Varsity - The Official Digital Magazine of Wisconsin Athletics

Varsity - March 15, 2012

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Gard builds Badgers' book on the 'Griz' LUCAS AT LARGE MIKE LUCAS • UWBADGERS.COM T wo seasons ago, it was Wofford out of the South- ern Conference. Last season, it was Belmont out of the Atlantic Sun. This season, it's Montana out of the Big Sky. Don't be fooled by the league labels. Who had ever heard of the Colonial Athletic Association before George Mason and VCU put the CAA on the radar? So, what do Wofford, Belmont and Montana have in common beyond each being a No. 13 seed in the bracket opposite No. 4 Wisconsin in the NCAA basket- ball tournament? "Any time you see teams com- ing from those type conferences, they're usually experienced teams that have juniors and seniors,'' said UW associate head coach Greg Gard. "Those are obviously very dangerous teams because they've played in a lot of different ven- ues and they're really not going to be in awe of anybody.'' Especially, it would seem, in March when the underdog is cel- ebrated — though the percent- ages, in this case, favor the No. 4 seed over a 13 by a margin of 85-23 (.787). Tell that, though, to Michigan State (1995) and North Carolina (1999), which both lost as No. 4 seeds to No. 13-seeded Weber State, of the Big Sky. Per usual, Gard has been in charge of putting together the scouting report for Wisconsin's 10 » VARSITY MARCH 15, 2012 opening NCAA tourney game. Under Bo Ryan, the Badgers are 9-1 in these games. Ryan has credited Gard for his thorough- ness in preparing the players for their opponent. How many Montana games will Gard break down? "As much as time will allow,'' he said. "Between 10 or 15; somewhere in there. You look at the most recent games and work your way back.'' Throughout the fact-finding process, he will develop a pic- ture of the team's personality and personnel. Some things about Montana will jump out. "Their guard play is pretty good,'' Gard said of Kareem Ja- mar and Will Cherry. "They play like Freddie played; they attack, they can do different things, they can hit shots.'' Freddie is Freddie Owens, the former Badger and current Griz assistant. Gard and Owens will text often during the season. But there has been a temporary moratorium. "This is the one week of the year that I don't get a text from him,'' Gard said. "We've got each other on lock down. It's not that I wouldn't talk to him. But he's busy. So am I.'' One of Montana's strengths has been the ability of their "bigs'' to step outside of the paint and hit jumpers. Gard has been particularly impressed with 7-footer Derek Selvig. "He just has a great feel for the game,'' he said. "He has a presence on the court. He's very comfortable on the perimeter. He will use a shot fake and put it on the floor." Selvig doesn't compare physi- cally to a Draymont Green or Christian Watford. "He's a big- ger John Shurna,'' Gard said. "That type of player.'' While he can't do the things with the ball that Shurna can, he has the same type of instincts, according to Gard, which is quite a testament to Selvig "As a team, they don't get rattled,'' Gard said. "If they need to slow down the pace, they'll do it. If they need to speed it up, they'll do it.'' Gard will provide the UW players with tools and tenden- cies. "But we try not to over-ana- lyze,'' he said. "You can drown yourself with information trying to do too much. It's still five-on- five. Nobody is going to re-in- vent the game.'' On the team flight from Madison to Albuquerque, Grad watched video of Mon- tana. When he got to the hotel, he went up to his room and watched more clips of the Griz. The information was then processed and shared with the players at practice. "You can pick up tendencies,'' he said, "but it's still more about what we do.''

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