Wisconsin vs. Wofford: Costume Night
With my errands for the night completed, last night I sat down with great excitement to watch the Wisconsin-Wofford game which I had DVR’d. My excitement obviously wasn’t over the game itself, since Wofford isn’t one of those teams that makes for a can’t-miss game. But last night was throwback night at Wisconsin, and I’m a sucker for goofy-looking throwback attire. And given that Wisconsin’s last national championship in basketball came over 65 years ago, goofy-looking was almost a given for the night. Thoughts below:
1) I’m officially upset that ESPN chose not to send their HD equipment to Madison last night. I understand that Wisconsin vs. Wofford isn’t exactly the matchup that demands high-tech treatment, but it sort of bothers me that the Rutgers-Maryland women’s game beforehand was broadcast in high definition when it’s Wisconsin’s throwback uniform night. I mean, if you’re programming ESPN, are you sending your HD equipment to the women’s game, or to record a bunch of tall, lanky guys running around in goofy candy-cane socks. The lanky guys? Yeah, me too.
2) Not a good feeling when ESPN2 cuts into the game one minute in and I see that a timeout has been called, neither of Wisconsin’s starting big guys are in the game, and the Badgers are down by 3. What the heck goes that wrong in just one minute? At least Tanner Bronson wasn’t in the game (though Jason Bohannon’s presence scared me a bit, given that the two have the same haircut and slight build...).
3) Brian Butch has officially perfected the "I just grabbed this rebound with one hand because the guy beside me tangled up his arm with mine" move. Much as I like Butch, I’m still glad the refs aren’t buying into his theatrics.
4) Wofford’s seriously missing their assignments in boxing out when Jason Bohannon is tipping in missed shots.
5) For awhile I thought the fact that Marcus Landry looked cool in Wisconsin’s throwback socks meant that he could make anything look cool. Then I noticed that the only other guy on the floor who looked sort of cool in the socks was Joe Krabbenhoft. So now I’m just thinking that a height of 6'7" is the sweet spot for this particular item of clothing.
6) After watching a handful of other teams over the last few days, the end of first half of last night’s game illuminated to me what’s so weird about watching Wisconsin play. Obviously Wofford wasn’t particularly great at shooting the ball, or well, even keeping from turning the ball over. But I still looked up at the end of the half and was surprised to see Wisconsin up by 18. With most of the other teams that I enjoy watching play, you know when they’re burying an opponent. For instance, when Marquette started raining three-pointers on UWM the other night, you knew it was on. But with Wisconsin, you just sort of watch them hit layups and forget that those are also worth points. It’s so obvious that it’s almost sneaky.
7) Congrats to Corey Godzinski for fouling out with 18:33 to play, and becoming the earliest fouled-out player that I’ve ever seen. I can’t imagine it was fun for anyone on the Wofford team being down 17 points and seeing their top scorer exiled to the sidelines.
8) I’ve got to agree with color commentator Stephen Bardo on the Greg Stiemsma-Junior Salters altercation: it looked like an unbelievably dirty move by Stiemsma. I can’t even figure out how to defend that one. I hope the coaches lay into Stiemsma for that one.
9) I enjoyed the foul shooting form of Wofford’s Noah Dahlman, or as I now like to call him, “basketball Julio Franco.”
10) I’m sure Brian Butch’s mother greatly appreciates the lengths that the ESPN announcers took to talk about the fact that she was biting her nails while on camera. At one point, I think Stephen Bardo stopped just short of saying “The game is so out of hand that Nancy Butch can’t possibly be nervously biting her nails, so she must just have a filthy habit.” Let that be a lesson to all you parents of division one athletes–be on your best behavior when ESPN’s in town.
11) The jury’s still out on what Wisconsin can do against high calabur teams, but I do at least appreciate that the Badgers resoundingly take care of their business against teams that they’re supposed to beat. It makes the non-conference season so much less stressful.
And with Wofford disposed of, that means that both Wisconsin and Marquette are free to focus on their showdown this Saturday. Always one of the highlights of my year, this one should be extra-interesting, as it presents the Golden Eagles’ best chance in some time at stealing a game at the Kohl Center. And who doesn’t love the classic big guys vs. quick guards match-up. So until Saturday, I’ll be working hard to distract myself so that I don’t spend all my time thinking about the game. I’m thinking that tomorrow night’s contest between my adopted west coast team (Tony Bennett’s Washington State Cougars) and ESPN’s west coast darling (Gonzaga) should be at least one excellent distraction. Until later...