Saturday Recap: Wisconsin Head Coach Gary Anderson Discusses His Big Win

After seeing his Wisconsin Badgers dominate Indiana for 554 yards on the ground, Wisconsin head football coach Gary Anderson had this to say at his post-game press conference.

On the big win: Tremendous victory again. We looked for a team victory. We knew it would take all three phases would have to be effective in this game and they were. It was great to see that happen again, from offense, defense, and special teams. There is a lot of things to talk about but that’s what we were asking for, and we got it out of this team, which was great to see. They were prepared well.

On his defense: Defensively, where do you want me to start? Off the charts. They were able to dictate tempo, they got themselves into a position to change calls when needed, their communication was off the charts, they got on and off the field. The pace was a non-factor from Indiana and it was great to see. Trust me, this offense had us all worried. They had me petrified walking into this game, because they are talented on the offense side of the football, and our kids played lights out today, and my hat goes off to them and the defensive staff for the preparation that they did.

On offense: Offensively we ran the ball well, obviously, physical, big plays, got to finish a few more drives. It’s hard to find anything critical when you play like that, but in the end we made the field goals when we had the opportunity, which was great too see. Tremendous victory, bottom line, great victory for the Badgers, and we move onward and upward, but we’re going to enjoy this one.

On his senior leadership: It’s important to this team. I think in spring ball I remember saying we had one bad practice, and fall camp I believe if I remember right, telling the kids I thought we had a bad practice, and a couple of other times I told them, and I told myself, I thought they had a bad practice and I watched the film and I was mistaken. Their consistency throughout the whole year, not just the season, has been impressive.
I believe you prepare for that stuff in the off?season with the team and their mind?set. But the senior leadership is outstanding on this team; it’s not “good”, it’s outstanding, and it continues to be. Their focus, care factor, the way they lock?in in the mornings is special, it really is, and a lot of that has to do with the seniors on this football team.

On deferring to the second half after winning the coin toss: It’s important to this team. I think in spring ball I remember saying we had one bad practice, and fall camp I believe if I remember right, telling the kids I thought we had a bad practice, and a couple of other times I told them, and I told myself, I thought they had a bad practice and I watched the film and I was mistaken. Their consistency throughout the whole year, not just the season, has been impressive.
I believe you prepare for that stuff in the off-season with the team and their mind?set. But the senior leadership is outstanding on this team; it’s not “good”, it’s outstanding, and it continues to be. Their focus, care factor, the way they lock?in in the mornings is special, it really is, and a lot of that has to do with the seniors on this football team.

Betting Preview: Kansas City vs. Denver

It hasn’t happened often this year, but the Denver Broncos aren’t one of the highest totals in the NFL this week. You can thank the Kansas City Chiefs for that. Tonight is the Broncos first of two meetings with a Chiefs defense that has dominated opponents en route to a 9-0 start, the only undefeated team left in the NFL. Denver is favored by eight points, but there are some red flags in this game. Peyton Manning injured both ankles a few weeks back, then aggravated his right ankle sprain in last week’s victory over San Diego. He will play on Sunday despite being limited in practice this week.

Manning hasn’t had to deal with a pass rush like the one employed by the Chiefs. Linebackers Justin Houston (11 sacks) and Tamba Hali (nine) lead a Kansas City defense that is allowing a only 11.3 points per game while ranking first in the NFL in turnover differential at plus 15. Manning is the best a picking apart opposing secondaries, but he and his ankles could be in serious trouble against a blitz-happy Kansas City attack.

Bettors have loved betting the Over in Broncos’ games this season, but this week we have seen a change in direction. Early action was on the under. The game opened 51, the lowest total on a Broncos game since the third week in the season. That number moved quickly down to 49 where it has settled in so far.

The unbeaten Chiefs will have their hands full tonight. Before last week’s bye, Kansas City improved to 6-3 against the spread with a 10-point win at Buffalo, while Denver held on for a 28-20 win at San Diego. Andy Reid had been 13-0 in post-bye games until he lost last year’s Philadelphia collapse. He has been an underdog just once this season, winning 26-13 against the Eagles in week three as three point underdogs. After facing five quarterbacks’s in row who were backups in training camp, the Chiefs D will get a true test against Denver’s offense, averaging 41.2 ppg. Denver has 26 TDs on 56 drives at home this year. No one has scored more than 17 points on Chiefs this year; can their edge rushers get to an immobile QB?

