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The Bucky Channel is making a triumphant comeback. Stay tuned for the latest.


The Bucky Channel is making a triumphant comeback. Stay tuned for the latest.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

An Apology to Twitter

When I first found out about Twitter, I thought it was an interesting way to communicate with people. But I was late to the party, and I got a little jealous. From there, I decided that I was above the new social networking site and that I would never join. Two years later, I'm finally on Twitter and I kind of like it. And that's the story of me and Twitter.

At least, up until now. The problem with myself and Twitter is that I was so anti this website, that I am behind the eight ball in every single way. I have far less followers than many of the other Wisconsin bloggers out there. I still don't frequent the site as much as I should if I want to not only promote my blog more but also engage in conversation with these fellow bloggers. There are people out there that I know have refused to follow me for how aggressively I made fun of Twitter and the people that used it. I'm not complaining, these are the facts. And that's fine. But for that, an apology needs to be issued.

I feel such a disconnect from the social networking site because of how reluctant I was to get on, and because how I don't spend enough time on it now that I'm there. I thought the site was stupid because I didn't find it credible. Now, it's how news is broken. No longer do we need to wait for an athlete to enter the media room for an interview. Instead, the athletes take to Twitter to share their opinions and interact with fans.

I always used to see people tweeting to athletes and I thought it was so desperate that people wanted interaction that badly with their favorite stars. But some of the best parts of Twitter is the breaking down of the wall between athletes and fans. Look at Aaron Rodgers. He's been "giving out belts" to people on Twitter when they ask him if some accomplishment of theirs is belt-worthy, and it's been one of the more entertaining things I've seen an athlete do in a while. For Rodgers, it has to be fun to see these people taking so kindly to his celebration and to him. For the fans, it's awesome to get a tweet back from the quarterback of the Green Bay Packers. I used to think there needed to be a wall between the athletes and the fans for no other reason than that's how it's always been. Twitter is proving me wrong.

Look at a site like CheeseheadTV. Packers tight end Tom Crabtree received a bunch of Twitter followers only after he made an appearance on their weekly call-in show, in which they plugged his Twitter account. The site's co-founder Aaron Nagler has made a lot of contacts with players that frequently tweet back to him, and Nagler in my opinion spearheaded the charge against PFT's Mike Florio when Florio was quick to bash Rodgers after a bad public relations moment. These are all examples of the way that the new world of media works these days, I am behind the curve because of my unwillingness to accept that as soon as I should have.

While CheeseheadTV gets it right when it comes to Twitter, they are just one of the many Wisconsin sports themed blogs sites that do. When I did a Q&A with Pocket Doppler last year, I spoke at great length about how I love blogging so much because even though a lot of the people that blog don't know each other, it still feels like we're all part of a community. Twitter has not only strengthened that community, but allowed many of this state's fine bloggers to meet each other face to face, as well as to meet the people that frequent our sites. Meanwhile, I'm still holed up in my North Fond du Lac apartment because I came after Twitter like Buzz Bissinger came after Deadspin.

Sorry to go all Nick Barnett on you and pour my heart out about Twitter, but I just feel like for how much I used to come after the site and those who Tweeted, an apology needed to be issued now that I'm fully on board. I still need to work on using the site more not just to promote my blog, but to reestablish the connection with the Wisconsin sports community that I may have had in the past. I will work on that, but in the meantime I wanted to make it clear that once and for all, I no longer hate Twitter.

Thanks for your time.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Marquette Keeps Tourney Hopes Alive

In their quest to at least make an appearance in this year's NCAA tournament, one thing that was lacking from Marquette's resume was a signature win. Well if the Golden Eagles were missing some big wins this season, they sure did get one Thursday night. Marquette went on the road to visit UConn, and fought back to get a huge win 74-67 in overtime. Marquette again held a nice lead at halftime with a score of 34-23. Holding the Huskies to 23 points in a half is pretty impressive, and that just shows how hard Marquette was working on the defensive end. But per usual, their defense fell apart after halftime. UConn started with a 26-7 run in the second half, and it looked like this might be another heartbreaking loss for the Golden Eagles. 

