Wisconsin vs. Edgewood: Did Edgewood Walk To the Kohl Center?
After returning home from the Marquette exhibition, I plunked myself down on the couch to enjoy the first Wisconsin exhibition game of the year. Back to back first looks at the two teams that I see most was undoubtedly exciting, and the fact that I could end my weekend on my couch eating a huge sandwich and watching the Badgers made me feel great. My first exhibition game thoughts below:
1) I’m not sure I’ve liked a set of Badger uniforms this much since about 1995. Nice switch from some truly awful uniforms over the last two years. Of course, this also means that I’m going to have to head to the University Bookstore sometime in the near future to pick up a discounted jersey, as they try to push the old out to make way for the new. I learned a few years ago that a Mike Kelley jersey’s much cheaper when people start to forget who Mike Kelley was.
2) I lack some familiarity with Madison Edgewood’s team, and thus, forward Charlie Averkamp is really the only player of note that I was aware of for the Eagles coming into the game. I love Averkamp, particularly because he’s a senior, because now it’s so much easier for me to envision him playing in a rec league next year and putting up obscene stats when the other team just picks one of its worst guys and says to him “You can guard that chunky guy who probably can’t get up and down the floor.”
3) Speaking of Averkamp, props to broadcast team Craig Coshun and Shon Morris for pronouncing his name right using their third option last night. I wasn’t sure where they were getting the name “Overkamp” from, since there’s clearly an “A” at the start of the name.
4) I’m not sure that I recalled much about him before this game, but I generally enjoyed color man Shon Morris’ basketball points last night. His goofy one-liners, however, seemed out of place at times, and served as a reminder of why I’ll never be earning money as a color commentator. A few of his most conspicuous zingers:
“If you abuse an eagle [Edgewood’s mascot] like that in real life, PETA’s going to be all over you”
“I’m not saying Tanner Bronson looks young, but I think he got ID’d trying to see Transformers”
And I don’t recall exactly what he said, but he at one point implied that Wisconsin’s 1992 exhibition loss to the Russian national team happened in part because the Russians were frightened to go to Siberia in the event of a loss.
5) I think Michael Flowers just stole the ball again for a breakaway layup. Nice to have him back, huh?
6) Since he had a huge debut last night, let’s go with two Jon Leuer points. Based solely on what I’d read about him and getting a brief look at his build at Night of the Grateful Red, I figured Leuer would be the most likely redshirt candidate of the Badgers three freshmen. Um yeah, I think it’s pretty safe to say that Leuer won’t be redshirting. Most guys that lead the first game in scoring tend to play a bit. Never believe what you read.
7) Before Leuer even started throwing points on the board, it struck me that he looked oddly bigger on TV than in person, where he was one of the skinniest athletes that I had ever seen. Leuer’s skinny in-person build didn’t bother me, though, because his build reminds me of a young Mike Wilkinson, who put on and carried extra muscle well. As some will forget, before Wilkinson became a rock-solid post presence for the Badgers, he was a skinny perimeter-oriented forward. A comparison between the two is almost invited, however the thing that I find interesting is that unlike Wilkinson, Leuer’s going to have competent big men around him for years to come. Will Leuer bulk up like Wilkinson (who’s outside shot always seemed less consistent to me after his transformation), or stay lighter and more built to roam around outside? I’ll be staying tuned…
8) A few years ago, back when Brian Butch decided to redshirt for the Badgers, I got really excited at the though of Butch and Greg Stiemsma playing together as seniors. Now here we are, and I think I may be even more excited about the thought of Jon Leuer and Keaton Nankivil as seniors. Things are progressing nicely at Wisconsin.
9) Bo Ryan sure wasn’t showing what his lineup will be last night, playing all of his guys for a reasonable number of minutes. Aside from having Michael Flowers out of the starting lineup, you knew things were a bit off when you saw three freshmen and two walk-ons (actually, I think Morris Cain has a scholarship this year, right? But you know what I mean…) on the floor to close the first half. No Kevin Gullikson, though, who I presume was injured.
10) I’ve got hugely mixed feelings on the Big Ten Network (love the access to games, hate all other programming, and still questioning their role in the impasse with the big cable companies), and that will come out over time. But if the guy who won ESPN’s Dream Job game show to become a sports anchor is running the halftime desk and acting as one of your main hosts of studio shows (I’m particularly perplexed by the Friday Night football show he hosts where he talks with field reporters who “report” on things like how much school spirit exists in a dorm cafeteria at Michigan state), your channel probably has some room to grow. Although, I’m sort of hoping that they’ll track down the “Boom goes the dynamite!” guy from Ball State and give him a show. At least he’d give you something entertaining to watch during the 6 months of the year that the BTN is without football or basketball, and there will therefore be no reason to turn the channel on.
11) Saw some Indiana highlights at halftime and I have to say that it was jarring to see D.J. White without his trademark floppy white t-shirt. I may actually have to remember his number (3) this year.
12) Great commercial at the half for the Listen Up personal sound amplifier, which I had seen a commercial for while watching a sporting event weeks ago. I was sort of disappointed, though, when the various use scenarios (hearing a church sermon, checking up on your kids on the playground) that were shown in the commercial did not include the obvious one from the prior commercial that I had seen—the creepy dude at the gym listening in on what a couple of spandex-clad women were talking about. Like creepily spying isn’t the first thing that everyone thinks of when they see this device advertised...
13) I want to like J.P. Gavinski, but his hands last night made me wonder if he lacks opposable thumbs.
14) Favorite plays last night included Greg Stiemsma catching a blocked shot and tossing an outlet pass before his feet hit the ground, Michael Flowers behind-the-back assist, Jon Leuer’s dunk off a Jason Bohannon assist, and Marcus Landry’s screaming dunk where the Edgewood players looked legitimately frightened to get anywhere near him.
And as the Badgers finished drubbing their division three foes, I sat on my couch smiling, and more enthused about this year’s Wisconsin team than I had before. The season is finally here, and it’s going to be good.