Denver is 4-1 as home favorites this year; its only loss against the spread at home this year was when they laid 27 to Jaguars and won by 16. Kansas City has scored a total of 32 points in last five series games; they’ve split last four visits here, after losing previous eight visits to Denver. Divisional home favorites of 5+ points are 10-6 vs spread so far this season. Eight of nine Denver games went over total; seven of nine Chief games stayed under.

My play: Under 49.

Bucks Head to Indiana as Heavy Underdogs

Milwaukee Bucks +14.5 at Indiana Pacers -14.5 Total: 184

It probably won’t be pretty tonight if you are a Milwaukee Bucks fan. Milwaukee, losers of three straight after a 94-91 loss at Orlando on Wednesday, will finish their road trip up as huge underdogs to the undefeated Indiana Pacers. Milwaukee has been racked by injuries; only eight players dressed against Orlando. They should get Forward Zaza Pachulia back, but Luke Ridnour and Gary Neal are questionable, with Brandon Knight, Caron Butler, Larry Sanders, Ersan Ilyasova and Carlos Delfino already ruled out.

The Bucks are scoring 93.7 points per game so far this season, en route to a 2-5 record overall and a 4-3-0 record against the spread. Milwaukee has given up 98.9 PPG, and have an O/U record of 3-4-0 on the year. On defense, the Bucks have held their opponents to a 46% field goal percentage, 36% from three point land. They are creating 16.3 turnovers per game , and blocking 5 shots per game. Their assist to turnover ratio is 1.19. The Bucks are shooting 44% from the field so far this season, with a 42% success rate from beyond the three point line. Their overall rebound percentage is 46%; its offense rebound rate is 21% with the defense collecting 71% of their opponent’s misses. The Bucks are shooting 81% at the free throw line this year.

The Pacers dominated Memphis on Wednesday, holding the Grizzlies to 41% shooting in a well-balanced game that saw six Indiana players scoring double digits. This might be a bad spot for the Pacers, however. Indiana will face off against key division rivals Chicago Bulls at Chicago on Saturday night.

Indiana is 8-0 on the season, averaging 94.9 points per game while giving up 84.5. They are 6-2-0 against the spread, with their over/under record 1-7-0. When their opponents have the ball, the Pacers are allowing 39% shooting from the field, including 35% from the three point line. Its defensive rebounding rate off those misses is 76%, and the team is averaging 8.5 steals and 4.4 blocks per game so far this season. On offense, the Pacers are shooting 46% from the field, including 39% from deep. Their free throw percentage so far this season is 76%, and they have gotten rebounds off their own misses 25% of the time. Indiana has turned the ball over 16.9 times per game this year, and have seen their shots blocked an average of 8.8 times per game.

Monday Night Football Preview: A Vegas Perspective

It’s not whether your win or lose, but if you cover the spread. At least that’s how many fans look at tonight’s game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Miami Dolphins.

The home team Bucs are winless on the year as head coach Greg Schiano is a dead-man walking to most observers. They jumped to an early 21-0 lead against powerhouse Seattle last week, but still found a way to lose in overtime. They’ve lost all four home games this season by a combined 34 points and have been outscored 80-26 in the second half of their last six games.

Miami has problems of their own. Jonathan Martin left the team, and blew it up in the process with his accusations of hazing, bullying, and overall bad behavior from his fellow teammates. Richie Incognito, one of six players on the team’s leadership council, has been suspended for his actions. The Dolphins started off strong this season, winning their first three games and looking like contenders in the AFC East. They then collapsed, losing their next four games. A stunning overtime win last week against Cincinnati seemed to have blunted the negative momentum. Then the Martin incident blew up.

On the positive side for Miami, the 10 days off from their Thursday night win over Cincinnati can’t hurt. The NFL is investigating the bullying accusations, and teams tend to come together in situations like this. The biggest problem is how Miami can cope with losing two starting offensive linemen. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill has already been sacked a league high 35 time.

The Buccaneers may have found their future quarterback in Mike Glennon. Glennon has thrown five touchdown passes with no interceptions in his last three games. Running back Doug Martin is gone for the season, but rookie replacement Mike James is solid. James ran for 158 yards last week against Seattle.

Miami opened up 3.5 favorites early in the week. Tampa Bay money has dropped that number down to 1.5, with a total of 41.

TRENDS:

* Miami is 0-4 ATS in its last four Monday night games.
* Tampa Bay is 1-5 ATS in their last six games overall.
* Under is 5-1-1 in Miami’s last seven games overall.
* Tampa Bay has gone over in it’s last four games following a loss.

Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery Discusses The Hawkeyes Win over Nebraska Omaha

Following Iowa’s hard-fought win against Nebraska Omaha, Fran McCaffery had this to say about his team:

On Nebraska Omaha consistently beating Iowa’s man to man defense:

It was disappointing because we clearly weren’t as sharp as we were the other night. I think this team is better offensively clearly. But our effectiveness and execution and overall commitment to defending side ball screen action, especially when it’s continuous like that, was not what it needed to be for this team.
So that was disappointing. But it was better later, substantially better.

On Iowa’s failure to get rebounds and turnovers

while it was disappointing that it happened, I felt really good about our toughness to overcome it because, when it keeps happening, you feel like, okay, this just isn’t our day.
When you have a great defensive possession and they bank a three, great defensive possession, they hit a 40 footer, another great defensive possession, and they bank in another three with a hand in the face, and you say, wow. Then we get a great defensive stop, and the ball rolls, and they get it, and they lay it in.
Those kinds of plays really wear on you over the course of a game. So, you know, like I said, I’m upset that it happened, but at the same time, we showed a lot of courage to come back and get this win. That team was ready.

On Iowa’s ability to get to the line

We got to the free throw line. We’re in the double bonus, which was good. We end up going 38 for 49, but you’re right.
Even though I had two guards and three bigs, I had my best ball handling bigs out there.

I’d love to get that every game. I don’t know if we can count on that every game. I do think it’s going to be a point of emphasis where we can drive and throw it inside. It’s got to be a combination. It’s not all drives, it’s not all post feeds, it’s a combination of both.

On the overall struggles of the team

We talk about preseason hype and the professionalism with which we have to attack that. Clearly, it was evident on Friday night.
It’s easy to say that it wasn’t evident today, but our opponent was ready to play, and they played an incredibly good game, and I want to make sure they’re recognized for that.
We can sit there and talk about what we should have or could have done. They were making the shots and getting the rebounds and making the loose balls, and they were giving us trouble. So it’s all part of the journey.
You know, the key is, like I said last year after the Gardner Webb game, two years ago, three years ago, we lose this game. We lost to Campbell. We lost to South Dakota State. I’m not saying we’re going to win every game like this, but we did what we had to do to win this game. It’s on to the next.

Kentucky Rolls: Calipari’s Post Game Press Conference

The Kentucky Wildcats, with seven possible first round draft picks on the roster, are 4-1 favorites to win the NCAA Championship this season. Kentucky rolled through its last exhibition game on Monday, beating Montevallo 95-72. Below is a transcript of John Calipari’s post game press conference.

Q. Are you any happier with how your kids ran?

COACH CALIPARI: We beat them up pretty good this weekend. They had a lot of practice this weekend, and so I got to their legs a little bit. But that’s fine. I thought we played better than we did last game, and that’s all I’m asking. We’re a ways away now, folks. But I’m learning about them every time they play, and Montevallo, they came out, greatest thing was there were some juniors and seniors, and the kids balled. They weren’t afraid. They were physical. They banged, they were not backing down.
You know, some things that I liked: Aaron, who again, I had to take him out because he jogged the floor, James did a couple times, but he goes seven assists, no turnovers. And he’s really, you know, not supposed to be our primary point guard. Dakari Johnson plays 15 minutes, goes nine points and five rebounds. And then Julius, you know, obviously it’s a game, you see I’m teaching them how to play out on the floor, but when the game is on the line, where is he going? Go get that ball next to that basket and get us something good.
I thought Willie came out in the second half and blocked shots, which he didn’t in the first half. As a matter of fact I took him out because a guy drove and he stood on the weak side.
But again, we’ve made strides. We’re better. We have five guys in double figures and another have eight and another have nine. But the one thing I’ll tell everybody: We’re still not a good team offensively or defensively yet. We just, when I say team, one guy is breaking down, two guys are breaking down. One guy forgets where to go. One guy holds the ball too long. Instead of pass, pass, cut, cut, drive, it’s pass, try to drive. And again, I mean, the most anybody shot were 13 balls, so it’s not like guys are being selfish. It’s just that you’ve got to play more for your team than yourself, and we’re getting closer, but we’re, this was a good game for us. I’m glad we played this team, and I’m glad they played the way they played.