When this run was occurring, you had to have the feeling that Marquette's season was all but over. They couldn't afford another loss to a ranked team after leading at halftime. With 10:21 left to go UConn was up 49-41, but thankfully Marquette was able to hold UConn in check. Marquette would give up 10 points the rest of the game, and this time they made big shots when they needed them. The biggest shot of them all had to be Darius Johnson-Odom's lay up with 5 seconds to go which sent the game into overtime.

UConn ran a two man show in the overtime period with only two players scoring, while Marquette had four players score during free basketball. The fact that Marquette had plenty of guys that were able to make big shots in the overtime period gives me an added boost of confidence in this team. The leader may have been DJO as he finished the game with 17 points, four rebounds, four steals, and three assists. Sounds like a great game, but he was 0-7 from downtown. Marquette also was 18-28 from the free throw line, so that will have to improve if they want to ensure that they do make the Dance, and then make it worthwhile if they do. Marquette has three games left to prove that they deserve to make the tournament:

Feb 27th - vs. Providence
Mar 2nd - vs. Cincinnati
Mar 5th - at Seton Hall

If they can win out I'd assume that they'd no doubt be dancing come March. A few wins in the Big East tournament wouldn't hurt either. The game against Cincinnati is the big one, because the winner of that game might be the one that gets in. They are both above .500 in the Big East so you'd think both of them deserve a trip. But therein almost lies the problem, because how many teams from the Big East is the committee really going to take? All you can do is take it game by game, but winning at UConn was a great start for the Golden Eagles.

Meanwhile, our friends at Anonymous Eagle have a great series going on their site following teams that are on Bubble Watch, make sure you check out their preview of this weekends' games.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Previewing the Bucks Path to the Playoffs

First of all, as weird as it initially was to see both the Knicks and the Bucks wearing their dark uniforms on Wednesday night, I actually really liked it. Now that I got the pleasantries out of the way, I have to be honest and say that the Bucks really blew their chances against a new-look New York Knicks team. The stories nationwide will talk about Carmelo, Carmelo, Carmelo, but back home in Wisconsin we all realize that this was a game that was ready for the Bucks taking. Despite a nice effort from Carmelo, the Knicks really didn't play all that spectacular. This is a game that the Bucks of last year would have won easily, but there's a huge difference between this year and last year. This year, we're just not very good.

There were a few lead changes early, but for the most part the Bucks were playing catchup all game long. The Knicks actually had more turnovers than the Bucks did, but to this viewer it seemed like everytime the Bucks did turn the ball over the Knicks put it in the basket withing the next three seconds. Fastbreak points killed the Bucks tonight, and the Knicks clearly fed off of a raucous Madison Square Garden. Again, Carmelo Anthony is the hero with his 27 points and ten rebounds, but Bucks fans across the state will go to bed on Wednesday night knowing that we left a pretty winnable game on the floor of MSG. In the end though, the Knicks got the victory, winning 114-108.

In his Bucks post written on Wednesday morning, our very own Gweeds said that in order for this Bucks team to make the playoffs, he thinks they need to earn a record of at least 17-9 in their final 26 contests. After this loss against New York, they would now need to go 17-8. Let's take a look at the Bucks remaining 25 games and see, realistically but with a slash of optimism, how this Bucks team is going to do down the stretch.

Feb 26 - vs. Chicago - L
Mar 1 - vs. Detroit - W
Mar 4 - vs. Phoenix - W
Mar 6 - vs. Boston - L
Mar 8 - at Washington - W
Mar 9 - vs. Cleveland  - W
Mar 12 - vs. Philadelphia - W
Mar 13 - at Boston - L
Mar 15 - at Atlanta - L
Mar 16 - vs. Orlando - L
Mar 18 - vs. New Jersey - W
Mar 20 - vs. New York - L
Mar 23 - vs. Sacramente (Arrested Development reference anyone?) - W
Mar 25 - at New York - W
Mar 26 - vs. Chicago - L
Mar 28 - at Charlotte - L
Mar 30 - at Toronto - W
Apr 1 - at Indiana - W
Apr 2 - vs. Philadelphia - W
Apr 5 - at Orlando - L
Apr 6 - at Miami - L
Apr 8 - at Detroit - W
Apr 9 - vs. Cleveland - W
Apr 11 - vs. Toronto - W
Apr 13 - at Oklahoma City - L

