Sunday, November 27, 2005

Wisconsin vs. Coastal Carolina: A Pleasant Diversion

Saturday night took me and my friend Kevin to the Wisconsin-Coastal Carolina game in Madison. While I would generally have spent the evening checking out one of the many second evenings of high school tournaments going on around the area (Milwaukee Vincent-Milwaukee Pius would have been awesome), it’s a rare treat for me to get tickets to a Badger game, so it was off to Madison for some big-time basketball fun. Thoughts are below:

1) I enjoyed player introductions, as Coastal Carolina’s two top players, and first two players introduced, were named Pele Paelay and Jack Leasure. Great names. Paelay’s name rivaled that of former Badger Duany Duany, and Jack Leasure sounds like the protagonist from an instructional video on how to play shuffleboard. And if you were thinking of making a joke about Leasure being related to the guy who used to play Joe Isuzu, don’t do it. Do you really think my friend Kevin and I wouldn’t have covered that?

2) During pre-game I had a craving for some ice cream and set off to find one of the concession stands selling UW-Madison’s own Babcock Hall ice cream (it’s a nice perk that Wisconsin has a department that makes some of the best ice cream that I’ve ever had). Sadly, I was not able to taste my favorite flavor from college, Orange Chocolate Chip (really, it’s better than it sounds), since it was not on the menu, and had to settle for Butter Pecan. Though I have to admit, Berry Alvarez is always a tempting flavor.

3) Ah, the game itself. The first notable piece of information had to be the play of Brian Butch. I still believe that Butch will be a phenomenal scorer, and has about the softest touch I’ve ever seen on a man of his size. He’s also bad with contact, and can’t finish lay ups in traffic. He’s the only guy I’ve ever seen that I’d rather see shooting from six feet out than two feet out.

4) DeAaron Williams had a great night, staying active and getting a couple of chances to show off his athleticism. I still think he’s probably sitting just outside of the real rotation, but he went a long way last night towards earning himself some playing time down the road.

5) A quick confidential note to my friend T.J. (and his family): That was an inspired prank phone call to my cell phone during the game, and was excellently executed by your sister. It was so well done that it even reeled me in for a moment (as Kevin will attest to). It took me until the next day to put all the pieces together, but I finally did. Well done.

6) Jason Chappell confuses the heck out of me. How can a guy that typically looks so uninterested in life look like he’s constantly trying hard when he’s placed on the basketball court. Chappell still somewhat lacks in talent, but you can’t help but like how hard he tries when he’s out there, even if when he’s sitting on the bench he looks like he couldn’t care less about what’s going on in the world around him.

7) Last night was a good chance to see the walk-ons get some minutes as the game came to a close, and as usual, Tanner Bronson was the first to enter the game, doing so to tremendous applause. My friend Kevin astutely wondered if Bronson ever gets tired of being a Rudy-like figure to everyone on campus. My best guess is that occasionally he does, but that this feeling is quickly erased as random students buy drinks for Tanner when he’s out at campus taverns.

8) Fellow walk-on Morris Cain had a phenomenal 2-minutes of garbage time, quickly hauling in two rebounds, scoring four points, and committing one foul. I’ll even overlook his horrifically missed foul shot, since Cain had one of the most prolific garbage time performances that I’ve ever seen.

9) Wisconsin ended up winning the game 92-54. Let’s just say that it wasn’t as close as the score indicates (sadly, I’m not even saying that in an attempt to be funny). I’d love to have had more to say about this game, but truthfully, when a team gets up by 50 at any point in the game, let alone with 10 minutes to go, there’s not much that you can tell from the game.

10) A quick post game note: I stopped in for a quick drink with friends at the Echo Tap after the game. Line of the night goes to the bartender from whom I ordered a pitcher of Pabst, who upon returning with my pitcher got a quizzical look on his face and said to me “Uh, let’s just call that $5 tonight.” If you say so, sir.

11) As always, special thanks to my friend Boo-Yah for the ticket hook up. It is always appreciated, even when Coastal Carolina fails to show up to play. Buzz Peterson is certainly a long way from Tennessee these days.

And so I began my drive home to check out the Marquette game that I’d recorded on TV. Which I suppose I should also chronicle. So check it out above.


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