Thursday, April 16, 2015

Season Finale Mailbag

Well. The 2014-2015 Badger football and hoops seasons sure ended quickly. Now we're just left sweating through summer, patiently awaiting a date with Alabama in Dallas. Oh fuck, that's not good. But at least we still have STAVE. Can't wait for #Sunshine to silence the haters once and for all this fall.

Now, your questions. And I'm going to make this easy for you since this will most likely be really long - I'll group questions together by topic. So if you're still smarting from the Duke game and don't want to read anything about it, go ahead and skip on down. Oh yeah almost forgot, fuck Duke your fans are lame and I never share news stories on Facebook but if Coach K got arrested for running a prostitution ring in his spare time I would share the shit out of that story on Facebook.


***

#SPORTZ

Rachel S:
I understand that as a die hard Badger, I am 100% biased in judging that game. I understand as a sports fan that no game comes down to one call, and we had a lead (and momentum) that we shouldn't have given up, especially since Okafor was on the bench in foul trouble. HOWEVER, there were two calls at the end of the game that were UNDENIABLY called wrong (and in Duke's favor) that lead to points by Duke that iced it for them. What do we do about the officiating moving forward? Their excuse that they "didn't see the angle we did" is no consolation - in fact, it's maddening. It just felt like we were supposed to win, didn't it? UNC. Arizona. Kentucky. I can appreciate how fun this team was to watch - on and off the court. But I'm having a really hard time making peace with the fact that we can make a very real argument that this game was taken out of our hands because of disgusting reffing, and I'm not sure how to make peace with that. Not with this team. Not this year. Help me make peace with losing this way. How many questions/requests is that?
Bruce G:

Tired? Ran out of gas? Forget the officiating. Had we done our job as we have in the past we would have won by 15. I'm going with Post-Kentucky Stress Syndrome. Thanks for walking us through a great year of Badger bball.
Bruce is pretty spot on here. Blaming the officials is a bad look for ANYONE. It's just not how you wanna go down. And to be honest, while there were a few rough calls, we still woulda needed some SERIOUS magic to make that comeback. I refuse to watch highlights or check box scores so I'm going off drunken recall, but I think all the controversy happened after Duke made their run and crushed our souls.

Do you want to know why we lost? We lost because we stopped playing our game. Right when the tournament began, all I could think was that we were the Americans and Kentucky was the Russians and the Miracle on Ice was about to have a sequel. It all lined up so well: Kentucky a well-oiled machine of professionals stuck playing against amateurs (ignore all our NBA talent). Biggest game in the entire tournament just being a semifinal. And after the emotionally draining victory over the anonymously evil Kentuckussians, we still had Dukeland to conquer for the gold. IT ALL MADE SO MUCH SENSE.

Every thing about this team made perfect sense. It was all aligned. But in the end, the boys just came up about 13 minutes shorts. Think about that. They played over 1,600 minutes of hoops this year and they were 13 minutes away from walking off the court as National Champions. That's insane.

I don't blame fatigue, or emotional exhaustion, or PKSS. I simply attribute the loss to playing a top 4 team that figured out how to play defense, and that defense made us uncomfortable enough to get out of our offensive rhythm. It's unfortunate as hell, and I'll never forget it.


Seth M:
What is the potential ceiling for next years badger basketball team...and how bad could they be?
The ceiling for any Bo Ryan team is a Final Four appearance. I love how people are down on next year's team. Yeah, I get we're losing arguably the greatest player in UW history, and Dekker, AND a multi-year starting point guard. But we return two sophomores that will battle for first team recognition in the conference. Nigel might even warrant some inclusion on preseason All-American lists. Look at how far his game expanded after one year under Bo's tutelage. Now, go give him ANOTHER offseason to improve his game. That's scary.

Of course, the other super-soph returning is Koenig. You remember how we talked about Trae going down being a mixed bag because it would give Koenig valuable development time in live game action? That has already started paying off, but next year it's going to explode. I think the world is going to be blown away with what that kid will do the next two years.

Two studs and solid role players with a dash of Bo Ryan is a recipe for another top 4 finish in the conference and a chance to make a run in March. Why do people expect anything else? This is how we do.

PS - If you want a name to look out for next year, it's definitely Ethan Happ. Happ redshirted this year (I can't imagine how difficult a decision that was knowing how good this team was going to be) and has been battling Frank/Sam/Nigel in practice every single day. Reports are glowing, but the George Marshall Effect may apply here. Either way, playing time is wide open, and I'll give the kid who's spent a year in the program the benefit of the doubt over any of the true freshmen coming in.


Thursday, April 2, 2015

NCAA Tournament Final Four

Having too much fun, Charlie Murphy. Having way too much fun.

That's about all I can say about this team and what they've been doing all season. The UNC game was a blast - Will's was bumpin', UNC gave us their best shot, and we still rolled out of there on top.

The Arizona game was something truly fantastic. I watched it at a tiny Badger bar in San Francisco and you could not move in there. Just a little pocket of Badger freaks surrounded in all directions by hipsters and venture capitalists. Didn't stop us from guzzling Miller Lites and freaking out after every Dekker bomb. That last one? The dagger?



