Finally, Wisconsin-UW-Green Bay (and Marquette Wisconsin Prediction)
Finally, a few comments on the Wisconsin-UW-Green Bay game. I hope to never be this painfully slow again.
1) Color man Charlie wills was wearing a bad, plain striped tie. Combined with his basic navy blazer, he looked like an overgrown second-grader dressed up for his school Christmas concert. Not a good look at all.
2) My DVR box had some issues recording the game apparently, and thus, the game broadcast didn’t come through perfectly on my recording. There was something off digitally, and it was sort of like watching the game on a really big webcam. I kept waiting for Horatio Sans and Jimmy Fallon to bust onto the screen. At least I got to generally see what the game was like, though.
3) There are many things to love Mike Wilkinson for, but this year I think he’s taken his post moves to another level. Watching that guy pivot and spin is unbelievable. It made me think of his Badger predecessors in this area, and how he seems to be a perfect combination of Mark Vershaw and Freddie Owens. Vershaw, of course, was the greatest ever user of the pivot, not only at Wisconsin, but perhaps anywhere. Unlike Vershaw, who would simply pivot until his man either 1) got dizzy and fell down, or 2) got frustrated and walked away, Wilkinson pivots to further an actual basketball move that is greater than the pivot itself. Usually the pivot is parlayed into a spin move, which Freddie Owens was the master of. Unlike Owens, however, Wilkinson is generally under control and not carrying the ball on his hip while he spins. Wilkinson may not be as great at pivoting as Vershaw, or as dedicated a spinner as Owens, but when he combines the two things, he’s more effective than both of them.
4) An interesting fun-fact brought up on the broadcast was that UW-Green Bay’s mascot, the Phoenix, was chosen by a student vote in 1970, and was a switch over from the old moniker of the "Bay Badgers." The people thinking up the old nickname apparently were not the most creative lot in the world. Still, at least Wisconsin (with the exception of Stevens Point) is out of its creative funk, while Minnesota still has the St. John’s Johnnies, the St. Thomas Tommies, the St. Olaf Oles, and the Gustavus Adolphus Gusties.
5) Well, Jason Chappell got some time in the second half of the Green Bay game, and took no time in reinforcing my low opinion of him as a basketball player. His first action was to inbound the ball to point-guard Sharif Chambliss, and it was a fitting moment for the lazy-looking Chappell, as his inbounds pass looked more like he just dropped the ball on the floor. About two minutes later, Chappell took his first shot of the game, a 3-pointer. I recognize that Wisconsin’s big men are supposed to be able to shoot the three, but I don’t think Chappell ever actually entered the lane during his 5 minutes on the floor. For a guy that’s 6'10", I think that’s a problem.
6) UW-Green Bay had some of the greatest uniforms that I’ve ever seen. The green and red combo had a retro-Bucks feel to it, and the font on the jerseys was small and understated. If I’m ever on the Green Bay campus for some reason, I’m definitely tracking down the bookstore and looking for one of these things.
7) Charlie Wills kept referring to Javier Mendiburu’s "limp ankle," since Mendiburu still had a lingering ankle injury during the game. Was the ankle really "limp," though? I’ve had ankle injuries before, and my ankle is never really limp–it gets swollen and stiff, not limp. Perhaps Wills was trying to come up with a creative way to talk about Mendiburu limping. I don’t really know. In any event, I liked Mendiburu’s play enough that I won’t make fun of his name as I had promised to do earlier. However, I will say that he’s perhaps the only division one player that I’ve ever seen who elevates less than I do on a jump shot. Maybe his limp ankle was holding him back.
8) Tyler Koenig, of UWGB and Andreas Helmigk were really going at it underneath the hoop last night. I think about 5 of their collective fouls were off-the-ball fouls on one another. Had time not expired, I think Koenig might have walked away with the Intercontinental Title Belt.
9) It has to be asked–where did Matt Rhode go during this game? A key scorer for the Phoenix, he got off very few shots. Lets hope for the sake of UW-Green Bay’s season that last night’s defensive lock-down of Rhode is a rarity.
As for tomorrow’s Marquette-Wisconsin game, I predict two things: 1) a decisive Wisconsin victory (72-59), and 2) fun for anyone in downtown Milwaukee tomorrow night. Actually make that three things: Marcus Jackson will be in foul trouble early, trying to check Wisconsin’s crafty big men. Whatever happens, though, I’m glad I’ll be in the building. Buying that row of seats a couple months ago was a great idea.