So I have that at 14-11, and that's thinking optimistic. That record would put us at 36-46, which there's no way that would get us into the playoffs, right? Even if we did by Gweedo's standards, we'd still only be 39-43. Granted, I have us winning against some of the teams we are competing against for that 8th seed (Philadelphia and Indiana) but who knows what they'll do the rest of the way. I think we can agree on one thing, a playoff birth is going to be an uphill climb.

There are people that will read this and say, "that's a lot of work and optimism for nothing but the eighth seed of the Eastern conference playoffs, in which they are sure to be swept anyway in the first round". I get your point there. But I don't think John Hammond and Scott Skiles are in a mindset where they want lottery picks year in and year out. This team needs playoff births, no matter how bad the draw. You don't get better until you start getting a taste of success, and I think this team needs a playoff birth or it's going to be another couple of years before we get back again. Keep in mind, this Bucks team was being projected as high as a four seed before this season began, so the fact we're even having this conversation right now is disheartening.

Ultimately, I think this team is going to fall short of their goal, and it'll be another frustrating finish to the team that plays on 4th and State. I hope they prove me wrong, but games like Wednesday are just more evidence that they won't. So have fun the rest of the season, Bucks fans, and may we all be at the mercy of the ping pong balls come June.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Gasser Truly is Our Hero

Sadly, we here at The Bucky Channel haven't really been down for same day reaction when it comes to our basketball posts, but I think Josh Gasser's bank in three shot to win it on the road against Michigan earns that honor on this site. The Badgers and the Wolverines got together in one of those weird Big Ten Network 5:30pm starts, but all you needed to see in this one was the finish. Gasser only had five points on the night, but his final three were the biggest as he enters the pantheon of All-Time Badgers greats in terms of bank shots, joining the love him or hate him player that was Brian Butch.

Josh Gasser's moment in glory actually never should have come, as the Wolverines were on pace to wrap up a quality win against the visiting Badgers. With twenty-two seconds left, the Badgers were down two and gearing for one final possession, but only down two because Michigan couldn't ice the game on free throws the series before. Michigan was playing hack-a-Bucky has they had plenty of fouls to give, but with one second on the clock Josh Gasser found himself at the top of the key alone with the ball. All he could do was throw up a prayer, a prayer which was answered by the glass and it deflected the shot right back into the net.

The Badgers picked up a 53-52 win in a hostile road environment, continuing the very impressive stretch of basketball they've been playing as of late. Wisconsin has three more regular season games left to play, one against Northwestern, one at Indiana, and then a big regular season finale at Ohio State. But clearly, this game on Wednesday night was more important to the Wolverines, yet they weren't able to pick up the win. It's always nice to deliver a loss to a rival on their home court, but it's even more special to do it in ridiculous fashion.

One Down, Twenty-Six to Go

I know that would be some kind of impossible record if the Bucks won all 27 games after the all star break, but hey, I can dream right? Milwaukee was able to win their first post-break contest however, which is a good start, as they for once actually made shots in the fourth quarter to take care of Minnesota 94-88. Brandon Jennings went 5-6 from the free throw line in the final 1:16 to seal the deal for the Bucks. Luke Ridnour made a jumper with 2:00 minutes left to make it close, but that was the last bucket the Wolves would score. This wasn't a perfect game for the Bucks, but they did do what they needed to do to get the win.

The weekend off served the Bucks well, as Milwaukee came out hot in the first part of the first quarter. But the renewed energy wore off quickly, as they then went back to missing a lot of shots. Milwaukee finished 30-79 from the field, and 7-30 from downtown. Milwaukee did get to the free throw line where they finished 27-31. If they can keep doing that this team can win games. The defense is there, but no one is shooting particularly well.

