Yesterday I had the privilege of attending not one, but TWO UW-Madison sporting events. I’ve got football and basketball for you, and since daylight savings time kicked in you have an extra hour to read it.
Wisconsin vs. Purdue
It’s Parents Weekend in Madison, so everybody and their brother (literally) were in town. I’ve never seen so many tweens and 40+ people playing beer pong. Purdue came in at .500, being 4-4 overall and 2-2 in the Big Ten with their only impressive win coming over Illinois. Needless to say there was not a whole lot of hype for this game. I took my time getting nice and smart before heading out. Part of the experience is being inebriated, plus the walk is the worst thing about Madison beside the arctic winter. I got there midway through the first quarter with the score tied 7-7. I settled into the student section in preparation for the blowout to come.
If you’ve never been to a Badger football game at Camp Randall you are sorely missing out. The stadium is packed with over 80,000 fans clad in red and screaming their team on. The student section has a magnitude of traditions including expletive riddled cheers, a choreographed wave routine, and the famous Jump Around. Camp Randall boasts one of the best home field advantages in college football, since 2005 the Badgers are 45-4 at home. If your team is ever playing at Wisconsin, or you just feel like experiencing a great football atmosphere, come to Camp Randall.
Back to the actual game now. There wasn’t a whole lot of excitement at this game and the first half dragged on forever. The first quarter featured demigod Russell Wilson connecting with Jeff Duckworth on a 66 yard pass. The score was surprisingly close at the end of the quarter, but that would not be the case at half time. In the second Montee Ball ran all over the Purdue defense to put Wisconsin up 38-17 at the half.
The second half was more of the same as Wisconsin held Purdue scoreless and added 24 more points. The game was dominated by Montee Ball and his 223 rushing yards and 3 rushing touchdowns. Why he isn’t in the Heisman conversation with his numbers is beyond me. James White also punched in two touchdowns, and on top of throwing two scores Wilson also ran for a TD. Personally, I left after the aforementioned Jump Around, another tradition among students. While watching the fourth quarter in my apartment it became clear that the game was totally over with 3:45 left when the announcers started talking about the band. In a panoramic shot of the stadium the student section was shown to be almost completely empty. Oh well, a win is a win.
Wisconsin vs. UW-Stevens Point
Later that evening was the first exhibition game for the men’s basketball team. Already being deprived of the NBA, there was no way I was going to turn down an opportunity to watch basketball. Plus I had the last vestiges of my day drunk to motivate me to go to game. I made it to the Kohl Center in time for the second half. Here is my running diary of the game. The times correspond to the time left in the half.
17:56 I’m watching games today against the Boilermakers and the Pointers? Why don’t colleges with crappy mascots have competitions to get cooler ones? Similar to the Ole Miss campaign to change their mascot to Admiral Ackbar.
17:50 Ryan Evans misses a short jumper. Guy is still a liability on offense unless he’s dunking, I guess his defense must have improved.
15:34 Jared Berggren looks good out there. I’m surprised I remembered his name. He’s crashing the boards and even got his hands on a loose ball. Probably going to be our starting center…gulp.
13:59 First impression of Ben Brust: less talented Monta Ellis. The 6-1 sophomore guard is clearly an offense driven player. He got a quick steal and pushed the ball in transition, only to miss the layup. Then he commits a bad foul on the other end of the court. I can already tell he’s going to be putting up a lot of shots, so I’m not sure how he and Jordan Taylor will play together. Speaking of Taylor, he looks huuuge. Definitely got more jacked over the offseason.
12:31 There is zero off ball movement on offense. One guy sits in each corner and the ball mainly stays at the top of the key. Lack of post presence is nothing new. The new guys don’t look in sync with veterans. Brusewitz misses two free throws. He’s a douche bag.
10:49 Whoever 30 is, he is all over the glass. Rob Wilson looks like Derrick Rose.
10:44 PA announces that 30 is Jarrod Uthoff as he tips in a miss. Kid looks good out there, very Bo-esque player. (I remember watching and thinking Uthoff was a 6-3, 6-4 small forward. Turns out he’s 6-8. Doesn’t look too imposing out there, I just hope his skills can compensate for his lanky, white guy disposition.)
9:37 I’m having déjà vu. The offense kicks the ball around the perimeter until there’s ten seconds left on the shot clock, then Taylor jacks up a three. Somehow that plan worked last year, but I was hoping we could get away from that. Another big white guy missed a thunderous put back dunk. Might be the most exciting play of the game so far.
8:09 For the first time I really pay attention while we’re on defense. Evans does look pretty good out there. Josh Gasser is finally noticed, he’s been a non-factor on offense but the defense is there. Whoever the latest jolly white giant in the post is lets them score on a layup. Since there’s a lockout I wonder if Jon Leuer could pull a Russell Wilson and come back for a fifth year.
7:37 Rob Wilson misses a layup and they show him on the Jumbotron. He doesn’t really look like Derrick Rose. I’m still drunk.
6:08 ALLEY OOOOP!!! Great heads up play by Evans. Gets the steal, gets it ahead to Taylor who lobs it perfectly for the Evans jam. Taylor’s passes have looked good, maybe he wont be a shoot first PG this year. Then again, this game doesn’t mean dick so probably not.
5:12 After standing in the corner the entire game Gasser finally gets a shot. Miss. Hey Michigan, remember this?
3:55 So, Ben Brust huh? Seeing some things I like now. Makes a great cut to the basket and then a slick pass to Gasser who gets fouled and makes both FTs. This comes one possession after draining a three over a guy twice his size. Vintage Monta.
3:07 Brust for 3!
2:29 Duje Dukan gets absolutely stuffed but a foul is called. Only makes one of two. Badgers are 6-12 on FTs now. Not so great for the team that led Division I last year with 83% FT shooting.
2:00 There’s a new Wquinton Smith. Little black guy running around the floor looking out of place. Don’t know this guy’s name but I hope it starts with a “W.”
:57 Uthoff hits a three without jumping off a pass from Brust. These two are gonna be my focus this season. If Uthoff can replicate some of Leuer’s numbers, he already has the no jump jump shot down, and Brust doesn’t monopolize the offense, we could do good things.
:14 Some benchwarmer tries to take a charge and gets called for a block. That’s the third different player I’ve seen try to take a charge. I call that Manu Ginobili defense. Bo is a fan of it too.
:03 Guys on the floor at the end of the game have a combined 5 of the team’s 78 points. Make that 7 of 80 as NeWquinton hits a buzzer beater.
So the Badgers win it 80-54, good game for scouting. Taylor doesn’t crack double digit points in 30 minutes but did have 7 assists and only 1 turnover. Whole team had 19 assists to 5 turnovers, which is encouraging. Evans, Berggren, and Brust have good games and the season could depend on guys like them. Can’t wait for the real games, especially with no NBA season.