Thursday, January 10, 2008

Wisconsin-Illinois thoughts

Earlier today, the prospect of a 10-point win over Illinois would have inspired a shrug and a grin from me. After watching tonight's 70-60 win, I'm feeling a lot happier, the result of my rekindled contempt for the Illini.

Realistically, these guys have just north of zero talent, and were lucky to score 60 points. Can't stand Meacham or Brock, both weenies. Pruitt ran down the court screaming after every shot he made. Randle has been around too long, he reminds me too much of the painful loss to Illinois at the Kohl Center two years ago. That alley-oop at the end of the game (the reverse of Alando's "I'll remember that" dunk for Izzo). They'll do well to make the NIT this year.

This is probably the adrenaline of a win over a conference rival talking, but I'm happy with the win.

The thoughts:

-Good start, and while they got back into the game, we never let them take the lead, which was key. We have some nice momentum-changers this year - Leuer against Michigan, Butch against Iowa, Hughes tonight. Last year it was Alando and Kam, who were great at that, but this year we have more options.

-Thought the officiating in the first half was horrible.

-Butch for 3! Like I said, just keep jacking them up! ;) Another solid game scoring and rebounding in front of his biggest broadcasting fans, but make the front ends of those one-and-ones.

-What a great game for Pop. The 22 points were nice, and big for giving us breathing room, but I think he also had five assists and six steals, which were more impressive. It was important for him to have another 20-plus scoring night, so he remembers he can do it. Did think he took some bad shots, some shots too quickly, but he made a couple of them. Can't wait to see him get even better over the next 2-1/2 years.

-The crowd seemed fairly restrained during some pivotal moments, maybe a sign of how Illinois is now perceived - a rival, but a team we should definitely beat.

-As much as I don't have time for most of that team, I love Chester Frazier, he's all guts. The time he dove into the crowd for the loose ball, I almost wanted to applaud. Not much on offense, but a nice defender and character guy.

-Flowers has to stop getting into foul trouble, we don't have enough guys who can check scoring guards. Trent Meacham and Calvin Brock shouldn't combine for 28 points against the St. Frances Cabrini seventh graders, let alone a top defensive squad like ours.

-Early on I wrote down "great rebounding," then crossed it off emphatically as Illinois did a job on us on the offensive glass. Credit their effort.

-Came in on the conversation late, but I believe Brent Musberger and Steve Lavin were talking about Erin Andrews when Musberger said something to the effect of "When she goes to meet Hugh Hefner, I want to go with her." Yeah, me too Brent! Should be cause for some awkwardness among co-workers. Or did I hear that wrong?

Update: Check out the exchange on YouTube.

-Speaking of the announcing team, I started a drinking game where every time Musberger or Lavin commented on Illinois's newfound "bounce" or "step" or "wind in their sails," and I am totally hammered now.

-Did you see St. Louis scored 20 points tonight? And Brad Soderberg isn't even their coach any more!

-Lastly, kudos to UWM for knocking off Valparaiso tonight. Apparently Rob Jeter's formula for success is to kick your leading returning scorer off the team, same for this year's leading scorer, wave goodbye to a starting guard, and leave your top two freshman in street clothes. I don't get how it's working, but the Panthers are winning now, which is terrific, wish them nothing but the best.


Toohey said...


Thank you for the picture of Erin Andrews.

That is all.

Kevin Hazaert said...

When are we going to see the poll for hottest sideline babe?

- Erin Andrews
- Rachel Nichols
- Stacey Dales
- Sam Ryan (vastly underrated)

UWM ... by god, I don't know how he's doing it, but Jeter has them playing fantasic.

For weeks early in the season, he kept on saying this team was searching for its identity.

Well, as you said Tap, I guess they had to kick off their leading scorer from last year (Smith), kick off this year's leading scorer (T. Johnson), let the "homesick" crybaby go home to Iowa (Gentry) and banish this season's prized recruits (Flowers & K. Johnson).

Jeter himself has overgone a noticable change, too. With a "shorter" bench (still goes 10 deep), he's not so quick with the hook and seems to be doing more coaching than scolding. He seems to be at ease and the players are more relaxed and just playing the game.

Also, Jeter tweaked the swing offense a bit ... looking more like a motion offense at times (the high screens are still there).

It's been an interesting two months of hoops so far.

No. 14 Butler at Hinkle on Saturday at 1 p.m. ... Think I'll be able to get Stadium View in Green Bay to switch one of the TVs over to Time Warner Sports to watch it before the Packers game? :)

Will said...

Really nice to watch the game last night. Agree with you Tappa - it seemed like there was an UW attitude during the gane along the likes of "no matter how many times you cut the lead or go on a run, you're still not beating us." Which was nice to see.

Hughes' assists were most impressive to me. First he had the pass along the baseline that set up the 3-pointer. Then he had that nice feed to Leur who came down the lane for the dunk.

Caught that EA moment as well. It was odd. Lavin basically said that the Badger fans were chanting "Erin Andrews, Erin Andrews." Which prompted Mustberger to get creepy.

Millie said...

Good thoughts Taps. I thought that JBo had a good game last night as well. The two threes were very nice to see (echo Will's thought on Hughes' outstanding play on the baseline to set up the second one) and the little runner was fantastic.

I wish he would penetrate a little more. He's capable, but seems to still be a bit tentative to be that aggressive on offense still. In two years, though, they will be one hell of a backcourt.

deuces said...

Here is the video of the creepy Musburger / Erin Andrews comment: Awful Announcing

Glad I wasn't the only one in the world that did a DVR rewind after hearing that...

Scott Tappa said...

Thanks for the link Andy, that's helpful. I can't believe Musberger's still going, but if Pat Summerall is ...

Good point on J-Bo, Millie. He's developing into a 7-8 ppg guy this year who'll likely graduate to 12-13 next year and 15-16 his senior season. Hopefully. My favorite play of his last night was not his 3 from the corner, but his little runner/floater, he made one of those late against Michigan, too.