Individually, Brandon Jennings led the way with 27 points, and led the team with 7 assists, but he didn't stop there as he had a team high 3 steals. Corey Maggette was the spark off the bench as he finished with 20 points. Jon Brockman also played a shocking 25 minutes, which allowed him to finish the game with 14 rebounds. He played a big role in keeping Kevin Love away from offensive rebounds. The young Wolves All-Star did collect 17 boards when all was said and done, but only four were on the offensive glass.

Andrew Bogut was again a no show on offense, which is why Brockman saw so many minutes in the first place. Bogut finished with just seven points and six rebounds. He could maybe have a big game against the Knicks tonight, because they don't have a true center. Something is not right with Andrew, and that is really hurting the Bucks right now. It would be nice to have Drew Gooden back to play some minutes. I would guess that Mbah a Moute looks to be the man in charge of covering Amare Stoudamire tonight, but that could change.

So the Bucks have 26 games left on their schedule, and realistically I think the Bucks need a record of at least 17-9 to make the playoffs. You have to figure they need a record at least that well because all of the other teams in the hunt are all around the .500 mark. Then again, the Pacers, 76ers, and Bobcats are all teams that could fall apart late. But this time of year is when the Bucks turned it on last season. The question now will be if they can do it again. I don't see much going on in the trading world for the Bucks, so my guess is going to be that the team you see now is the one that will have to have a great end of the year run to make it back to the postseason.

So What's Jason Kendall Been Up To?

While the Brewers are definitely lacking an All-Star at the catching position with Jonathan Lucroy, Will Nieves, and George Kottaras all battling it out in camp, it's going to be a long time before we ever wish for the days of Jason Kendall. I never liked Kendall, I always thought he carried the body language and facial expressions of an asshole. That's just one man unfairly judging though, Deadspin has the proof that maybe Kendall isn't the nicest guy in the world after all.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Melo To The Knicks

This really has nothing to do with Wisconsin sports, but I needed to chime in on the fact that Melo is headed East to play with the Knicks. The funniest thing of the whole trade, which many people will not think about is the Milwaukee Bucks role in this Carmelo saga. Anthony's last game with the Denver Nuggets and subsequent first game with the Knicks will both be played against the Bucks. It seems like a long time ago being last Wednesday, but that's when Melo put up 38 points in his last game as a Nugget. How many will he scored in his first game as a Knick, at home, in the Garden, and against the Bucks? I would have to say the over under is 50 points.

Back in December 2006 Carmelo got into a fight with Nate Robinson, who at the time was a member of the New York Knicks. I know that was quite a while ago, but I still find it a little funny the team that hated him for a cheap shot will now love him. I guess no one cares if you give your team a chance to win a title. Which to relate it back to Wisconsin sports, having the chance to win a title is something the Bucks will not be doing for many years.

I can't say I have ever been so pumped for a Bucks game. The Garden will be rocking as they introduce Carmelo Anthony to his new crowd. I guess being a Bucks fan I can't do anything, but hope we shut Melo down. The big problem I see with the new look Knicks team is that they have no defense. I see the Knicks scoring a lot of points, but they will give up a lot too. How awesome would it be to shut Melo down, win the game, and have everyone start talking about how Melo isn't the answer to the Knicks title run. I know this dream is a little out there, but I just want one good thing to come from this season for the Bucks.

Before that though, make sure you check out two of the worst teams in the league square off as the Bucks take on the Minnesota Timberwolves tonight at 7pm. 

Monday, February 21, 2011

Let's Practice Some Buckytology

Here's a look at The Bucky Channel's own version of Bracketology, which is basically just us reposting and commenting on's version written by Andy Katz. It's also a chance for me to chime in about some of the goings on in college basketball, something I have been highly inconsistent in this year.

We'll look first at the Wisconsin Badgers, who are once again proving that it doesn't matter who is on this team, Bo Ryan will find a way to get the job done. Sure, this team does have it's fair share of talent, but a lot of the preseason predictions I saw put the Badgers in the four, five, maybe even six spot in the Big Ten this year. But here they are with four regular season games to go sitting at third in the conference. Their 20-6 record, which includes an unblemished record at home, has them nationally ranked at number twelve in both polls.

