, I understand that you can remove yourself from your biases. But I am not specifically pointing to Wisconsin. I am referring to the style of play. It just hasn't proven to be a reliable strategy for winning big. Again, here are the facts:

    NCAA Champ Avg Tempo: 70.0
    Final Four Avg Tempo: 67.6
    NCAA Champ Avg PPG: 80.4
    Final Four Avg PPG: 76.6

    Currently, Wisconsin is sitting at 59.0 tempo and 67 ppg. Neither average falls within the range of a single Final Four team since Pomeroy began publishing his numbers. Considering that includes 36 teams, including 9 national champions, I think the numbers show something.

    As you have yet to actually make an any argument that contradicts my point, I am not expecting much. Just trying to show you why the system may be flawed. For such a "brilliant" coach, you would think he could design a championship level system. Say what you want about Roy, but he has actually won championships, on the court and on the Pomeroy computers.

    EDIT: Here is a simple question that demonstrates my point. Let's say we take a deck of cards, you get all red cards and black aces, giving you 28 cards to my 24. I'll let you draw cards at random, and whoever's cards are drawn the most at the end wins. How many cards would you prefer to draw to determine the winner: 50 or 100? It is not a perfect example, so don't waste time distinguishing it. It is merely meant to show you how variance has less affect over time.

    This post has been edited 4 times, most recently by Gus Chiggins 3 years ago

  • tig ol bitties1

    Coach A:
    10 full seasons in the big10

    BIG10
    120-48 in Big10 games (wins 71% of big10 games)
    3 big10 titles (30% of the time)
    2 big10 tourney titles (20% of the time)

    NCAA TOURNAMENT (10 times)
    14-10 tourney record (.58 winning percentage)
    past the first weekend of tourney 4 times (40% of the time)
    past the second weekend of tourney 0 times (0% of the time)
    0 final fours
    0 national titles

    Coach B:
    16 full seasons in the big10

    BIG10
    183-85 in Big10 games (wins 68% of big10 games)
    6 big10 titles (37.5% of the time)
    2 big10 tourney titles (12.5% of the time)

    NCAA TOURNAMENT (14 times)
    35-13 tourney record ( .73 winning percentage)
    past the first weekend of tourney 9 times (64% of the time)
    past the second weekend tourney 6 times (42% of the time)
    6 final fours
    1 national title

    shrug

    "Put your mother in a straight-jacket you punk ass white boy." ~ Mike Tyson

  • Rogue Leader said... (original post)

    and you missed the point again. You play to win the game so you can win championships. Wisky plays on a micro level and has topped out as a team that wins their conference every blue moon or so and then gets laughed off the big stage. Bo Ryan's style is a big reason why they're not able to compete when it matters, his style is brutal and kids that want a future in the sport don't want that yoke around their neck.

    It really isn't that hard of a concept to grasp. No matter how much you try to argue semantics and or bullshit nonsense like KenPom it's obvious that UW bball would make James Naismith cringe and is half a step above the 4 corners offense (only by necessity of course, I have little doubt you'd see UW games in the single digits if there was no shot clock)

    Thanks for proving my point. I knew you'd eventually get it.

    Do you think Wisconsin would make the tournament every year if they played a different style of basketball? Nope. They play the style that is best for them and gives them the best chance of winning.

  • Rogue Leader said... (original post)

    and you missed the point again. You play to win the game so you can win championships. Wisky plays on a micro level and has topped out as a team that wins their conference every blue moon or so and then gets laughed off the big stage. Bo Ryan's style is a big reason why they're not able to compete when it matters, his style is brutal and kids that want a future in the sport don't want that yoke around their neck.

    It really isn't that hard of a concept to grasp. No matter how much you try to argue semantics and or bullshit nonsense like KenPom it's obvious that UW bball would make James Naismith cringe and is half a step above the 4 corners offense (only by necessity of course, I have little doubt you'd see UW games in the single digits if there was no shot clock)

    One of the things that causes them to hit a cieling is the win and survive aspect of the first weekend, where a lot of teams look to shorten the game and avoid mistakes. Because of the pressure of the tournament, coaches are able to convince their players to focus, limit turnorvers, win and survive. 80% of the teams in the tournament will play Wisky ball for the first weekend, and Wisky loses the psych edge they get by slowing the game down on teams who don't want it slowed down. Everyone is willing to play slow ball to have a chance at the end in weekend one. Things return to normal in weekend two and that is where the trap sits.

    This post was edited by vator88 3 years ago

  • gbhmt said... (original post)

    Coach A: 10 full seasons in the big10

    BIG10 120-48 in Big10 games (wins 71% of big10 games) 3 big10 titles (30% of the time) 2 big10 tourney titles (20% of the time)

    NCAA TOURNAMENT (10 times) 14-10 tourney record (.58 winning percentage) past the first weekend of tourney 4 times (40% of the time) past the second weekend of tourney 0 times (0% of the time) 0 final fours 0 national titles

    Coach B: 16 full seasons in the big10

    BIG10 183-85 in Big10 games (wins 68% of big10 games) 6 big10 titles (37.5% of the time) 2 big10 tourney titles (12.5% of the time)

    NCAA TOURNAMENT (14 times) 35-13 tourney record ( .73 winning percentage) past the first weekend of tourney 9 times (64% of the time) past the second weekend tourney 6 times (42% of the time) 6 final fours 1 national title

    I'm as proud of what Coach Izzo has accomplished as anybody, but there is not one "Bo is better than Izzo" comment in this thread. The debate is whether Bo Ryan's style of play is 1) entertaining and 2) effective. The fact that Spartan fans feel the need to read more into that and immeditely post Izzo's resume is ridiculous and arrogant. I cringe every time I open a Wisconsin basketball thread because we have some weird posters who are infatuated with that program for unknown reasons.

    When Wisky fans come online and claim their program or their coach is better than ours, it takes little effort to post facts to prove them wrong. We should take the high road until such time.