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.




Ari D:
Do you think the Badgers will be back in the national championship game at any point in the next ten years?
I don't know. But I can tell you that 4-5 years ago I had no clue that Frank Kaminsky was gonna become a thing, or that Ohio would pass on a kid like Nigel Hayes, or that a point guard from Lacrosse would turn down UNC and Kansas to stay home.

It's absolutely impossible to know. The one and done nature of the tournament really complicates the whole thing. Think about how easily we could've lost to UNC or Arizona or Kentucky. Each of those games was incredibly intense and tightly-contested. You only go as far as the shots you hit and the breaks you catch in March. Bo could very well take a 23 win team and march them right into the title game, just like he could take a 30 win team and get busted in the Sweet 16.

If I were a betting man, I'd say no. But I'm a biased Badger fan who got a taste of glory and wants to eat the whole damn thing now. As long as Bo's at the helm, I'm bout that life.


Joe H:
Whats the B1G outlook for 2015-2016 basketball? Maryland is to be feared it seems like, which is bullshit. They should have to pay their dues and be shitty like Rutgers for a few years, am I wrong?
Maryland looks scary good. MSU should be pretty damn good (as always). Indiana might actually be legit (Creaning enough guys off the end of the bench to make room for the hotshot recruits will do that). Wisconsin should be solid as usual. Purdue looks like they could make some noise.

Those are basically the top 5 teams in my way-too-early look at the conference next year. I have no idea what Michigan is up to. Nebraska has to blow up and reload. Northwestern claims to be turning the corner, but we all know that's a LIE. Rutgers gonna Rutgers. Penn State gonna Penn State. Iowa loses a ton, OSU loses an All-American, and Minnesota always sucks. There's your B1G in a nutshell.

As for your second question there, my initial reaction was yeah, Maryland should have to take a beating for a few years like Rutgers is (and Nebraska did in football). But it's good for the league that Maryland is balling out. I like having more marquee games on the schedule every year. I hope Maryland stays up and battles with us for a long time.

I also hope we embarrass Nebraska in football every single game from now until forever. Unrelated feelings.


badgergirl01:
What stage of grief are you at right now? When will you get through all the stages?
I've mentioned this before, but I'm really fine about it. Several years ago I decided I wouldn't let sporting events ruin my life. Somehow, I made that work. I may be a little pootie after a big loss, but F that, it's not going to wreck my fun. I went out and had a good time after the Packers lost to Seattle. I soldiered out to the bars after the Duke game. Rose Bowl losses? Might as well play some flip cup and find a way to have fun tonight.

I can't recommend this approach enough. If you're able to successfully pull it off, big wins are just as amazing as ever, and big losses don't reduce you down to a puddle of misery. Here was my timeline:

DENIAL - 15 minutes in the stadium standing there wondering why that just happened. Also, I made a big effort to not do anything physically that would make me the sad fan on TV. I do not want to be the sad fan on TV.

ANGER - 12 minutes outside the stadium listen to the 9 Duke fans there run their mouths. I wouldn't have been angry if they weren't provoking me. So, totally not my fault.

BARGAINING - I have no idea what this one is.

DEPRESSION - I avoid this one by not watching ESPN and not going on Twitter and drinking.

ACCEPTANCE - Ripped a shot and drank a beer at the bar after the game. Got Steak 'N Shake. Had a slumber party in the hotel, hit the road, went straight to work, found $50 for getting second in my office pool, and went on with my life.

Life goes on. Bo will win more games.


Tim S:
How does a city like Indy, which has so many bars, not have the proper amount of late night food options?
Speaking of Steak 'N Shake, I think that's the only legitimate late night option there. And that Steak 'N Shake is DANGEROUS. Several years ago I almost got a taser in the face outside of it. Now they don't let you leave without a ticket that you get from your server or something. Other than Steak 'N Shake, I have no idea what you do if you're hungry at bar time. I think there was a pizza place there, but I'm not buying some rustic $14 personal pizza. That's shit.

