Milwaukee, WI – The ending of the Bradley at Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) game showed the strengths and weaknesses of both teams. The game was tied at 60-60 with 4:26 left when UMW’s Jordan Aaron hit two three-pointers. Steve McWhorter then made a layup to help close the game on a 13-7 run to win the game 73-67 for UWM. This was UWM’s ninth win of the year which is one more than they had all of last year. The additions of Matt Tiby and McWhorter have added depth and stabilize the point guard and power forward positions. In the Horizon League, UWM will be a tougher opponent to face than last year because they have good floor spacing with three to four three-point shooters. Plus, UWM has good ball handlers to create open shots for shooters or they can finish at the rim.
Bradley returns seven players after a 7-11 season in the Missouri Valley Conference. Even with Creighton leaving the conference for the Big East, Bradley might be looking at another under .500 conference season. The Braves need to find a way to create easier shots, as shown in this game as they had only five assists and only made two three-point shots. Without a true point guard and pure shooter, they are going to rely on offensive rebounds and pick and roll offense to score. Also, Bradley allowed UWM to shoot 48.9% from the field and 36% on three-pointers. They need to lower these percentages and utilize their strong rebounding to fast break more often.
The value of floor spacing was demonstrated during the end of the game by UWM. They were able to make shots while Bradley struggled to close the game out. UWM will definitely improve on their 3-13 Horizon League record of last year. Bradley is looking at another season where they will be around seven wins in the Missouri Valley.
Steven Siewert is a correspondent and scout for NetScouts Basketball.