Q. You tweeted today you wanted to get Aaron back to his normal position. How much of that was the way he played tonight?
COACH CALIPARI: Probably. You know, it’s a good point. So you watched the game? That’s why I tried to put Jarrod at point. I wanted to see him, because the reality is going to be he’s going to play some point, probably 10, 12 minutes a game Aaron will play, but we just have to see. Hopefully today being off and tomorrow being off, Andrew can come back Wednesday and we can start. But if he can’t, he’ll be out until he’s ready to go.

Q. What happened at the beginning of the first half? Talk about Willie getting sort of pissed off because he’s not doing well and maybe Dakari is?

COACH CALIPARI: No, I think the second half, we just told him, come on, you had two rebounds at halftime. And again, he only had four, but he fought and he did some things. You know, we’re a big team. We’re big, and there were some plays that I thought we should make, let me say this: I thought Alex played as well as I’ve seen him play. He went after balls. But again, I could go back and tell you there were five possessions that he gave up on. But that used to be 15. So now he’s going after balls, he’s fighting, and I was happy to see him play the way he played, too.

Q. What can you say about some of the rotations you had tonight, some of the lineups? What things did you like?
COACH CALIPARI: Well, again, I mean, the hard thing is without Andrew, you can’t, it’s like, okay, we’re playing without our quarterback. Now, the good news is his backup looks just like him. But he’s not him.
And so I wanted Jarrod to start tonight and play him at the position he’s going to feel more comfortable with. You know, Marcus Lee didn’t get the minutes. I wanted to get him some more minutes. But it’s a tough deal right now, and even Dakari, because Dakari deserves to play, and I’ll tell you, he gives you a great post presence. He turned it over a few times, Julius turned it over three times, and Jarrod three times. That’s six. 16 turnovers is too many, and a lot of them unforced, just like, four of them were lob passes that hit the shot clock, like what in the world?

Q. How do you think on a daily basis, how is Julius’s effort and the kind of things you see game in and game out? Is he just a natural like that?
COACH CALIPARI: The thing I asked the kids this week, I had individual meetings, and I said, have you ever been coached like this, and they all said the same thing: No. I said, well, I know I’m raising the bar, but tell me what you mean. He says, you hold us all accountable on every possession, and I’ve never been coached that way. So what these kids do is they coast on a possession, maybe they don’t run the floor, maybe they don’t make a hard cut, and I’m stopping it.

There’s a reason for that, too. And the same with the twins and the same with James Young. I mean, we’ve raised the bar. The biggest thing I can tell you is we’ve got a long way to go, but we’ve made strides. We’re not a good team right now. We’ve got a nice collection of guys, but we’re not a good team.
I put on the board, our execution on defense and offense will be about 30 percent right now. 70 percent of the time we’re wrong, so just talk your way through it and scramble, cover for each other, be a good teammate. That’s where we’re lacking right there. I don’t mind that we’re wrong a lot, it’s that we can do the other stuff.

Q. It didn’t look like you posted guys up intentionally a lot tonight.
COACH CALIPARI: Well, if you look at our team, most of the teams I’ve had, I haven’t been able to just say, okay, we’re going to post a James Young, who’s 6’7″, against a 6’3″ guy. We’re going to post Julius. We’re going to post Dakari. We’re able to do that because we have some guys. Our point guard is 6’6″. He’s going against a six?footer, we’ll post him.
Now, you may post to shoot a three. In other words, post them, they come out down and help, and all of a sudden it’s pass, pass, pass, and a guy gets a wide open shot for a drive from that.
But Julius was a beast. Now, he got 11 rebounds. I thought he should have had 20. There were four or five balls, easy six balls, he should have gotten, and he didn’t. I got on Alex a little bit on a couple of those, because again, he had four, and he played 17 minutes, but he could have had eight.

Q. Seems like all that is about getting comfortable playing on the perimeter.
COACH CALIPARI: Well, I don’t like the spin because I think people are going to play the spin. I’d rather him just go to his right hand and shoot it. If you miss it, we’ll tip dunk it. You know what I mean; get to your right hand. Like you’re saying, so what’s everybody say? When he drives right, everybody get in the lane because he’s going to spin and he’ll run you over. They put it on the scouting report. We’ve got to get James Young going right more. They jumped on his left hand a little bit and he settled for some jumpers.
Like I said, all in all, we made strides. They have tomorrow off. We come back Wednesday, Thursday, we play Friday, we have a practice on Saturday, we play Sunday, travel Monday, play Tuesday. So basically it’s on. And whether we’re ready or not, and we’re not, the bus is taking us to the games and the plane, and we’ve got to play games. So we’re going to have to learn as we go.