Wisconsin vs. Florida State: Salvaging Some Pride For the Big Ten
I got to watch the Wisconsin game on TV last night in two separate halves, since I had a non-basketball related appointment right in the middle of the game. I’d like to thank the Badgers for taking it to FSU good enough that my first Tivo error of the year, forgetting to record past the specified two hour game time, resulted in no harm, as the game was out of reach by the 3:37 mark when things cut out. Game thoughts below:
1) I’m torn as to whether I liked Bo Ryan’s red blazer last night. On one hand, I’ve always liked the school pride factor that has been advanced when other coaches like Bruce Weber and Bruce Pearl have gone with the ugly blazer in school colors. On the other hand, when it’s your own guy, you sort of realize how cheesy a gimmick the colorful blazer is. Ryan looked sort of like the mascot that I’ve been advocating my old high school should switch to as they shift away from Native American imagery. But as great a mascot idea as the "Red Corporate Raiders" is, I don’t know that I want someone who resembles the mascot coaching my team.
2) I had actually forgotten to include a point about Brian Butch’s first credited basket of the game, but as usual, my friend Dez saved me with this message before my morning edit:
Please tell me that any recap of the Badger game today will include the Butch fist-pumping / sneer when he was credited with the basket that the FSU guy tipped in. I think Butch even ran down court pointing at someone, as if he was recognizing an assist. Gotta love the polar bear.
3) Anyone else notice that on Kammron Taylor’s excellent steal coming out of the 16-minute timeout, as he streaked down the court and got his break away lay-up blocked, none of his teammates were trailing him? I don’t think anyone came back into frame on the TV coverage until after FSU brought the ball back over half court. Doesn’t that seem a tad lazy for a team that goes 10 deep?
4) I’m still trying to figure out when exactly I realized that Florida State was as super-athletic as advertised. I’ve narrowed it down to the moment when Al Thornton dunked in traffic after banging with Alando Tucker and Jason Bohannon, or the moment when Al Thornton actually jumped over Greg Stiemsma to dunk the ball. Wow.
5) Alando Tucker’s eye-poke was one of those rare moments when I wished I wasn’t watching a game in high definition. Tucker’s eye swelling was pretty apparent after the poke, and the bloody tear that fell out of his eye as he sat on the bench was pretty tough for me to look at. I’m abnormally squeamish to begin with (I blacked out momentarily in middle school when we had to watch a birthing video for health class), but the eyes are a particular area of fear for me. Good to see Tucker’s injury was only momentary. Now let’s never speak of that incident again.
6) Yep, it was a Wisconsin game, as Al Thornton was subject to an obscene cheer that was clearly audible on TV after he scored during Tucker’s injury. As usual with fan cheers, it was unfairly directed at him.
7) I love Rick Majerus. Normally I praise him because of his wit, or just because I relate to him, since we’re both fat guys from Milwaukee who grew up playing basketball at the same locales during different eras. But he also knows his stuff. Last night I was convinced by the end of the first half that Majerus knew more about the Wisconsin team than even I, a guy who devotes every moment of his free time to this stuff, does. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, given that Majerus is an obsessive basketball mind, and makes his residence in the Milwaukee area, which would imply that he would know more of these tidbits than just about anyone else. Nonetheless, when he dropped in a comment about Jason Bohannon having younger brothers that were anticipated to be just as good as Jason, I found myself thinking "How the hell does Majerus know all of this stuff?" I still feel guilty that one of my earliest basketball memories was going to a Marquette game with my dad back when Majerus was coaching and thinking "Who’s that screaming idiot on the sidelines." Who knew that idiot was a genius?
8) Could the television camera have been any less flattering to governor Jim Doyle last night? First, ESPN caught him yawning and rubbing his entire face with his hand, looking generally exhausted. Then when they went back to him a second time, it got worse, as the governor smiled. Let’s just say that while I didn’t find the money to donate to the governor’s recent campaign, I’d be happy to donate to the "Jim Doyle Teeth Whitening Fund."
9) Did Brian Butch actually make a steal on the perimeter, in a guard-like fashion this game, or did someone just poke me in the eye rendering me blind?
10) Does someone have an official charge count last night? How did FSU not learn to stop running into guys. At the rate that the ‘Noles were going last night, I shudder at the thought of them playing against Duke. An NCAA charge record could be broken.
11) Was anyone else worried on FSU guard Jason Rich’s vicious dunk in the second half that he was going to break off the outstretched hands of Brian Butch? I was pretty happy when I saw that Butch’s hands got out of the way and that he wasn’t harmed.
12) My general game thoughts? I’m happy with the win, for Wisconsin, and because it means that Northwestern isn’t the only team keeping the Big Ten afloat in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. I’m still guarded in my optimism, since this was one of the hotter shooting nights that I’ve seen from the Badgers, and things won’t be falling like that every night. But in general, I’m happy that things are back on track, and happy that the boys are back to taking it to more athletic teams.
Back tomorrow after the marquee game of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, North Carolina vs. Ohio State.