This isn't all just a matter of Ryan Evans inexplicably being good at everything, but how people decide who wins at basketball. - Marilyn Indahl-USA TODAY Sports
You know the offense has been problematic. You know Ryan Evans has been the face where most of the scorn has been directed to. But what if I told you the slings and arrows of this outrageous offense shouldn't just fall on his shoulders?
The Badgers have a Ted Mosby problem.
What's a Ted Mosby problem? Well, it comes from the titular storyteller of "How I Met Your Mother," a "Friends" clone that was a pretty entertaining show that fell off the rails in the later seasons. A part of which is the fact that it's hard to keep showing a main character break up with someone without having him lose a little bit of what made the Season One version of him so interesting. But he's still the centerpiece. He's still the protagonist.
Come hell or high water? Here it is. And we have to deal with him.
If you followed the game thread last night, you noticed me make the mention of who exactly our Ted Mosby was. The photo should tell you everything. They say that if your true shooting percentage is 50 percent or better, you're a decent shooter.
Ryan Evans is at 40.4 percent. Ryan Evans has taken the most shots on offense.
Now, I know. I know. Those hairs on the back of your neck are standing up. Your blood's starting to boil.You're looking to flip a table and shout to the heavens. "Why! You say? WHY MENTION THAT NAME AROUND THESE PARTS?"
Because I was wrong.
You see, Ryan Evans is like Robin Scherbatsky, originally written with a broad base of skills as someone who's pretty awesome. And while there has been some seasonal decay, there's still a lot to like. Evans is arguably our best rebounder. He's good for two big plays a game on defense as well. And he's the best at getting to the line...
Oops. Never mind that last part.
But here's the thing. Ryan Evans has been scuffling. It's been bad. But he's not the only Mosby. I mean, let's look at the shot distribution since our seasonal arc changed after beating Indiana.
|PLAYER||FIELD GOAL ATTEMPTS|
Pretty balanced, right? Most of Bruiser's shots get sucked up through Dekker, but the distribution's spread mostly through these six. So who's been getting slacked on the scorn? I'll give you two hints. The Freshman's been as good as advertised, and Ben Brust's leading the team in field goal percentage since the Indiana game at 46.1 percent.
Okay, we can also eliminate Bruesewitz. Why? It's never been incumbent upon him to be anything but the ginger energy guy. So, now that I've deducted those who aren't also the problem -- who's been hurting the offense just as much as Evans?
Berggren wasn't put on Matt Norlander's list of the best 50 big men in the preseason. Phil, who I'll happily admit does know more hoops than I do, banged the drum for him being a player to watch in his senior season. And going into the Indiana game? He was doing great things. 13.4 points, 6.3 rebounds and just under 2.1 blocks per game.
Then, Berggren shot 29 for his next 83. 6-for-29 from three, and an uncharacteristic 61.5 percent from the line. He's given a little more effort on the glass, bumping his rebounding average close to seven per game, but when your big man's draining what ostensibly should be the bunnies at a recent rate of 42.6 percent, and shooting just under 35 percent overall?
You've got someone that's causing a problem for the success of the team. But Berggren's not alone. There's still one more piece of the struggle that's yet to be introduced. Some would say that it's the most important piece of the puzzle, too.
To look at defensive rating, you need to understand that it's like golf. 100 is par. The lower you get, the better. Florida has two guys on the leaderboard. They're both under 80. George Marshall is at a 98.4. In and of itself, that's average. But of the Badgers' eight-man rotation? It's last.
But it's also about the only reason to explain why Jackson's still the lead pipe starter running the point. Because offensively? Last night was the most public display of the struggles that Trae's been going through. 3-of-14 from the field, 1-of-6 from three.
And here's the thing about all that. Since the Indiana game, Evans is shooting 34.4 percent from the field. Jackson? 32 percent. And like Berggren, he's shooting 8-for-27 from three. In fact, offensive rating is like defensive rating; 100 is par, and you're looking to shoot over par. Evans has not been great (offensive rating of 91). Jackson's actually been worse (86.8).
He seems to have given back the gains he made in the previous month. He's taken more shots in recent games, and when Jackson shoots more? The team has been forced to make more narrow escapes to win.
Yeah, Evans has been struggling. His free throw shooting's the one thing that we feel like we can control as fans, so his yips are frustrating. But here's the thing. On the floor? He's not doing things he can't do.
The Badgers have shot 270 times from three in conference play. Evans has shot only seven.
If he was truly the one singular problem, the one singular Mosby? He wouldn't be trying to do the things that he clearly can't do. At this point, the problems of the offense aren't just on him anymore.
In fact, the Badgers are all so much Ted Mosby.