Friday, March 28, 2008

UW-Davidson thoughts

Boy, am I glad I didn't drag my family to Detroit for that craptastic display of basketball. Before getting into the pity party full swing, let's get the two disclaimers out of the way.

Davidson played very well, deserved to win. They are a legit team. Still think Kansas will beat them, but it's not as sure a thing as I would have thought three hours ago.

This Badger team far exceeded my wildest expectations. Terrific season, guys. In the coming days I will reflect in greater detail.

To lighten the mood, here's a picture of Erin Andrews holding a bag of fish. Courtesy of

OK, then. Let's get to the gruesome details.

-That was embarrassing.

Two days ago Millie commented:

"I've watched this team play far too many games to think that they're going to have their first 'bad' game since the Duke debacle now."

Frank commented:

"Given the fact that they haven't had a truly bad loss all season ..."

And I whole-heartedly agreed. Well, there it is, a truly bad loss. Again, Davidson played well, but we've beaten better squads than that this year. I saw a lot of bad firsts out of the Badgers:

-First time I remember two turnovers in the backcourt that were not press-related. They came on lazy lapses in concentration after rebounds.

-First time I remember the Badgers allowing a transition basket after made baskets - twice! Davidson is quick, but I'd wager Texas and Michigan State are quicker.

-First time I've seen a Badger opponent in the bonus with 15:24 left in a half. That's lazy, play-with-your-hands defense.

-First time I've seen a Badger team take two timeouts in one offensive possession, in the first half.

-First time I've seen the Badgers attempt more 3-pointers than 2-pointers. Could be wrong, but it seems like an anomaly.

Sure was a bad time for all that to hit at once. Let's review my game keys.

-Stephen Curry's going to get his points, but we have to make him work for them and beat him up in the process. The job falls on everyone, not just Flowers. Flowers was on an island out there and did the best he could. Curry got his, but he still needed 22 shots to do it. The failure with Curry was not exploiting him more on defense.

-Turn Richards into a shooter and cut off his feeds to their bigs - Sander, Meno, and Lovedale. Richards made a couple ridiculous shots, but he was 4-of-13 overall, so pretty good there. But he had close to 10 assists, and Lovedale had 12, including a couple spirit-crushing dunks.

-Pound the ball inside to Butch, Landry, and Stiemsma. Landry had just four field goal attempts, Stiemsma three, and Butch nine - six of them 3-pointers. UW took 23 3-pointers and 22 2-pointers, and missed eight free throws.

In retrospect, Davidson outplayed Wisconsin in the first half, but all our made 3-pointers obscured that fact.

-I don't think Hughes' injury was a deciding factor in this game, nor was fatigue. In the NCAA Tournament TV timeouts are about 10 minutes long, so the kids get plenty of rest.

-Text message from Burch at 7:02 p.m.: "pound the f'in ball inside!"

-Text message from Burch at 7:24 p.m.: "i feel like this is cabrini-holy angels." I think in his mind Davidson was playing like my mighty St. Frances Cabrini Warriors, Wisconsin like the downtrodden little guys from Holy Angels. A brief good memory to offset the pain.

-The United Colors of Davidson, with their geographically diverse roster, whipped our fannies. I've been trying to work up some of my patented post-loss bitterness, and all I can come up with is this: Davidson is being treated like the ultimate feel-good story, but basically it's an elitist school for children of privilege. A lot was made of the college (smaller than West Bend East and West combined) paying for any student who wanted to get to the game. Great, but what pays for that? Their $41,000-per-year tuition! How about funding some scholarships for some underprivileged kids?

Yeah, it's weak and a reach, that's all I have ...

-And now the "Even Lebron James wanted Davidson to win" storyline will probably get some legs, it made the first-draft Associated Press gamer.

-Len Elmore is one of my favorite basketball analysts, he does a great job in a low-key manner. Gus Johnson is good, just wish tonight he wasn't calling Cinderella beating my team.

-Silver lining: one more game of balanced scoring, with four guys between 10 and 12 points. Davidson really did play good defense.

I understand that Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline" was Davidson's theme song for the tournament, and heard it playing coming out of the last TV timeout. Interesting, that ties back to another painful loss in my fan history. After Super Bowl XXXII, in which the Packers lost to the inferior Broncos, we went at it hard, prompting a later-arriving Will to say, "Did I see the wrong score?"

That night I fell asleep/passed out on the floor with my hand on the CD player belonging to the boys on Bowen Court, repeating "Sweet Caroline" to Toohey's dismay. Currently, I'm on my fourth Leinie's Sunset Wheat, but promise you it will not be anything like downing Todd White's homemade apple cider schnapps made out of Everclear and, I think, an apple Jolly Rancher.