Brought me so much joy. Like a lot of people, I've had sky high expectations for Dekker since he committed. There have been some ups and downs, and he's had the shortest Bo leash I've ever seen, but it all pays off with performances like this. The kid has been CRUSHING it in the tournament. Anytime Frank drops 29 and 6 and isn't the best player on the floor is a good time to be alive.

With that win, the matchup the world has been waiting for finally arrives: Wisconsin vs. Kentucky. Revenge vs. The Streak (I'm making these names up). Can UW avenge last year's crushing defeat? Will Kentucky go 40-0? I think you know what I'm rooting for, but how about the entire country?


I love you, Minnesota. Don't ever change.

Now. Let's go beat Kentucky:



Thursday, March 26, 2015

NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 & Elite 8

What a perfect example of why I love this team so much. There's not a person out there that would think Oregon is better than UW. The moms of the players on the team know it. The coach's daughter knows it. That stupid, spoiled duck knows it.

But that didn't stop Oregon from taking UW down to the wire. Wisconsin really played a pretty bad game, and Oregon did all they could to make it interesting. Of course, this Wisconsin team can play a pretty bad game and still punch their ticket to the Sweet 16. Because they're just that fucking good.

Now, however, it's time for the shit to get real. No more cupcakes. No more outclassed opponents. There exists a possibility that UW would have to beat UNC/Arizona/Kentucky/Duke to win a National Championship *knock knock*. That is INSANE. That's like the Mt. Rushmore of college basketball right there (whatever UCLA). And if you wanna be the best, you gotta beat the best.

So let's do this thing. Let's go beat them all. It starts with UNC Thursday night.

BUT WHATEVER DO WE KNOW ABOUT UNC?


  • Location? Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
  • Colors? Carolina Blue and White. Note the distinct lack of teal. We in the big boy leagues now.
  • They have a bullshit tree:
Also located in McCorkle Place is the Davie Poplar tree under which the university's founder, William Richardson Davie, supposedly selected the location for the university. The legend of the Davie Poplar says that if the tree falls, so will UNC. Because of the tree's questionable health from damage caused by severe weather such as Hurricane Fran in 1996, the university has planted two genetic clones nearby called Davie Poplar Jr. and Davie Poplar III.
That is GARBAGE. If the school falls when the Davie Poplar tree falls, that's IT. You don't get to do bullshit witchcraft cloning science to cover your asses. Whoever started that legend didn't live before hurricanes and thunderstorms were invented. Maybe they should've not been idiots and tied the existence of their university to the life of something that dies.

And whoa hey apparently I have no idea how cloning was. I thought cloning just like made an exact replica of the thing you cloned. Shouldn't that just make a new shitty tree on the verge of dying? When they cloned that sheep, how did that work? When we get to human cloning, can you just make a fetus that turns out to be EXACTLY the same as the clone source material? Cloning is fucking BANANAS. I've seen The Prestige, I know exactly what happens when we start cloning. I want nothing to do with that.

In summary, UNC employs witchcraft to make devil tree clones so their school doesn't die. Why don't they clone Sean May and Michael Jordan and just end this charade?
  • Is there spooky grass in Chapel Hill? There's not NOT spooky grass in Chapel Hill:
The student members of the university's Dialectic and Philanthropic Societies are not allowed to walk on the grass of McCorkle Place out of respect for the unknown resting place of Joseph Caldwell, the university's first president.
Mentally I think you learn to obey that rule by playing the LAVA GAME. Grass of McCorkle Place is straight lava, you step on it you burn your leg off. Bang, no one ever touches the grass. In other news, McCorkle is a name I can get behind. Fantastic name. McCorkle McGee should be the name of their mascot.


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

NCAA Tournament 1st & 2nd Rounds



DO YOU FEEL ALIVE I feel alive. FULL OF VIGOR AND EXCITEMENT AND DREAMS. That Kentucky loss still tastes real bad in my mouth like the time I ate an oyster. YUCK. But this is the year we cleanse our souls of that disappointment. This is the year we show the world that Bo Ryan is literally the best coach in the history of coachery. And before I go flying off the reservation with hyperbole and nonsense, I'm going to slow down a bit.

What a Big Ten Tournament that was, right? Kinda fun how all three games were so similar: not the strongest starts, opponent makes some moves early, some clowns start wondering R WE GUNNA LOSE TO MICHIGAN/PURDUE/MSU?? And then this team reminds you exactly why all the hyperbole in the world is somewhat acceptable. They're just that good.

Even down 11 with 8 minutes to go against a Tom Izzo-coached team in March, I wasn't ready to doubt them. Sure, it wasn't an ideal spot to be in... but these kids are too good to write off. So when people are tweeting 'game over', I'm sipping my beer and waiting for the next Koenig splash.

Do me a favor: don't give up on this team. Even when it looks like we're totally cooked and it's just not our night, don't give up on them. I refuse to believe that this team is destined for anything short of greatness. You should feel the same. When all else fails, believe in the #SpiritAnimals:


It all starts Friday night with a first round date with the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers.



