Look at Bucky Badger go. It's just not fair. It's a Tuesday, ho-hum, just solving complex quadratic equations while slaying the ladies on campus. Do you think Bucky got this girl's number? Is water wet? Does Michael Bay blow stuff up in movies? Is Jeff Suppan overpaid? (honestly I think I work the Brewers into 98% of these blogs).
Anyway the purpose of this blog (and there is one..........maybe) is that I have finally found out what is going to get me through the dark and boring month of February, on to March, and eventually opening day. Two words. Badger. Basketball. Now generally I only pay casual semi-obsessive attention to college basketball until this point because: A. College basketball is not like college football where every game is life and death and B. Packer football and the 19 fantasy football leagues I'm in occupy all of my time and brain capacity from August till February (in a related story I hope to one day go on a date). It's at this point that I generally take a look at the Big Ten standings and find ways to justify why the Badgers could make a final four run. Some season's that is a difficult task (read: when Maurice Linton is your premiere player), but over the course of the Bo Ryan's tenure in Madison, he has made my radical predictions for this team seem somewhat coherent.
The bottom line is this team still plays basketball the way it was meant to be played (Memo to the Milwaukee Bucks...) with defense and grinding offense possessions that involve, gasp!, more than three passes. That plus Bo is a straight up pro at recruiting. What boggles my mind is why preseason prognosticators pegged this team to finish 8th out of 11 teams in the Big Ten. Trevon Hughes is an experienced scoring point guard, Jordan Taylor is basically Hughes version 2.0 as a sophomore, Jason Bohanon is an assassin from distance, and guys like Keaton Nankivil play hard nosed D and can shoot from anywhere on the court. He's got the perfect blend of youth and experience, and the Badgers are sitting at 18-6 while playing the majority of their schedule without their best player, Jon Leuer, who fractured a wrist back in January. He's expected back in a couple of weeks, which will only make this team an even bigger matchup problem for opponents down the road.
On top of all that Bo Ryan is 134-11 all time at the Kohl Center. As in 134 wins and 11 losses in 10 years. Is he serious with that record? Like dude, I understand that it's fun to play Madden with the difficulty setting on 'rookie,' but at some point you've got to move it up a notch when you're routing teams 65-3. And while they did just lose to Illinois at home to fall to 4th in the Big Ten standings I guarantee this team is not going to lose another regular season game. If they don't wrap up the regular season on a 6 game conference winning streak than I won't play Playstation for a month week day.
So there you go, the Badgers get to the final four and play for a championship the Monday of opening day. How sexy is that sentence? The only sad thing about this Badger team is that I fell for what analysts were saying preseason. I expected nothing from this team. I need to say 5 "Our Bucky's" and repent;
Our Bucky who art in mad-town, hallowed be thy name. The tournament will come, it will be won, in Indy as it is at the Kohl Center. Give us this season our annual top 15 finish, and forgive the national doubters. As we forgive those who hate on defense and working the shot clock. Lead us not into an early tournament exit and deliver us a victory parade. On Wisconsin!
Bonus word: bucky.
PS: I wrote most of this blog as the Badgers were BEATING Illinois. Leave it to the Illini to spoil my timing. Although that loss may hurt the Badgers chances of winning a Big Ten title, having a top 3 seed blah blah blah. Seeds don't matter in the tournament if you are a good team, which this team is.
PSS: "Quadratic" is the only thing I remember from high school algebra.