Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Illinois vs. Michigan State

Sorry for not posting for a couple days, been sick. No, not over the Badgers' late collapse Sunday, but that was still pretty awful. I still can't get over how much Michigan State fans hate us. Regular readers of this blog know that my emotions reach this range in football for teams like Michigan and Ohio State, who I see as the Yankees of the Big Ten, but in basketball no other Big Ten team makes my blood boil to that level.

If one did, wouldn't it be Illinois? After all, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Michigan State have been the undisputed top teams in the Big Ten since Bo Ryan came back to Madison, and without crunching the numbers I think the Illini has beaten us more than anyone else in that time. Cripes, Illinois is even in a bordering state (unlike MSU -- we're not going to count the UP, sorry Izzo and Jana), and Wisconsinites even have a catchy little acronym for its residents.

My initial thought was that our series was more even than ours with MSU has been, and with far fewer dramatic or emotional games. Let's look:

UW vs. Illinois
UW 72, UI 66
UI 80, UW 48
UI 69, UW 63
UW 60, UI 59 (Devin Harris hits free throw to give us Big Ten title)
UW 76, UI 56
UI 65, UW 57
UW 70, UI 53 (Big Ten Tournament championship game)
UI 75, UW 65 (breaks our long Kohl Center winning streak)
UI 70, UW 59
UI 54, UW 43 (Big Ten Tournament championship game)
UI 66, UW 51
UW 71, UI 64
UW 53, UI 41
UW 70, UI 60
UW 71, UI 57
UW 61, UI 48 (Big Ten Tournament championship game)
UI 64, UW 57
UW 63, UI 50

UW leads series 10-8 under Bo, we lead Big Game series 3-2. Thing is, of those five games, only one of them -- the one with Devin's free throw -- was dramatic. So 27% of our games have been big, and 5% of them dramatic.

UW vs. Michigan State
UW 64, MSU 63 (snapped State's long home court winning streak)
UW 64, MSU 53 (an otherwise ordinary win, but Alando Tucker's late dunk scars Izzo's brain to the point where he's still talking about it six freaking years later! The nerve! Izzo's reaction to this makes it a Big Game.)
UW 77, MSU 64
UW 68, MSU 64 (keep that banner rolled up fellas; per Deuces' request, I believe this is also the game in which Paul Davis was crying on the bench with cramps)
UW 68, MSU 66 (Big Ten Tournament semifinal)
UW 62, MSU 59 (we rally late to pull off an improbable win)
MSU 77, UW 64
UW 82, MSU 63
MSU 74, UW 65
MSU 64, UW 55 (we get to #1 for the first time and Drew Neitzel immediately knocks us off)
UW 52, MSU 50 (Kammron Taylor hits a late 3-pointer to sort of, but not quite, atone for that #1 loss)
UW 70, MSU 57
UW 57, MSU 42
UW 65, MSU 63 (Michael Flowers' late steal and layup steals victory from jaws of defeat, after about 14 State players foul out)
MSU 61, UW 50

UW leads series 11-4 under Bo, we somehow lead Big Game series 7-1. Of those, I'd say six were dramatic. So 57% of our games end up qualifying as Big, 40% dramatic.

The purpose of this exercise was not just to rehash our success against Michigan State -- which, I'm told, is ending -- but to point out just how rare it is to play so many dramatic, important games against a single opponent in a relatively small period of time. And how unlikely it is that one team would prevail in so many of these games. And how it is logical that these results would build enmity in the hearts of the defeated.

Here's hoping we keep showing up on the left-hand side of the ledger in these matchups.

Hey, Andy North's on ESPN and the Badgers aren't even on ...


Corby said...

Must mean Andy North is drooling over Tiger's return to dominance.

Deuces said...

Can you please mark the game where Paul Davis was crying on the bench with leg cramps in 2004?

Edward said...

Hey did you see Alando Tucker started last night! 16 points!

Scott Tappa said...

I didn't, that's awesome news. The other day at hoops my buddy, who for whatever reason loves Carolina and is always giving me shit about the Badgers in general and Krabby in particular, was giving me shit about how few Badgers were playing in the NBA. I was saying that Alando was starting to get more minutes and he sniffed that our best player ever was just now starting to get minutes ... whatever, I didn't figure he'd come in and start right away, but if he sticks around he has a chance to lift his game to the level of a solid contributor.