So I'm finally getting around to posting a wank. I've been really busy lately so forgive me if you look for an installment of this running series on a semi-regular basis (I have been noticing my SiteMeter numbers rising lately, why I can't say. Not that it's going to my head.) Lots to talk about what with championship week in full swing and the Madness right around the corner. And suddenly we're starting to get warm weather in Wisconsin. It's as if George Mason going to the tournament again woke up Mother Nature herself and she said enough of the deep freeze. And Wisconsin and Marquette are still alive in their respective conference tourneys and in their quest for the highest seeds possible.
University of Wisconsin men's basketball. A-
For now. We'll see how they do in the Big10 tournament and in the NCAA's. They won another outright regular season title so they deserve much props for that. Badgers won another game they should have in their opening tournament game, suffocating Michigan and advancing to the semis against Michigan State. A couple of years ago I would have feared this match up but I'm pretty confident this year (no jinxes). This team doesn't have a big time star, but they are efficient especially defensively. That efficiency might even get Michael Flowers a sniff at the league. It seems like maybe things have loosened up a little for Wisconsin after they won the regular season title. I wouldn't be surprised to see them get as high as a 2 seed and maybe even get to stay in the region. On second thought no. If they got that high a seeding they would probably be shipped out west to balance it out. Out of the teams that will probably get #2 seeds I think the committee would let Kansas stay in the Midwest before UW. But it doesn't matter where they play. I think through the course of this season they have fused into a special team. Anyone could step up big in any game. Tough to gameplan against.
Another update: Wisconsin did it to Hizzoe again.
Marquette University men's basketball. B+
Marquette ended the season on a sour note losing to Syracuse, but have made a good showing so far the the Big East Tournament. In the first round they beat Seton Hall for I think the third time this year and in the second round got some key contributions to ease them by #14 Notre Dame. Next up Pitt, who they dusted by 18 when they last played them at the BC. I guess we'll see which team's memory and motivation is better. It seems like at this point in the season MU's up and down the floor conditioning is giving them a little edge over their competition. It's going to be hard for Pitt to go all out again to contain Marquette's running style after going to overtime to knock off Louisville (great luck by the way, no way we would have beat them). 3 of the top 4 seeded teams have been knocked out already which means the Golden Eagles would have a good chance of meeting and beating Georgetown in the final.
Update: I'm posting after the game so I saw how Pitt turned the tables on Marquette. MJS's Golden Eagles blog has a good take on the game also. Reasons for the loss? Bad shooting, not much contribution from our leading scorer (James had 10pts), and Pitt just wanting it more. I don't really expect this will affect their seeding one way or another. Their penetration into the semifinals pretty much reflects where they finished up in the regular season standings.
Milwaukee Bucks. D
You know we midwesterners here this a lot, but it is true. We are a different breed of people. We take pride in hard work and respect and embrace people who have the same values we do. We don't give up and throw in the towel when things start to get rough. Here in Wisconsin our sports teams for the most part emulate that regional culture. Nondescript as the Bucks have been the last couple of years, I don't think they have ever tried to intentionally tank a season as they have been accused of at various times pretty much ever since Ray Allen left. I'm sure there are some Bucks fans out there whose mindset is that this season is a wash and we should just try to land in the best position to get a high draft pick. But I'm also sure there are more, with that Midwesterner ethic, thinking that it's not too late to turn it around and at least end the season on a positive note. We are in the East, we might still be able to sneak into the playoffs. A little commentary to back me up can be found over on BrewHoop where they analyze the potential effectiveness of a planned fan protest that will take place tomorrow when the Celtics come to the BC. Yeah I wonder if Ray still misses Milwaukee after witnessing first hand from afar what new lows this franchise has sunk to.
Green Bay Packers.Everybody is speculating on the future of Aaron Rodgers. The general consensus is that he’ll be alright. He showed some heart in the game at Dallas. Kind of reminded me of how Mark Brunell and Matt Hasslebeck used to play when they were here backing up Brett and they would get in during the scrub time, or the preseason games. I read an article somewhere that quoted Brett as saying that that might have been the turning point for Rodgers as far as earning the respect of his teammates and showing them he was capable of leading. My paraphrased recollection of it is “ I don’t know, it just seems like the guys look at him different now”. It was a blog post somewhere I think that was talking about how Favre thought Rodgers would do just fine in becoming the starting QB. Meanwhile not much news on the free agent front, other than cornerback Frank Walker leaving to go to the Ravens, Nick Barnett having his disorderly conduct charges stemming from a nightclub incident (he owns the nightclub) dismissed, and the prospect of signing Jaguars backup Quinn Gray.
Brewers. I won't grade the Brewers until the games count. As I've said before I'm an extremely casual baseball fan who almost forgot about spring training what with the Madness going on. Well what to report so far? The Crew is 11-6 heading into a game with the 9-7 Royals tonight. Ned Yost is trying to narrow down the pitching staff cuts. They are playing good ball overall but there are some concerns. Whatever. No major trades, injuries, or earth shattering news. I'll check back when 'One Shining Moment' starts to play.