Live Game #3: Wisconsin vs. Platteville
Last night’s basketball activities took me to Madison to watch Wisconsin take on Platteville, instead of the originally planned trip to the Bradley Center to watch Marquette in the championship game of the BCA Classic. The latter was the better game, but the former allowed me perhaps my only chance to see a game at the Kohl Center this year, and to check out the new scoreboard and renovations. Sadly, I missed the opportunity to see Brian Butch and Greg Stiemsma in action, as they sat on the bench nursing minor injuries. Luckily, I missed the chance to see Jason Chappell for the same reason. An impressive Badger squad, even without their three big men, pummeled a sound Platteville team into submission quickly. Unlike last week’s Parkside game, however, Platteville actually looked like a worthy opponent at times, but were just outmatched by talent and size. Not as drastically as Lawrence was when they played UWM, but it was still a rough night for the Pioneers. Enough rambling already, though–on to the bullet points.
1) Maybe I backed off of my comments about Michael Flowers taking minutes away from Kammron Taylor a bit too early. Flowers looked incredibly good on defense, and had great anticipation in the passing lanes. He will be a tremendous asset to the full-court press, and should he get enough minutes over his 4 years, I could definitely see him breaking Mike Kelley’s school record for steals. Taylor, though, still looks quick and confident, in addition to showing some nice post moves last night. Both will hold down the point spot quite nicely.
2) Walk-on Tanner Bronson, who is perhaps the youngest looking college basketball player that I’ve ever seen, enjoyed 15 minutes of time last night, providing depth because Jason Chappell, Brian Butch and Greg Stiemsma were on the bench in street clothes last night. In perhaps the only time a sub-6 foot player replaced three players 6'10" or taller, Bronson scored two points on foul shots and became the only man I’ve ever seen throw up an air-ball layup in an organized basketball game.
3) Yesterday confirmed for me that I am an excellent freeloader. In a 24-hour period, I was offered Marquette tickets 3 times and attended a Badger game with mid-court tickets that I purchased for a severely reduced price. Fortunately, I was able to give a little something back, as the Badger game kept me from using the Marquette tickets that I already had, and I was able to get rid of my tickets to allow some other folks to see some free basketball. Yeah, they were less-than-stellar seats, but Air Force-Marquette turned out to be a decent game.
4) Continuing on my Marquette digression, I think I heard that Travis Diener scored 34 last night? I’ve only seen him in one exhibition, but if that game, and his subsequent stats are any indicator, I think there is little doubt that Diener will be an All-American this year.
5) Back to the Badger game. Alando Tucker was explosive as always. He provided the first alley-oop dunk of the year on a breakaway. The best thing about the play was that the Platteville defender that was near him defended the play perfectly. He was simply unable to out-jump Tucker or touch the perfect pass he received. It was a beautiful play to watch.
6) There is no one better to talk about lesser-known high school basketball players and D-3 guys than Beau Sanders, my partner for the game last night. I spent much of the night pretending that I knew who he was talking about so that I could avoid looking uninformed. That guy knows way too much stuff.
7) The drive from Madison to Milwaukee after the game was rough in a drizzle, and I didn’t get home until late. The weeknight Badger game is something that I won’t do often, but certainly enjoyed last night (if not so much, this morning).
Not sure what’s on tap for tonight–I’ll have to check the TV listings. If all else fails, I've still got that recording of The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh to watch.