I guess my concern would be what is Indy like during non-event weekends. Are there people there? Does anyone LIVE in Indy? But at the same time, if Steak 'N Shake (poor man's George Webb) can survive, how come 14 other fast food style places can't be open at 3 am there all year? I demand a pizza by the slice joint, a sandwich shop, a 24 hour Wendy's, and a motherfucking CULVERS.

PS - Culvers in Wrigleyville getting delayed is literally the main reason I don't want to move out of Wrigleyville.
Are you going to Dallas for Alabama?
I don't think so. What's the payoff? If we win, YAY, we have to win a whole lot of other games to make it count for anything. If we lose, BOO, I'm trapped in Texas with obnoxious ROLL TIDERS and have to get on a hungover flight back to reality.

I'll save the money for a meaningful game, like a B1G Championship. Much better investment.

With that said, when we play LSU at Lambeau I'm gonna be there one way or another. But that's a totally different animal.


NYChez:
Heisman = # retired. Wooden award = # retired?
Frank was the leading force on back-to-back Final Four teams. He swept every single National Player of the Year award in existence. He was the face of the program during the best two year run in Wisconsin history. And he's the quintessential Bo Ryan player: he came in unheralded and under-recruited, worked his ass off, blew up junior year, and dominated the nation as a senior.

Retire the number. People will remember Frank for a long freaking time. Who knows when someone goes out on top like that again.


HockeyFan:
What sayeth you: Years ago Hockey was always in the mix for NCAA titles (they have 6 as it is) while basketball was an afterthought. Now this year the Hoopsters won more NCAA tournament games than the Hockey team all season. Isn't there enough love in and around campus for BOTH to do good?
The men's hockey team is so depressing that I don't even want to think about them. I don't understand it: UW should be one of the easiest hockey schools to recruit to. So many of the hockey powers are such boner schools. North Dakota. St. Cloud State. Minnesota. Minnesota Duluth. Michigan Tech. Michigan. Every single one of those schools sucks at life outside of hockey. Wisconsin offers elite facilities, great coaching, strong history, is a giant party school that loves chasing jerseys, and sends enough players to the NHL that no recruit need ever worry about that.

OMG they went 4-26-5? I thought you were joking about the hoops team winning more games in the tourney. THAT IS BAD. How did it get that bad? Did every recruit break their femurs? Is Eaves forcing them to play with their off-hands? Has there been a fan revolt leading to them screaming SIEVE at Rumpel? I LOVE THE RUMPEL.

This is beyond offensive now. There is zero excuse for a program this good winning 4 fucking games all year. Fix that shit. There's room at this school for successful football, hoops, and hockey programs. It can be done.


atpants:
Is it possible that we lost because you mis-identified a #spiritanimal?
I do not like this question and the implication it is making. Our #SpiritAnimals took us far on our journey. They were all chosen for a reason. Perhaps I missed one along the way. Did I not see a sign? Were my eyes open, but not truly open? These questions will haunt me for LESS THAN A YEAR until I start finding new #SpiritAnimals for the 2016 squad.

***

INTERMISSION

#SKYPORN


We have to stop right now for a quick #skyporn intervention, because the sunset Wednesday night in Chicago was bananas:


MINI TORNADO CLOUDS. I am so jelly that I don't have a view like that. That is a fantastic sunset and probably the only time ever we'll see those little tornado clouds. #4 Wisconsin alum Tommy Skillings has the lowdown on what they were and how lucky we were to get a glimpse of them. GOOD JOB SKILLINGS


#FOODPORN


I made damn well sure I didn't miss the burger of the month at Kuma's Too. This thing had fried skirt steak FINGERS on it and bacon and does it even matter what else was on it? Mind bottingly good. Perhaps the best burger I've ever had at Kuma's, and this was not my first rodeo. You still have a few weeks to get there and try. Can't recommend it enough.

PS - That's some kind of chipotle mayo there on the side. Kuma's has a steadfast avoidance of ranch, which is by far my biggest problem with them. But that spicy mayo works just fine for fry dippage.

PPS - Hey Kuma's, just saying, really miss the waffle fries. Waffle fries need more love in this world.


