Thursday, December 16, 2004

UWM vs. Wisconsin

I had started today’s entry a tad differently, but upon seeing my father upon arriving at my office today, I think he summed up the game the best with his greeting to me:

"Well, that wasn’t much of a game, was it?"

No, it wasn’t. It wasn’t hotly contested, it wasn’t pretty, and it wasn’t much of anything. After watching that game, I don’t even think I’d have been able to tell you how great the scoring differential was. As for my prediction, I’ve been wrong on about the last 9 things that I predicted, so why should that change now?

My thoughts? I’m glad you asked:

1) The venue for watching the game last night was the Potawatomi Casino Fire Pit Bar and Grill, one of my favorite places to take in a game in Milwaukee. I hadn’t been there in awhile, so I had forgotten how good their nachos are. Second only to a plate that I had in Charleston, South Carolina this past summer. Since I was at a bar, you’ll forgive me if some of my thoughts today are a bit muddled or weaker than usual. Chatting with the boys cut into some of my game watching.

2) Bruce Pearl has got to do better with his game-time attire. I thought the white t-shirt underneath the sport coat was a bad look when the sport coat was on. He looked even dumber when he angrily took the coat off, though, and he was just some guy with a t-shirt on. The guy is outfitted by Harley’s For Men, and frankly, at the moment, I don’t think they’re getting their money’s worth on this sponsorship.

3) I guess you have to say that a team played good defense when UWM only scores 37 points, and surely Wisconsin did, but seriously–could UWM have shot the ball any worse last night? Ed McCants continues on his quest to confuse me as to why he was named conference pre-season player of the year (particularly when he has teammates playing better than him right now).

4) I know Mike Wilkinson put up a double-double last night, played a bunch of minutes and looked nimble on a couple of post moves, but the fact that he came out of the game before the first TV timeout spoke volumes to me about where he’s at physically. I wish I knew what the injury he’s battling is, and I hope it’s gone as soon as possible.

5) My editor (if you haven’t noticed, I’m prone to typos), T.J. Grams, suggested that following a UWM-Wisconsin game, a James Wright reference might be in order. I say he’s right. Wright’s a pretty interesting story, fighting his way back from a broken leg three years ago (against Wisconsin) to return and give minutes to UWM this year. I hadn’t realized that Wright’s injury was a stress fracture until I read the article about him yesterday in the Journal Sentinel. Apparently he just started to leap for a rebound, the leg snapped and he couldn’t elevate. Creepy. I’m not sure whether to be impressed or underwhelmed that Wright decided to stick around school long enough to return to the court. If I was out of action for 2 years, I think I might just try to load up on credits and move on with my life. Then again, it appeared that Wright is in the education program at UWM (and apparently is on track to graduate), and based on people that I know that went through the School of Education, their administrative problems make 7 years of school a distinct possibility for anyone who goes through. Not just hulking basketball players with freak injuries.

6) Frankly, though I’m primarily a Badger fan, I was a bit disappointed in last night’s outcome. I wanted UWM to challenge Wisconsin, and make themselves look good as they lost. They had looked on the verge of a breakthrough this year, and though that’s still possible, most breakthrough years don’t include 29-point losses to teams that aren’t clicking on all cylinders yet. I still think they win the Horizon this year, but the chances of looking foolish in the upcoming game against Kansas just went way up. Of course, now that I’ve said that, they’re destined to beat Kansas by 7.

7) Ah, the Brian Butch saga continues. Solid, but unspectacular night for the big man. He even hit a couple three pointers, which leads me to the question: If I know that Brian Butch is a good three- point shooter, and he’s taking three point shots with regularity, why do I cringe when he sets up from behind the line? My head knows it’s a good idea, but some part of me is bothered by the big man on the perimeter. That said, I still think he’s going to be a very solid player once he picks up some skill at banging with big guys down low. Seven-foot guys who can shoot the three don’t exactly grow on trees. And even if he still has a weird physical build, he’s definitely not mentally soft.

8) Derrick Ford, why do you taunt us? You can be a big factor one night, or a non-factor others (like last night against Wisconsin, for example). Why are you doing this to us?

And, with that, I’m done for the day. I might take a day off tomorrow, too, since I may not be able to catch a game tonight due to my West Allis bowling league. Then again, something absurd is bound to happen with Bobby Knight on ESPN tonight coaching against his alma mater, The Ohio State. So maybe I’ll be back.

Oh, and a word to the wise, if you’re watching a game at a casino sports bar, just go home afterwards. And should you by some chance stick around to play a few hands of video poker, at least make sure that you don’t accidentally hit the "Bet Max" button that those bastard game-makers put right next to the "Deal" button. I can tell you that almost never turns out well.


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