Thursday, January 19, 2012

Badger Preview: @ #25 Illinois & #13 Indiana

Is it my fault that we keep losing Rose Bowls?  I'm legit starting to think that it is.  I'm also taking the blame for the 3 game losing streak in hoops.  AS A RESULT, I will not be returning to Pasadena anytime soon.  And I haven't watched a hoops game since the debacle in Ann Arbor.  These are the sacrifices I'm willing to make for the greater good.  Northwestern comes to Madison tonight, and I will be instead watching Alcatraz while DVRing the game.  If you're really not that big of a sports fan, you might be thinking that it's crazy to do this since there's no way my viewing/not viewing of a game actually affects the outcome.  But you just think that because you're not a big sports fan.  ANYONE who cares about a team knows that where you're sitting, who you're with, what you're doing and what you're wearing before and during a game are JUST as important as the players themselves.  That's fandom 101.

This is me doing my part to right the ship (maybe it's a bad time for ship-related metaphors) for Badger fans everywhere.  I can't donate a new court or finance a new practice facility.  But I CAN reverse all the terrible, terrible juju voodoo associated with my connection to Badger athletics.

Good lord.  This must be what rock bottom is like.

PS - Seriously, I was over the Rose Bowl loss pretty quickly.  No, I did NOT black out, so I remember the game pretty damn well.  We had a nightmare matchup with a team that could score just as easily (if not more easily) than us, and they made a few more plays to pull out the win.  Terrible clock management, a brutal Black Jesus pick, and an incredibly unfortunate fumble sealed our fate.  I'm over it.  The MSU game in East Lansing, however, still stings.  Pretty sure I'll never let that one go.  Ugh.

A SHAMELESS PLUG... FOR CHARITY!  How would you like to support Wisconsin, Bo Ryan, and most importantly, JDRF... all at the same time?  That's the classic win/win/win right there.  If you don't know, JDRF is the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.  By clicking on this link and voting for Bo, you're helping his chances of donating $100,000 to JDRF.  I highly doubt you'll find a more worthwhile cause - I've been donating myself since Ron Santo passed away.  It takes 5 seconds.  You'll feel better about yourself.  Do it.







What's wrong with Jordan Taylor?

November: 'Oh, he's just trying to get the young guys involved - you KNOW he'll turn it on come conference play!' (totally optimistic)
December: 'Maybe his ankle's still bothering him.  At least we have a couple crappy games left and he can rest up and be ready for B1G play!'  (secretly getting very worried)
January: 'WTF is going on.' (beyond terrified, doubting everything in life)

Reasons you should genuinely be worried:
  • He shot absurdly well last year - at a much higher rate than his actual ability
  • Every high screen results in him getting doubled, forcing him to get rid of the ball in an uncomfortable situation
  • He's playing 78 minutes a game - and not getting series off on the defensive end
  • FG% / 3P% / FT% / REB / AST / TO are all worse this year
Reasons you should keep hope alive:
  • Last four games: 31/41 from the line - not the greatest %, but he's getting there with an increased frequency.  Something this team desperately needs.
  • No matter what, he still plays hard and will NOT get discouraged by poor shooting.  Confidence remains high and he hasn't shied away from big shots this year.
But that's really all I got.  If Taylor can turn it on and start playing like the All-American he was last year, Wisconsin will be right back in the thick of things in the B1G - and back in the NCAA Tourney.  But if not, I'm having a hard time envisioning this team getting to 9 conference wins.  And sub-.500 is a bad, bad place to be.

I suppose for Illinois, the trendy player to watch would be Brandon Paul.  The kid went absolutely OFF against Ohio State.  We're talking 43 points on 15 shots - that's INSANE efficiency.  8-10 from downtown and 13-15 from the charity stripe will do that.  But I've seen enough of Paul (and D.J. Richardson) over the years to know how frustratingly inconsistent they can be.  The real guy for Wisconsin to fear is big man Meyers Leonard.  A legit 7 footer than can score and crash the glass, UW will need to keep him in check if they want to have even a tiny chance of pulling off the upset in Champbana.  That means Jared Berggren, Frank Kaminski, and maybe even Bruiser (if things get really bad) will need to be on top of their games on the defensive end.  It really sucks because Leonard just seems like such a BADGER.  Tall white guy, sneaky athleticism... it would be awesome swapping Berggren out for him.  Instead, we have to find a way to shut him down.  Womp womp.