And now back to your questions.

***

THE ARTS

Danny G:
Of all the characters still standing in the GoT universe (as of Season 5, Episode 1), rank the 5 deaths that'd make you the happiest, as well as the 5 deaths that'd make you the most upset. Provide explanations, if possible.
Deaths That Would Make Me Happy:

5) Littlefinger. I suppose I get that he's a fascinating character, but he's a REAL shithead. We've known that since day one, and everything he's done since then has only confirmed it. He gets bonus points for his hand in killing Joffrey (who would be #1 on any list if he were still alive), but everything about him working game on Sansa is creepy and I don't like his accent.

4) Ramsay Snow. If you enjoy this character then you need mental help.

3) Alliser Thorne. AKA the guy at Castle Black who busts Jon Snow's balls about EVERYTHING even though Snow successfully infiltrated the Wildlings, was right about sealing the tunnel, was right about crushing the mutineers, and is generally a badass. Thorne just has a giant stick up his ass at all times and I can't wait for him to take orders from Lord Snow.

2) Walder Frey. The Al Davis of Westeros. I bet his skin feels like a steady mixture of sandpaper and worn leather. He marries and bones young girls. He took guests in under his roof and gave them bread and salt and THEN he mercilessly had them killed. That shit is inexcusable. You get cursed for that kind of behavior. His time will come.

PS - If he lives forever and becomes king I will be MOST upset.

1) Roose Bolton. I HATE YOUR ATTITUDE AND TONE and the way you carry yourself and your blood for procreating a Ramsay. You have worse hair than Stannis and your house is only known for betrayal and peeling the skin off people. Everything about Roose is everything that's wrong with Westeros. Die. Die immediately and then find a way to die again.


Deaths That Would Make Me Upset:

5) Hodor. Hodor hodor hodor hodor, hodor hodor hodor. Hodor hodor hodor hodor hodor; hodor hodor hodor. HODOR.

4) Dany. I can see why some people are fed up with her story so far, but she's still the freaking Mother of Dragons and she WILL ride Drogon at some point or I will buy paperback copies of all the books and BURN them while screaming DRACARYS.

3) Ser Pounce. I DEMAND MORE SER POUNCE.

2) Jon Snow. Let's never lose sight of the big picture: this is A Song of Ice & Fire. I firmly believe that Snow is the Ice (along with the White Walkers) to Dany's fire (and her dragons). Will Jon somehow learn to lead the White Walkers? Can he turn babies into GOOD White Walkers? I have no idea. But I still think the end game here is Snow vs. Dany. And for that reason I want him to live and make me feel smart.

1) Arya. If Arya dies we riot.


Redball34:
Considering you unveiled a lot of new music to the masses here. What song what you say best described what this team accomplished this season?
I meeeannnnnnnn:



Because fuck the haters, we're just gonna shake shake shake shake shake:




Ajit I:
Jurassic World is coming to theaters near you (and you and you) in just over two months. In your expert opinion, do you think it was a good idea that they "just went and made a new dinosaur?"
Oh, I'm sure it will work out SPLENDIDLY that they created a new menacing murdering dinomonster that murders for sport. That's just brilliant. I bet it will not cause havoc and kill humans and require Chris Pratt to be the velociraptor whisperer to defeat it.

You know what I want from Jurassic World? I want the fucking dinosaurs to WIN. That's it. I want this to be the last Jurassic Park/World movie ever made, and I want the dinos to go out on top. Yeah, I know they're going to pick off a few humans throughout the movie, but is there any doubt the main characters leave that park alive and the spooky Indominus Rex gets defeated one way or another? I DON'T WANT THAT.

When that pivotal point in the movie comes up where the heroes are face-to-face with the monster, I hope whatever plan they have FAILS miserably. I hope the Indominus chews Pratt in half and doesn't even eat him; I hope he just leaves two halves of Pratt on the ground as a message to everyone else.

