Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Wisconsin vs. UWGB: Rounding Out the State Matchups

Last night I plunked down on my couch to see the last of the in-state rivalry games this year, as Wisconsin hosted UW-Green Bay. Obviously as Wisconsin win was expected, but with their upset at the hands of the Phoenix at the Resch Center last year, I wasn’t willing to take anything for granted. It ended up being a fairly bland 70-54 win, but was interesting enough to bring forth a few notable thoughts, and I’ve left those below for you.

1) After watching Bob Knight diagram a play with a pen and a piece of scrap paper a little over a week ago, my friend Dez and I have been noticing an increased use of white boards by color commentators since this past weekend during basketball broadcasts. This is a good development, but I'd say that the Big Ten Network upped the ante last night with Jim Jackson's dry erase board that looked like a miniature version of one half of Wisconsin's court. Very cool, and I sort of want one, though I have no idea what I would do with it.

2) My favorite early moment of the game came when 5'10" Badger guard Wquinton Smith found himself defending 7'0" Phoenix center Alec Brown. Smith's effort in attempting to deny the entry pass was commendable, but some things just aren't going to work when you're giving up over a foot. Accordingly, an entry pass directly over Smith's head led to an easy Brown layup.

3) Well, they talked about it during the game, so I suppose I can chime in on the new Big Ten logo and division names for next year's expanded conference. Like just about everyone else, I'm not a fan of the logo. I'm a big fan of simplicity (look in my second dresser drawer and you'll find that roughly 50% of my t-shirts bear the name of a college in plain block lettering), but the new Big Ten logo is so simple that it almost feels like no one put any effort into it. Perhaps I'm spoiled by the awesome current logo that slyly weaves the number 11 into the words "Big Ten," Of course, compared to the "Legends" and "Leaders" monikers for the football divisions, the logo looks pretty good. I loved listening to Jim Jackson dance around the his feelings on the names during the broadcast as he repeatedly said about them "I'm gonna leave it alone." Solid move, Jim–when you can't defend your employer's decisions, better to say nothing.

4) Kudos to the Big Ten Network for throwing up a graphic showing color commentator Jim Jackson's chosen top-five players in the conference without deeming them the "Jackson Five," a moniker which was lamely forced into last year's broadcasts when Jackson gave his keys to the game. With Tim Doyle calling other games on the network, there's no need for any more forced jokes.

5) It was the debut for former Sussex Hamilton star Kameron Cerroni, who injured his knee last high school football season and had been anticipating redshirting his freshman year as he continued to recover. Nice to see that despite his layoff, Cerroni was not shy, jacking up plenty of three-pointers during his limited minutes. Hopefully once the rust is off, Cerroni will be back to his prolific-scoring self. The Phoenix could always use another reliable scorer.

6) So far this season there’s been a lot to talk about with the Badgers. The immediate emergence of Josh Gasser, the ascendence of Mike Bruesewitz (who had an outstanding game last night) to a starting role, and Keaton Nankivil’s recent solid play. With all that’s going on, I’ve nearly forgotten that Tim Jarmusz is on the team despite him still seeing significant minutes every game. And I’m actually okay with that. People start to complain about Jarmusz when there’s not much to talk about and when Wisconsin needs to lean on him too much. But Jarmusz is best when you can just plug him in and you don’t have to think about him. Here’s hoping that by the end of the season I’ve almost completely forgotten who Jarmusz is, because if that’s the case, then everyone (including Jarmusz) is doing his job.

Not a ton of observations today, but like I said, it was sort of a bland game (fittingly, I also prepared myself sort of a bland dinner for consumption during the game). Back tomorrow with thoughts on something, though I’m not totally certain what I’m going to watch. The smart money is on the DePaul-UWM game at this point.


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