Mac Miller - Knock Knock

Real talk, I fell in love with this song when I was watching 24/7 (greatest sports docudramashow out there) on HBO.  The Flyers played it after every win - and it's just crazy catchy.  Plus, I've soured on Eminem recently and needed a new white rapper to rally behind.

Muse - Undisclosed Desires

Apparently this is a weird song to be one of my favorite Muse tracks.  That doesn't make any sense, though, because it's a real hot track.  Might not be the standard hardcore shredding Muse jam, but it's tough for me to skip.

The Get Up Kids - Holiday

WARNING: Punk/emo/alternative song with slightly nasal-sounding singer.  Those things make most of the people I know go, 'What is this shit?'  Well SCREW YOU because these guys are one of my top 2 favorite bands.  The entire album (Something To Write Home About) is incredible, and for some reason this is the song that has been dominating my iPhone recently.  It's weird how that works when there's an album you've been listening to frequently for years and then all of the sudden one song just becomes your new favorite.  I'd like science to try and explain that to me.

B.o.B, Lil Wayne - Strange Clouds

It's growing on me because the chorus is great, but that noise in the verse keeps making me think that my speakers are blown out.  By 'speakers', I'm referring to the POS desktop speakers I have at work.  Maybe with a real sound system it's not as bad.  I'll have to do some trial and error.


We won at Purdue

How about Champaign now, too?

Yeah, sounds like a plan.

Uh oh, IU's back

Well, that's def what their fans think

Crean is still a dick


Any chance I get to use this pic, I WILL USE THIS PIC.  Photoshop masterpiece.  If I had an artistic portfolio, this would be last, since you always end with your power card.

Speaking of artistic portfolios, there's no doubt they're a million times cooler than normal resumes.  'Oh, here's a bunch of pictures I've taken of sunsets and cheeseburgers.  I can start on Monday.'  I have no idea why I didn't find a job that required a portfolio instead of a resume.  My ability to take a picture of food on a stick far surpasses my GPA and extracurricular activities.*

*Extracurricular activities are the biggest joke in the world.  EVERYONE knows that people only did them because they look good on a college application/resume.  You think I ENJOYED my time in the Finance & Investment Society at Madison?  Well, other than the keg race against the elitist cheaters from the Investment Banking Club, I did NOT.  Maybe this is why I don't have some bomber job in finance right now letting me not work on MLK Day to stay home counting all my monies, but my point still stands.  Intramurals accounted for the majority of my 'activities' in college (co-captain on a football team, THAT SHOWS LEADERSHIP).  I wouldn't have it any other way.


Is this video of a crying Packers fan awesome?  I thought it was, until I planted the seed.  You know the seed I'm talking about.  The seed of DOUBT.  Is it real?  Am I being swindled?  I think so.  You can be the judge, though.

A while back I shared the video of Don Cherry playing the desk piano, which I found significantly funnier than everyone else.  But is it better than Rick Perry's debate keyboard?  You be the judge.  Feel free to weigh in at THG.

PS - The end of the Don Cherry video is the best.  The little slide down at 1:30 gets me every time.  Also, that suit is beyond remarkable.  It's something I would just wear every day and never take off no matter what.

PPS - I'm pretty sure this type of hand movement is common when speaking in public/on TV, so I'm hoping this becomes a 'thing' where internet nerds make music videos of famous people unknowingly playing desk piano.  Not sure who I have to talk to to make this happen, but here's to hoping.

PPPS - Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.


Hey!  Do YOU take pictures of your food as well?  I'd love to see them.  Shoot me an email with the best food porn you've got and I'll throw it in here next week.  There's simply too much good food out there for me to limit it to the 8 restaurants I frequent.

Fried chicken and churros from Big Star.  Not the first time Big Star has been featured on here before, and that's not a surprise given that it's one of my favorite places in the world to eat and drink.  Two legs, a thigh, and some churros... all cooked perfectly.

This monstrosity is a double cheeseburger with 9 pounds of grilled onions... cooked by my 13 year old brother.  The kid's got skills in the kitchen.  None of which he learned from me.


What does it say about me that when there's a badass sunset, I get assaulted with tweets of sky porn pics?  I hope it says something good about me, because that happened a few weeks ago.  My stupid office faces directly North, so I can't get a good view of pre-5 pm sunsets.  Are days getting longer yet?  When is sunset after 5 pm?  Because this sucks.  Anyway, just like the food porn request above, feel free to tweet/email me anything you come across.