It took me a long time to get over that loss, both physically and emotionally. In fact, it was probably the loss that convinced me not to put anything and everything on the line for a sporting event. So this loss won't be that bad. I'm too proud of these kids for all they accomplished this season, and for all the joy they brought basketball fans in Wisconsin.

Tomorrow Jana and I will go car shopping in preparation for #2's arrival (anyone have any insights on SUV vs. minivan, specifically Honda Pilot vs. Toyota Sienna or Honda Odyssey?), and we'll spend a Will-free night of dining, movies, and relaxation at the Paper Valley Inn in Appleton.

But we'd planned on making it home for the Badger game Sunday. Now we don't have to. Bummer.


Will said...

Good recap, Tappa. Most agree with your point about the Badgers beating as good or better teams, especially when Texas was beating up Stanford at the same time in the other region.

I thought the play where Curry faked Krabbenhoft into the fifth row and then drained a jumper was pretty symbolic of the game. Credit Curry and Davidson for dealing with all the hype this week and delivering a huge game. Good luck to them against Kansas.

This was a strong season, and one of the great things about the program is that there is no reason not to think we can't get contend for the same honors next year. It's also nice to read that our incoming recruits are doing well in their postseason.

Burch said...

Having purchased my first 6-pack of Miller Lite in perhaps 2 years, I was really geared up for this game. As T said, Davidson deserved to win. And even though Curry's little boyish smirk rekindled the same sick feelings I used to get watching Jordan and the Bulls, the guy was phenominal.

I do disagree with T on Gus Johnson -- I can't stand him. He makes a basic 12-foot jumper sound like it's gonna be the first clip of "One Shining Moment". He's even worse calling a football game....

Ed said...

Man that was tough to watch. Good recap, although I think if anything you understate how flustered and panicy UW was. I am still shellshocked how being down 3 became down 15 within about 5 real-time minutes. Davidson just had some jedi shooting skills. A great season, but would have been more satisfying to lose to a Kansas or another bully like we did in 2005. That loss will take a lot longer to get over.

I have a Toyota Highlander and like it a lot, although I hear the Pilot is good. I have #1 on the way myself, and I have confidence the Highlander will be enough for at least a couple more.

Scott Tappa said...

Jedi shooting skills, I like that.

Thanks for the car tip, Ed. The Highlander is actually the fourth one we're considering, but it seems smaller than the Pilot. We'll probably test drive it today and see.

Frank said...

I love Bo Ryan, but wow was he at his worst last night. Unprepared. The best I can say about the offensive plan was it was aimless. Wisconsin has struggled on O before, but because of execution. Not because we spend 25 seconds dribbling while everyone stands around, and then just jack up a 3. I'll never understand it. Bad, bad, bad.

Mr.Man said...

I cannot believe you gave the Ok to the announcers. Those guys were simply terrible. Johnson thinks we have one white guy on the team and his name is Brian Butch. Johnson also said that Wisco was the regular season and tournament champs of "the Big East." And the color guy said Wisconsin's bigs were only comfortable shooting threes. Apparently he hasn't looked at Stiemsma's or Krabby's three-point percentages. Awful, awful, and only adding to the awfulness of the game.

Corby said...

Nothing much more to say about this game, except that due to the fact that Davidson's fans were all in camera view, it seemed as though the place was packed with Davidson supporters. A few camera shots to show the UW contingent would have been nice, because I am sure we were well represented.

We have a Toyota Sienna (2006). We like it a lot. Jill was apprehensive to get a minivan, but I would say she is real happy with it now and I don't mind driving it either. In fact, I liked it enough that when she rolled my Blazer over I got a Camry, which on the inside is quite similar and handles equally as well. The Sienna has nice amenitites (we have the fairly standard LE package with one automatic sliding door) and it handles well. If I recall it is less expensive than the Odyssey and is ranked just behind it. Decent gas mileage. I don't think you can go wrong with any of the vehicles you mentioned.

Scott Tappa said...

I'm taking some heat for my thumbs-up to the Johnson-Elmore announcing crew, but I'll defend them. Johnson was just annoying to us because the team we were playing, and losing to, is the darling of the tournament and he called it that way. If we were taking down Kansas and J-Bo was making the shots Curry was, he would have been that way for us.

As for Elmore's comments about our bigs only comfortable shooting 3s - did they look comfortable shooting 2s to you? As referenced, Landry had four field goal attempts, Stiemsma three, and Butch three two-point attempts.

Jim Austin said...

With the experiences you have, I can't believe you'd get anything but a Windstar," he said with a breezy whisper.

No doubt Davidson played well - lifeless Badgers made them look better. Austy








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