Thursday, January 25, 2007

More from one long, quick road trip

It's like 130pm on Thursday right now, and my body has come to the ugly realization that recovering from this Madison trip is not going to be easy, especially because I plan on getting messed up tonight. We left for Madtown at 1pm on Wednesday, arrived at the Kohl Center at 6pm central time. I then watched the debacle of a game which I'll get to later, wrote my story for the paper, and left the city at 1130 central time. I didn't get back to my room until 630am eastern time, getting little to no sleep along the way. With the loss too, I'd have to say it was a pretty dreadful trip, but atleast I don't have to go to Bloomington on Saturday for a noon tip. That one would have been equally brutal given my reluctance to give up a night of drinking. But here's some interesting tidbits that I thought would interest you about the whole experience:

-I never thought it would happen, especially with a coach like Amaker, but I had a Jim Boeheim/Gerry McNamara from last year's Big Ten Tourny moment with Tommy. When reading this you should take note that at Wisco's press conferences, the coach is up on a raised table/podium and the people asking questions also have a mic. Here's how it went down:
Me: Coach, where do you go from here with another tough road game against Indiana coming up on Saturday, given that 18 of their 24 baskets were layups and your seniors committed 16 of your 19 turnovers? Is it time to go back to the drawing board?
Amaker (please note that he pointed his finger at me first and then proceeded to stare me down as he said the whole thing): Listen we are in the middle of the conference race. We came here in second place, and we're going to be fine. Just because we didn't play well tonight, we aren't ready to tank our basketball team. We aren't. We are going to go back and compete. We're going to go to Bloomington and see if we can get a win there. We wouldn't be much of a team if we had to go back to the drawing board because of one road loss."

Just to comment on that statement of his: You aren't much of a basketball team, and that's why in six years as head coach Tommy has just four Big Ten road wins over teams not named Northwestern or Penn State. And about the game, well to be honest Wisconsin played like shit and the game was there to be had. If Michigan was good they could have pulled off the upset. But when DIon Harris and Lester commit 4 turnovers apiece and Courtney Sims commits 7 himself, you are going to be doomed. And it was readily apparent how outcoached Michigan was. Bo Ryan admitted afetrwards that he had told his players to take it to the hole against the "pressure defense" of the Wolverines. That's why they got 18 layups. They also made use of pump fakes to avoid any blocks by Udoh or Petway. They are a good team that found a way to win without playing their best game. It's something that Michigabn probably will never do as long as Tommy is coach.

It's sad because they didn't
even play well

-Well in my previous post I commented on how empty the arena was before tipoff. But to be honest that place filled up pretty quick and was by far the loudest arena I've ever been in.

-I met former Wisco football coach and current AD Barry Alvarez post game. I just said hello because didn't have the time or mental wherewithal to get in a full out convo with the guy.

-Devin Harris was at the game, wearing an Alando Tucker jersey. The crowd serenaded him with chants for awhile. Texans tight end Owen Daniels was there too but it felt like most people didn't even know who he was so he just got some mild applause.

-Here's another great postgame quote, this time from Bo Ryan
Media Person: Do you think the guys on the bench got motivated to perform like they did once Alando went out with two fouls?
Bo: If any player on my team got motivation from that, they would have their scholarship taken away. That's crap and that's not what we're about. You can write that down."

-So at Wisconsin they have three players come up to the podium for postgame questions. After this one it was Brian Butch, Marcus Landry and Tucker. Literally the press asked Landry and Butch one question apiece and spent the next 20 minutes grilling Tucker. As they were walking out I heard Landry go to Tucker: "Man I ain't walking all the way across the arena again just to get disrespected and watch a bunch of old dudes suck your dick, Tuck." He didn't think anyone heard it until myself and the daily photographer with me starting dying of laughter.

-The student section started chanting "NIT" late in the game. So appropriate and so great.

-On the way to the game, as we drove through the Chicago area, we decided to listen to some Chitown sports talk radio, and I must say it was highly entertaining. Obviously they were talking a shitload about the Bears, given that they are in the Super Bowl and this great debate came up: the classic Chicago argument. Who would win in a fight: Ditka or Lovie Smith? The radio guys literally talked about it for like a half hour, and came to the conclusion that althought Lovie has the quickness advantage because of Ditka's bad hips, the size and power of Ditka would win out.

Ditka is way too old
to win this fight

-On another note, when the radio guys started talking about the Bulls, I decided to call in. I said I was from Barrington. But the reason I called in was that these jackasses had the audacity to say the Bulls would be coming out of the east this season. I reminded them of the 20-point drubbing courtesy of the Wiz at the United Center just 3 weeks ago. Of course, I got flushed.

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