Sunday, November 18, 2012

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Previews Cornell at Wisconsin


Madison – Wisconsin returns to action at 5 p.m. Sunday – at the Kohl Center – in the first game of the 2012 Las Vegas Invitational.

UW (1-1), coming off an 18-point spanking at Florida, hosts Cornell (1-2).

Since Cornell is coming off a 68-64 home loss to Saint Peters College I suspect UW will take care of business at home.

What I’m curious to see is whether senior forward Mike Bruesewitz gets his first start of the season.
Bruesewitz, who suffered a gruesome right-leg injury on Oct. 9, played 13 minutes in the opener against Southeastern Louisiana and 23 minutes at Florida.

According to Bruesewitz, he has been cleared by the medical staff to log as many minutes as the coaching staff deems necessary.

“If they ask me to play 40 I’ll play 40,” he said with a smile.

It was noteworthy to see Bruesewitz replace sophomore Frank Kaminsky to start the second half against the Gators.

“I started the game but Mike started the second half,” Kaminsky said. “Mike played well. Mike was bringing the energy so in the second half I just tried to replace what Mike brought from off the bench in the first half.”

UW struggled to defend Florida’s screens on the perimeter and stop dribble penetration, particularly in the first half when the Gators shot 75% (18 of 24).

Kaminsky acknowledged he sometimes failed to follow the defensive game plan.

“We got away from our rules on a couple possessions where they ran ball screens,” he said. “They ran a lot of ball screens. Sometimes we got confused and they exposed it.

“Sometimes defenders were out of position. Sometimes there was confusion about whether to switch.
“They were just regular defensive plays that we should make.”

Kaminsky, who played a total of 13 minutes and finished with four points and two rebounds, volunteered he is prepared to contribute in any role.

“I’ve just got to bring energy, try to make plays on offense and defense,” he said. “I can’t come in thinking I’m going to be a point guard and fire up a bunch of threes. I can’t be exposed on defense.”

Bruesewitz contributed four points and one rebound against the Gators. He missed all 3 three-point attempts and hit just 2 of 6 shots overall.

"I’m getting my legs back a little bit every day,” he said when asked about his level of conditioning. “I’m trying to get all the way back.

“I’ve only been practicing for a little more than a week…I’m a few week behind these dudes.”

According to Bruesewitz, the biggest adjustment has come on the defensive end.

“You have to be ready to defend for 35 seconds,” he said. “You’ve got to be in an athletic stance for 35 seconds

“Anybody who tells you sitting in a defensive stance for 35 seconds is easy is lying.”

I’m also intrigued to watch freshman Sam Dekker today.

Dekker is still figuring out the defensive concepts but he displayed poise and tenacity in a difficult road venue.

He attacked the lane and didn’t back down from a talented team. Perhaps most important, he noted afterward that even though UW got good three-point shots early in the game, when those shots weren’t falling the Badgers had to fight harder to get into the lane area.

Dekker clearly understands the game and will only get better with every minute he practices and plays in games.
Two more minor observations regarding guards George Marshall and Ben Brust, who are in new roles this season.
Marshall, who redshirted last season, has made 3 of 10 field-goal attempts. He is 2 of 9 from three-point range. Marshall will learn with more experience he can get into the lane to score or pass to an open teammate.
Brust showed against Florida he is willing and able to attack the basket. However, I thought he had a few chances to kick the ball out to an open teammate but instead took a contested shot. Like Marshall, he is bright and will learn when to shoot and when to distribute.

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