Monday, January 23, 2006

I suppose I could try writing about sports...

After the crazy upsets of Saturday, Appleton, Wisconsin's Lawrence University, a D3 team, is the lone unbeaten left in Men's Basketball.

"You never think that you're going to be the only undefeated team; Lawrence University, for God's sake," said Lawrence coach John Tharp, in his 12th season at the school. "Are you kidding me?"

The whole story is here and makes for some randomly interesting reading. Also allows you to sound smart in bars. Ok, maybe I'm the only chick that would be impressed if you used that info on me.

Onto hockey...

For the first time in 10 weeks, the Badgers are not the #1 in team in the country. It was an abysmal weekend in the Kohl Center, as Wisconsin hockey dropped two straight to Denver. In fact, the only team that won in the Kohl Center this weekend was the women's hockey team, who retained their #1 ranking.

Minnesota comes to town this weekend for the men's hockey border battle. This is huge and the Badgers need to pick it up after last weekends losses and prove that they deserve to be atop the rankings once again.

Some more UW Bball...

So I lamented the Badgers horrible play against NDSU, but I failed to mention the shooting percentage for UW. I would have said "horrific" "pathetic" or "monumental failure of a" before the words shooting percentage, but they didn't seem strong enough...

From the Boxscore
TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 5-29 17.2% 2nd Half: 11-43 25.6% Game: 22.2% DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 1-10 10.0% 2nd Half: 3-17 17.6% Game: 14.8% REBS
F Throw % 1st Half: 5-7 71.4% 2nd Half: 14-19 73.7% Game: 73.1% 3,1

Stewart Mandel and Andy Katz say this was the Biggest Upset of the Season

Some Katz "highlights":
The Bison beat the Badgers with a starting lineup of four redshirt freshmen and a junior college transfer.
The reality is that the Badgers can lose to a North Dakota State and still win the Big Ten.
On the other side of the court, the win for the Bison won't get them into the NCAAs because they're not eligible.
NDSU landed the game with Wisconsin because Phillips had been an assistant coach under Bo Ryan. The Bison got their $35,000 guaranteed check for the game, Miles said, a game that was scheduled this week because the Badgers had a bye week in the Big Ten.

Mandel adds:

Forget Georgetown over Duke, St. John's over Pittsburgh, or Tennessee over Florida (at least until later in this column). The upset of the weekend, the season, and many, many seasons before that, took place on Saturday in Madison, Wis. Consider:
• Wisconsin reached the NCAA Elite Eight last season; North Dakota State, in the midst of a transition from Division II, isn't even eligible for the Tourney until 2009.
• Wisconsin had won 68 of its previous 71 home games under head coach Bo Ryan, with the losses to Illinois, Wake Forest and Temple. North Dakota State had lost 18 of its past 24 road games, its most recent wins coming against Florida Gulf Coast, Minnesota-Crookston and Southwest Minnesota State.
• Less than 48 hours before facing the No. 3 team in the RPI ratings in front of 17,142 spectators at the Kohl Center, the Bison were in Orem, Utah, facing the No. 303 team, Utah Valley State, in front of an announced crowd of 702. "And that was an exaggeration of great proportions," said North Dakota State coach Tim Miles of the attendance figure. They lost, 67-65 on a last-second tip-in.
• Finally, according to research by Wisconsin-Green Bay's sports information department, the Bison took the court Saturday with the youngest team in the country: 13 freshmen or sophomores, including four redshirt-freshman starters, one junior and one senior

I'm not big into just posting other's comments, but I'm far from unbiased in this situation and I really don't have the words to describe what I witnessed Saturday morning.

Look, we all know Alando Tucker is a bad shooter. (Check out the Big Ten Wonk for more explanation on that.) We expect it. But the entire team looked like they were shooting into the oval rims at a state fair. No matter how squared or set they were, no matter how much arc they did or didn't put on the ball, the shots wouldn't fall. An easy layup and six tips and the ball still won't roll in. I feel like the law of averages is the only thing that allowed the Badgers to score any points.

Sitting in the Kohl Center was literally surreal. I have never experienced anything like it. It's not like you saw the game slip away. It was never the Badgers'. And the whole time you're in complete and utter disbelief, you just keep telling yourself that this is frickin' NORTH DAKOTA STATE and they'll come out of this time out, or halftime, and be riled up and start playing.

But it never happened. And every shot went into and then right back out of the hoop. And conversely, on the other end of the court, it seemed that no matter what NDSU put up, it went straight in the hole. That's not to say that NDSU doesn't deserve props. On the end of a horrific road trip, they live in ND for chrissakes and they're still fighting for D1 status. They technically have nothing to play for. No tournament possible.

That about covers it for now.

No comments: