January 8, 2010

Moore discusses loss at MSU

MADISON - When looking through the box score of Wisconsin's first conference loss at Michigan State, there are a number of statistics that stand out. As the Badgers returned to practice Thursday to right those wrongs, BadgerBlitz.com caught up with one of the assistant coaches to discuss the shortfalls from Wednesday night.

The following is a question and answer with Howard Moore:

When I was looking through the box score, one of the things that jumped out at me was the number of 3-point shots the team took. Twenty-three 3-point shots is too many, isn't it?

Moore: It is. The other stat that was glaring was that they got to shoot 30 free throws. I think we shot 12. That's a disparaging stat, too. Looking at how we play and our history, we've always been known for making more free throws than our opponents attempt. That's just an indication of what we didn't do.

We didn't attack the rim and we didn't post up or touch the post as much as we should have. They did that and that's why they got the results they got. We can turn that around because we know what we are and what we're predicated on. That's touching the post and making sure we put pressure on the rim. If we can get that squared away I think we'll be okay.

Is that just getting caught up in their style of defense, their pressure?

Moore: Well we've seen it before and we've had success against it before as well. We kind of got away from it just from the flow of the game. Our guys thought that they had open looks. Yeah, if you make a couple of those shots maybe it's a different game. But, if we touch the post and then get it out and get shots, then it's a better situation for us.

I would say that's the most hostile environment you guys have been at this season. Does that come to be expected when you play that first hostile (environment), I mean, you played at Green Bay, but it was kind of a slow shooting night.

Moore: Yeah, I don't think the crowd had anything to do with it. We've been in hostile environments for many games and many occasions. Our guys have never been affected by that. Obviously Michigan State did a good job of taking away some of the things that we do, but we've got counters to things and we didn't take advantage of some of the counters and making sure that we were more aggressive, especially on the boards.

Another thing was being out-rebounded 41-27. Those are opportunities we didn't get as well. You know, you've got to look at all those things and say if we just get a couple of those things turned around, the result could be different. We'll get another opportunity down the stretch.

Just watching Mike Bruesewitz getting in there last night, I think he got five rebounds in four minutes. Is he coming along?

Moore: Yeah, he's coming. Like Rob Wilson, Jared Berggren and everyone else, they're getting their time and they're learning. When the matchups are right and coach feels that they're ready to get in and contribute, I think those times will come up and present themselves.

But they've got to make the most of those opportunities. I think Brew (Bruesewitz) did a good job for the stretches he was in. Like you said, in a limited amount of time going in and grabbing five rebounds, those guys that have played more time that didn't get that many. We've got to take advantage of the minutes that we get and we've got to maximize those opportunities and help the team in a lot of different ways.

Last night obviously Jon Leuer got it going there in the second half. I don't remember how many he scored in a row, but does the team rely on somebody who's got the hand too much? Do you get that sense at all?

Moore: No, because our offense is predicated on sharing the ball and making sure we're hitting the extra man and making the extra pass and hitting the open guy. For the most part, I think we do that. Jon got into the stretch where he felt he got into a matchup that he could exploit and he did a good job with that.

But then there were times when he shut that off and now you've got to make other guys commit and be ready to catch and shoot or take it on a drive or whatever. We didn't get that opportunity. So hopefully as guys like Jon get going and get into those types of zones, other guys can feed off of it and get other opportunities to score as well.

I'm kind of jumping around here, but Keaton Nankivil against Penn State had 14 rebounds. Last night he was kind of under the radar with rebounds. Is consistently being aggressive something you guys are trying to get out of him?

Moore: Absolutely and coach is doing a great job of using film to illustrate times when he should be able to get some opportunities off the glass and times (where) you've got to pursue it. If you're not going, you're not going to get it. So you've got to keep pursuing the ball.

You've got to keep your hands up and keep them ready. Hopefully he'll be able to snag a few of those. He'll have an opportunity Saturday. It's another good, aggressive rebounding team. He can get in there, get in the mix and hopefully he can come out like he did against Penn State.

Can you teach aggressiveness or is that something that somebody needs to kind of have?

Moore: No, you've got to have it. I mean, you can point out times when guys are being passive or not being as aggressive, but for the most part you've got to have that in you.

Do you think Keaton has that in him?

Moore: Absolutely. Yeah, no, he does and he's shown it. It's just a matter of letting it be shown more and and more often and being consistent with it.

Obviously you guys get Purdue. There's not let up, and I guess you could say that with any Big Ten team coming in. But is it kind of a chance to right the wrongs against another real quality opponent?

Moore: Definitely, it's a very quality opponent coming in here. We can't allow them to come in and take what they want. We've got to take care of our responsibilities and take care of home court and our responsibilities. What a better way to redeem yourself than a great win against a very quality opponent?

Obviously Purdue is going to bring a big challenge and hopefully we'll be ready for that challenge.

Purdue is kind of an interesting team. They've been together for what seems like eight years. So they've played together. You don't see that too much in college basketball anymore where the core of a team sticks together like that. What kind of advantage does that bring? And the same thing can be said about this team.

Moore: Sure. It's a great advantage for them. They've got that continuity and that chemistry is there. Obviously they feed off of one another and know each other's tendencies and other things that they like to do. (They know) sweet spots on the floor and what they like to get done and get accomplished on both ends.

That's what makes them tough. They're super confident right now. So you've got to take away that confidence and get them out of that rhythm. Hopefully we can disrupt some of the things that they do well.


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