Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports
Let's go back to the George Marshall v. Traevon Jackson debate, shall we?
About a month ago, Phil broke down the starting point guard debate and concluded that Traevon Jackson v. George Marshall boiled down to defense. Jackson was clearly the better defender -- in terms of rebounds, steals and blocked shots -- on top of a better assist rate and ability to get to the free throw line. All of that apparently made up for the fact that Marshall had been a vastly better shooter with a lower turnover rate in the eyes of Bo Ryan.
So what has changed in the seven games since Phil's piece?
Not much, apparently. Shooting and turnovers still strongly favor Marshall, while rebounding and steals strongly favor Jackson. Marshall has improved in two key areas coming off the bench in the last seven games, however. His ability to get to the free throw line has improved immensely. After going to the line just four times in his first 12 games, he has attempted 10 free throws in his last seven, including seven total between Iowa and Michigan State. Marshall's assist rate is now a hair better than Jackson's, as well.
It's possible that Marshall simply performs better off the bench, or perhaps can't handle the minutes. Maybe Jackson is that much better of a defender, though his job on Keith Appling (19 points, six rebounds, two made and-1 free throws off of Jackson fouls) makes me question whether the gulf is really that large. To me, Marshall look like the better point guard on paper, and perhaps just the thing to get Wisconsin out of its shooting funk starting with Minnesota this Saturday.
Tom Oates twists the knife after the MSU loss
And here is the key to the Spartans' success: They're doing many of the things the Badgers do in terms of playing defense, competing hard and working together, but they're doing them just a wee bit better. In many ways, they are a mirror image of the Badgers, only with more good athletes.
More misery: The Only Colors is all happy and stuff ... the nerve!
Hoegher is going from the bottom up for his 2012 B1G season reviews. Great read. Wisconsin is in the next installation, FYI.
Wrapping up: The All-Bo Ryan squad according to ESPN's Jason King apparently looks like this:
PG: Jordan Taylor -- Averaged 18.1 points and 4.7 assists as a junior in 2010-11
SG: Devin Harris -- 2nd team All-American in 2003-04; No. 5 overall pick in NBA draft
SF: Alando Tucker -- First-team All-American and Big Ten Player of the Year in 2006-07
PF: Jon Leuer -- Efficient post player averaged 18.3 points, 7.2 rebounds in 2010-11
C: Mike Wilkinson -- Became the second Badger to record 1,500 points and 800 boards
PG: Trevon Hughes -- Averaged double figures three straight years from 2007-10
SG: Kirk Penney -- Played in 2000 Final Four and member of All-Big Ten team in 2002 and '03
PF: Marcus Landry -- Averaged 10.8 points, 5.4 rebounds for 2008 Big Ten champions
No Butch? Discuss.