The humans deserve to LOSE Jurassic World. They've tried enough times to figure out this whole 'bring the dinosaurs back but don't get eaten by them' thing. They've managed to survive their failures every time. This guy shouldn't be one of the 4 casualties:


WE ALL KNOW HE'S DYING. Shock the world and kill Pratt. Maybe the raptors begin to LEARN that they're being manipulated and they heel turn on Pratt at the last second and kill him to the Degeneration X theme song. That's a story I could get behind.

Either way I'm going to make love to this movie. Who's seeing it in the IMAX with me on opening night?



PARENTING ADVICE FROM A 29-YEAR-OLD SINGLE GUY

Bud F:
Should we have kept a better eye on our boys Saturday night? We watched the game in the Marriott bar while our 10 and 9 year old sons watched in the Marriott lounge are about 20 yards away, but out of eyeshot. We would check on them during each time out and watched the last minute with them so we could celebrate together. Are we good parents?
Well if it was a Marriott in Wisconsin you could've just brought them into the bar, right? Wisconsin is brilliant like that.

But I think you did this just fine. 9 and 10 years old? They're basically teenagers. Those kids should be fine unsupervised, especially if they're actually into sports. Were they going nuts for the game? Then what are they gonna do? They're not dogs that are just gonna run away when they see an opening.

What's the worst that could've happened? Well, I'd say the worst possible outcome was almost YOUR fault. You mean to tell me we had Kentucky on the ropes and then you decided to switch rooms with a minute left? Are you aware of the implications that kind of change could've had on the game? The kids had everything under control, but mom and dad had to switch up the room situation at the very end of the game.

You're playing with fire and you're going to get burned if you keep this up.



FOOD AND/OR #SWIFTNESS

Ron S:
Who invented the chocolate chip cookie and when he won the nobel prize for awesomeness, who came in second and for what?
The chocolate chip cookie was invented by the lovely Ruth Graves Wakefield in the 1930s. The official date given to the invention was in 1938. As with the discovery of anything cool, there's a bunch of dispute about what actually happened. This is by far my favorite variation:
Boucher said that the vibrations from a large Hobart electric mixer dislodged bars of Nestlé's chocolate stored on the shelf above the mixer which caused the chocolate to fall into the sugar cookie dough mixing below. He claims to have overcome Wakefield's impulse to discard the dough as too badly ruined to waste effort baking them, leading to the discovery of the popular combination.
Classic Boucher move trying to take credit for salvaging the chocolate chip cookie. And man, chocolate chip cookies are the TITS. I love them so fucking much. Who honestly doesn't enjoy the taste of a fine chocolate chip cookie? There's so much variation in them... little, big, soft, hard... that's like 4 different types right there. I'd go as far as saying that anyone that doesn't love chocolate chip cookies is goddamn insane.

The second place invention of 1938 is probably the toothbrush. I guess before real toothbrushes were invented, people were still using bones with boar neck hair for bristles. That sounds unpleasant. That makes me think there were no innovations in toothbrushes from the stone age through 1937. Then all of the sudden someone realized there's gotta be a better way. And we evolved past rudimentary pig corpse tools to synthetic hygiene. That's a big step right there. Going straight from high school to the big leagues.

Honorable Mentions: seeing eye dogs (respect), the photocopier (super important, but not you'd-rather-be-brushing-your-teeth-with-boar-hair important).

Apparently 1938 was a shitty year to be an inventor.

PS - After writing this ALL I wanted was a chocolate chip cookie and BAM a co-worker had a giant bag of homemade chocky chippies on his desk. It was meant to be. Inhaled. It was meant to be inhaled in my foodhole.


Mike L:
Choose: you have to live through all of next year without TSwift or pizza. Which is less life threatening to give up?
My love for the #Swiftness is widely known and oft lamented. But no fucking way could I give up pizza for a year. Pizza is an essential food group. I'm probably going straight to Dimo's after answering this question.

There's always new music to listen to in hopes of filling that #Swiftness void, but I won't act a fool thinking there's replacement pizza out there. Nothing hits the spot like quality pizza when you have a craving.


