Monday, June 29, 2009

Dick Bennett's last game

Charlie, God bless him, woke up at 5:15 this morning, about 90 minutes earlier than I hoped he would. Silver lining: the Wisconsin-Maryland game from November 2000 was on the Big Ten Network.

Watching it (intermittently) was a nice trip down memory lane. I went to that game with our old friend John Koebel, who many of you know as Chez Whitey, at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee.

After the game, I got grabbed by cop for jaywalking. When trying to explain my way out of it, I called the guy "Dude," and he explained to me that he wasn't my "dude."

Anyhoo, back to the game. When Dick Bennett stepped down as Wisconsin coach after this game, it didn't come as a huge surprise to me. I remember thinking that he looked like he was having an awful time on the bench. Trying to pass a kidney stone awful. All while his team was playing a good game against the team that went to the Final Four that year and won the national championship the next year.

Maybe that's just how he was all the time, and having been in Ohio for awhile I'd forgotten. But man, did he look unhappy.

He should have been very happy. Happy with seeing Kirk Penney show what kind of big-time player he would become. Happy with Mike Kelley's defense (oh, and with his 12 assists). Happy with Charlie Wills and Mark Vershaw picking their spots.

Not happy with Andy Kowske's hair -- frosted tips.

That season turned out to be really interesting. After making that fluky run to the Final Four in March, most of the guys returned, and the 2001 team should have been pretty damn good. Maybe it would have been had Bennett hadn't stepped down to give Brad Soderberg a shot.

As it was, when we lost in the first round to Georgia State, I was sort of happy about it, because I didn't think Soderberg was the long-term answer. (Didn't think Bo Ryan was either at first, very happy to have been wrong on that count.)

One other thing: playing these Big Ten-ACC Challenge game in NBA arenas is really stupid, glad we haven't had to do that since.

One last thing: when doing a Google Image search for Andy Kowske (looking for those frosted tips), this picture showed up on the first results page.


Matt said...

Nothing like Garage Ball punishments.

deuces said...

That Andy Kowske. I like the cut of his jib.

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