I took this at Venice Beach when I was in California for the Rose Bowl.  Venice Beach is amazing, and I was clearly ecstatic to catch a nice sunset while we were walking around the boardwalk there.  I can't confirm, but I'm 99% sure this is where He Got Game and Hoops Dreams and Blue Chips were filmed*.

Sticking in the family, my sister sent me this from her little vacation out to Cali this week.  It's unofficially California Oceanfront Skyporn week.  Or something like that. 

*Completely just made this up.  I don't even think I've ever seen any of these movies.  Oh well.  ROLL WITH IT


Forget for a second that we got caught watching Monday Night Raw this week.  Today at work, the woman next to me got a call from her nephew and I overheard her saying 'What about Kevin Nash?  What was his move?'.  I instinctively blurted out 'powerbomb', which I wikipedia'd (NO MORE BLACKOUT) to confirm (it was actually the jackknife powerbomb).  Anyway, after reading this, I was completely sold on how genius wrestling really is:

After a while, however, the nWo began to fight within its ranks, with Hogan and Nash battling for control. The situation came to a head on April 20, 1998, during a match between Hogan and recent nWo inductee (and rival) Randy Savage for Savage's recently won WCW World Heavyweight Championship. During the match, Nash interfered on Savage's behalf and jackknifed Hogan to the mat, signaling the breakup of the nWo into two separate factions (Nash's interference was not enough to prevent Hogan from regaining his championship, thanks to Bret Hart's interference shortly thereafter). Nash became the leader of nWo Wolfpac, alongside Savage, Curt Hennig, and Konnan. Hennig, however, shortly thereafter defected over to Hogan's nWo Hollywood faction. Then, during a match between Hall, Nash, Sting and The Giant (who had recently rejoined the nWo after being kicked out two years prior), Hall turned on Nash by hitting him with his tag team title belt and leaving the ring. The Wolfpac, however, was not down for long as Lex Luger joined Nash's team. Sting would eventually become a member as well, after being recruited heavily by both sides towards the middle of 1998. After Sting won Giant's half of the tag team title at the Great American Bash that June, Nash became Sting's partner.[12] They defended the championship until July 20, when they were defeated by Hall and The Giant. Nash then set his sights on his former partner, and the rivalry came to a head at Halloween Havoc on October 25. During the course of the match, Nash jackknifed Hall twice but, instead of pinning him, left the ring and lost via count-out.

The following month at World War 3, Nash entered the 60-man, three ring battle royal that was a staple of the pay-per-view, with the winner getting a shot at the WCW World Heavyweight Championship at Starrcade the following month. Nash survived to the end after literally clearing his ring out and big booting Lex Luger, who had Scott Hall in the Torture Rack, over the top rope, and earned his shot at the title. At Starrcade, Nash capitalized on his opportunity and won the WCW World Heavyweight Championship from Goldberg, after Scott Hall shocked on Goldberg with a stun gun.[12][20] In doing so, Nash broke Goldberg's long running undefeated streak.[12]

Holy shit.  That OOZES drama.  I used to think wrestling was fake, but there's simply no way any one person (or even a group of people) could orchestrate something as elaborate as that.  And that wasn't even over a long period of time!

The peak of my wrastling interest was definitely when the Undertaker and Kane were going back and forth.  Greatest sports introductions of all-time:

1) Mid-90's Bulls (I can, have, and will play the entire thing on guitar if given the opportunity)
2) Any time Kane or the Undertaker showed up (see below)
3) Everything else

I'm not even sure who has the better intro.  WHO YA GOT?




I miss this stuff.

*My Grandpa always says 'wrastling' instead of 'wrestling'.  I've never understood why, I just know that I love it and fully embrace it.


Live by the 3, die by the 3.  That's the story of this year's Badger hoops team.  And lately, those 3's are falling.  I'm just gonna be optimistic and hope those 3's keep dropping once we take the court against the Illini this Sunday.  The Pick:


So either we beat Illinois and come home with all sorts of momentum, right back in the thick of the B1G race... or we lose, and desperately need a win at home against Indiana to keep the chances of a top-half finish alive.  Doesn't matter.  In either case, I think we take care of business against an IU team that is pretty much reeling these days.  They were never as good as they looked in their big wins, and they're not as bad as they looked losing to Nebraska.  They're a middle of the road team, and 90%+ of the time we BEAT middle of the road teams at home.  No repeat of the Iowa debacle here.  The Pick:


Good to be back.  Hope you're all ready for the big push into hoops season.  Let's do this.


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