Thursday, March 12, 2015

Big Ten Tournament

That dismantling of Ohio State was something truly spectacular to behold. To go into a conference rival's house on their Senior Day and straight up embarrass them a moment that should be cherished. Hold on to that shit, store it away, and bring it out the next time you're sad.

It's not like we did that to Northwestern or Nebraska. That was OSU. That was a top-25 team with a potential first team All-American stud. That's a team that some people will put in their Final Four. And we walked in, took a look around, and then beat the crap out of them like that was the damn National Championship.

And that's why (amongst a million other reasons) I'm sky-high on my hopes for this team as we enter #TournamentTime. Bo is the master of instilling that mentality. He'll straight up tell his boys to play like it's the National Championship every game. All out, nonstop, max effort for 40 minutes every time you step on the court. And THAT is the mentality needed to win a championship.

But of course, you need more that just that mentality. You need the talent to along with it. And you need a little luck. We know the talent is in place - we literally have the best player on the floor going into every single game this year. He's surrounded by studs. And Trae could be ready to rejoin the fold come NCAA time, giving us some MUCH needed depth. The only remaining doubt in my mind is luck. Will we catch those handful of breaks that EVERY champion needs on their path to glory? Will the shot rattle home when we need it? Will that key questionable call go our way? These things are often overlooked when evaluating postseason success. They'll be key factors in determining how bananas the next month is going to be for the Wisconsin basketball program.

#LETSgo!



CHICAGO BADGERS: If Bucky takes care of business on Friday, we're shaping up for a noon tip on Saturday. Join me in the #WearRed approach to St. Patrick's Day and let's get weird at Will's. Green is a fucking heinous color and we all know it. That one shirt you've been day drinking in the last 10 years can use a year off.



WHO/WHERE/WHEN



Lots to chew on with 14 teams now. DOUBLE BYE CITY.



Thursday, March 5, 2015

at #23 Ohio State

Where does the time go? TWO regular season games left? 2 weeks until the NCAA Tournament is underway? How is this possible? Didn't this beautiful, historic season JUST get underway, like, 10 minutes ago? I suppose the age-old saying applies here: time flies when you're having fun. And if #WinningIsFun, and we've been doing a lot of winning...


TRANSITIVE PROPERTY APPLIES. It's pretty nuts that we haven't won a Big Ten Championship in like 7 years. But we all knew this team was going to be the team to take care of business. It was never really in doubt, even after Maryland closed the gap a bit.

Two trophies down. Two to go. Plenty of work to be done, and the real fun is just around the corner. Nothing else needs to be said:





CHICAGO BADGERS: Looking forward to gathering the troops at Will's once the BTT starts. And if you're thinking of watching the NCAA games anywhere else you're a damn fool. Believe that.



WHO/WHERE/WHEN

TV: CBS



Thursday, February 26, 2015

Michigan State & at Minnesota

If you were upset for more than 8 seconds about losing that game against Maryland, then I think you need to check yourself. I probably should tell you that this team is fine, but I'm not going to. You should know that. You should know that the ceiling for this team has not changed for one second since the season started. The ceiling was not lowered when we lost at home to Duke. The ceiling remained unaffected by Trae's injury and the loss to Rutgers. The ceiling is perfectly in tact after Maryland got the best of us.

That ceiling was and always will be a three-pronged ceiling of SUCCESS:

  • B1G Regular Season Championship
  • B1G Tournament Championship
  • NCAA Tournament Championship

Lord knows how many of those things will actually happen. The B1G Regular Season Title is inches away. The two tournaments are one-and-done crapshoots where we have reasonably better odds than most. But nothing is guaranteed.

All I know is that this team is still fully capable of achieving its three-pronged ceiling of success. Other things I know:
  • Duje will snap out of his funk, and he's going to snap out of it at the best time possible. I'm gonna guess he hits multiple threes in one of the B1G Tournament games and then goes on a tear in the NCAAs.
  • You'd rather get your 'cold streak' out of the way in February than in March. I put 'cold streak' in quotes because if your 'cold streak' means losing one game and just being less than dominant in the 5 preceding wins, then you're fucking fantastic and should smile every day when you wake up.
  • When you're on the road in a hostile environment and can't catch a single break, you're going to lose sometimes. That happens. Questionable calls, untimely offensive rebounds... these things have a way of swaying the game. Last I checked, the postseason tournaments are played on neutral courts. We like neutral courts.
It's all good. Let's squash Izzo on Senior Day and stampede our way into the postseason.



CHICAGO BADGERS: If you're not aware, we're 44 days from Game of Thrones, under a month until 7 pm sunsets, and 5 weeks from Wrastlemania. Shit's about to get real.


HOUSEKEEPING NOTES: I'm sick of the BP email getting stuck in spam folders. New format going forward: first section will get sent out via email, everything else will be right here on the blog.




WHO/WHERE/WHEN


TV: CBS

TV: ESPN