Tuesday, February 13, 2007

One week of basketball, one good quarter

All I have to say right now is that the Penn State game was awful, and that the way the Badgers played last Wednesday would be the perfect way to ensure an exit from the NCAA tournament at the hands of a Missouri Valley or Conference USA team. Kudos to Kevin Gullikson and Michael Flowers for having big games and adding a couple bright spots to an otherwise dull game.

Probably the best thing to happen to the Badgers this week was the halftime deficit they experienced in the Iowa game on Saturday. That sparked a huge second half that featured brilliant defense and sound shooting.

I have a feeling that the games this week will feature more of the same; with the Gophers and the Nittany Lions on the slate, Badger fans can be forgiven if they fixate more on Alando Tucker's chase of Michael Finley for the all-time Badger scoring lead than the actual games themselves. I don't think the outcome of either is in doubt.

Indeed, the only game the Badgers have any business losing is that away date with Ohio State. I watched the Michigan-Michigan State debacle tonight, and the best parts of that game were when ESPN mercifully cut away to the ending of the UNC/Virginia Tech tilt. Michigan is an embarrassment to the conference yet again, that we know; but man, the Spartans are almost as awful as the Wolverines. That might be refreshing if the Badgers didn't have their number year in and year out, but as it stands UW could use some quality competition to prepare them mentally for their NCAA tournament run. What they get instead is Drew Neitzel, Raymar Morgan, and a bunch of scrubs.

It's nice to see UCLA, North Carolina, and Texas A&M laying eggs down the stretch and helping the Badgers look more and more like a lock for a one-seed, but let me tell you this: if Wisconsin loses to Tom Izzo and his crew of hacks, even on the road, they should be seeded no higher than second just on principle.

(By the way, even though the Grateful Red might indeed be the stupidest student section name in all of college basketball, at least it's not made up solely of morons. I pose the question: is there a student section that is stupider than Michigan State's Izzone? Maybe it's just because it was Michigan night in East Lansing, but I've never heard a home team booed so much. Especially in a game that they ended up winning! If you've got the first half recorded, just listen to the crowd. Wow.)

If the Spartans go 8-8 in the conference, they probably will get a bid to the Big Dance. That'll be for two reasons: Tom Izzo, and name recognition. If they make the field of 64, use ink and write their opponent into the second round.