Owlgasm:
When are you going to start replacing the #FOODPORN with #ACTUALPORN?

Actually, you can keep the #FOODPORN just add the #ACTUALPORN to go with it.
What I don't get is all the social media sharing options on #ACTUALPORN. Who is sharing When MILFS Attack 7 on Twitter? Do you even know how terrified I am of accidentally posting a video on Facebook? I want to meet the people that share their #ACTUALPORN history with their social media followers. No I don't. That's actually an awful idea. I want to stay very, very far away from those people.


tevans4:
Hypothetically, Taylor Swift tweets something like, "These Wisconsin guys seem really cool. #GoBadgers" How long until your head explodes?
Lord knows I tried getting her on the #MakeEmBelieve bandwagon. All it takes is her checking her mentions at the precise moment I tell her I hope she's wearing red and bang Wisconsin wins it all. Maybe not having the #Swiftness as one of our #SpiritAnimals was the mistake I made. I don't like that I keep finding ways to blame myself for this.



DO FISH HAVE BRAINS

SOLObucky:
If you were a fish in a well maintained aquarium, would you be happy or sad?
Research confirms that fish are sneaky smart and aware of what's going on around them. With that said... FUCK YES I'd be happy. You telling me you can remove me from the food chain where I'm way down at the bottom and put me up in some cushy resort? That's a no brainer. That's like going from being a nomadic caveman to living in a nice house with a maid, a cook, and hopefully some friends. Do I have to live in this mansion aquarium by myself? Can Harry the Hermit Crab come hang out with me?

Fish seem totally chill in aquariums. I could get down with that lifestyle.



I MAY REGRET ANSWERING THIS QUESTION

Elliot P:
Most embarrassing moments​....
This is not going to be fun.
1. On a date/encounter with a woman
I've mentally blocked out all the really bad stuff, but I did slip getting out of a cab with a girl once. Fortunately I caught myself, but then I completely wiped out into a snow bank on my next step. That couldn't have been a good look. Should probably cut your losses when the post-date text is 'that looked rough, are you okay?' instead of 'had a great time!'
2. End result being a Bowel Movement/Urination
I really had to pee during a Little League game once. Like REALLY had to pee. But I think I was due up to bat, so I couldn't go then. And for some reason instead of just saying something and going to the Port-o-Potty, I ran out to the outfield. This is beyond stupid. It's not like MLB where once you get out of the game you can't come back in.

Anyway, I'm in the outfield absolutely dying to go pee, and of course the other team has like a 56 run inning that went on forever. The only strikes our pitcher threw were blasted for hits and I had no choice but to just let it go.

So yeah I peed myself during a Little League game while playing centerfield.
3. At Work
I think a month or so into my current gig I was in the stairwell with a co-worker and felt like showing off. Because idiot. So I did the thing where you grab the railings like halfway down a flight of stairs and swing your legs down to land on the next level. The front of my shoe hit the ground (concrete) early and I rolled the shit out of my ankle and ended up on the floor in pain as she stared down at me wondering how the hell this guy got a job there.

I no longer do the thing where you grab the railings and swing yourself down the stairs.
4. While drinking or because of drinking
IDK, I hold my booze pretty well. Some friends might remember things that I don't, but this was recent and was not a proud moment:


The Surge really ices the cake.

PS - Oh I guess this would qualify: one of my first times drinking we were playing Fuck The Dealer. I didn't realize it until it was too late, but a guy was behind me making hand signals telling everyone what I had. I thought they were all just really lucky. I threw up an entire large fry from McDonald's into a cup and then into the sink. But the drain was in the sink so I had to reach in and unplug it. That game sucks.
5. Childhood
Let's just stick with the Little League story and be done here.



HMMMMMMM

3pnp3HL:
Are you planning on stepping up your efforts next season?
Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe fuck yourself.

But yes. We'll be back next year. Bigger and better than ever.


***

Thank you all for reading, sharing, commenting, and hating. What a fun fucking year to be a Wisconsin fan. Can't wait to do it all over again in the fall.

Always and forever... 

ON WISCONSIN

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