Katz has the Badgers as a number three seed right now (against Fairfield) which is more than appropriate. A three seed is probably where they will settle in at, I can't see them falling further than a four or making it higher than a two. Their run in the Big Ten tournament likely won't matter, simply because the brackets are usually decided upon before the Big Ten tournament is over (historically the Big Ten final has been the last game before the Selection Show). But Wisconsin is sitting pretty right now, which is a lot more than we can say for their friendly rivals one hour East.

Those rivals, Marquette, weren't expect to dominate this year by any means but they have been playing much better than their record indicates. The Golden Eagles are 16-11 overall with a 7-7 record in the Big East, and nowhere near the rankings. Anonymous Eagle puts them at 11th in the Big East power rankings, and their under performance can mainly be attributed to their inability to close out games. But still, Katz has Marquette sitting as an eleven seed, and they seem to be just on the right edge of the bubble. The thing with Marquette is that even though their record is worse than they want it to be, they don't really have a bad loss. Every team they lost to is either ranked now or was ranked at the time that they played, and it looks like Katz thinks the committee will see that.

But Marquette can't just sit back on it's mediocre record and hope for the best. Their best bet would be to take down their final four opponents, which may not be too daunting of a task. They have Seton Hall, Cincinnati, and Providence on the docket, but all those games come after this Thursday's contest against #15 Connecticut. A win versus the Huskies would all but seal a tournament bid for the Golden Eagles, but a loss would make the road ahead much tougher.

So that's your look at Buckytology. Can't say that there was much new information in this short little blurb, but it's been awhile since I posted so I wanted to get back into the swing of things. In the next couple of days, I'll be posting an apology to Twitter and my review of the Maple Street Press Brewers Annual, so stay tuned for that!

All-Star Weekend Recap

It was successful weekend for the NBA as this year's annual All-Star game took place in Los Angeles. We got to see some young talent make a name for themselves on the big stage. Blake Griffin and JaVale McGee put on a show to be remembered in the Slam Dunk contest. On Sunday night the East almost had the comeback of a lifetime, but Kobe was able to power the West to the win. And keeping true to form, our very own Brandon Jennings kept his cold streak going by not shooting very well in the Rookie/Sophomore game on Friday night. Elsewhere:

* John Wall had 22 assists Friday night to lead the rookies to a 148-140 win over the Sophomores. As mentioned, not a good night for Brandon Jennings, maybe he should have just taken the weekend off.

* Carmelo Anthony was asked everyday if he would still be a Denver Nugget come Tuesday. His reply was simple, "I think we play Memphis Tuesday, and I'll be playing in the game." Kobe gave him some good support during the game to try and keep his mind off of all the rumors, but I think it is kind of crap that Melo has to put up with this. He just wanted to have fun this weekend, but no one would just let him be. My guess right now there's about an 80% chance he gets traded by Thursday.

* Stephen Curry took the Taco Bell Skills Challenge Championship Saturday night. Chris Paul thought it was his year, but he missed the opening lay up. He was never able to recover. Curry posted a 28.2 final run to beat Russell Westbrook.

* James Jones captured the Foot Locker 3-Point Contest Title Saturday night. Paul Pierce couldn't get the job done, and neither could Ray Allen, the all time three point shooting champions. I would have to say this one was a little bit of an upset. Jones is known for shooting the tray ball, but I was surprised to see him hold up under the spotlight.

* Blake Griffin basically won the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest the minute he was entered. Being the home town boy in the dunk contest this was too easy for Blake. I really feel that McGee was screwed, because he put on one hell of a show. Blake Griffin did jump over the front end of a car, but really if you look were he took off it wasn't that crazy. The Dunk Contest is starting to become about what can you do to make the dunk seem better. Serge Ibaka took off from the free throw line, and he only got a 45. I mean, he maybe had a middle toe on the line or something. Overall though, this had to have been the best dunk contest in sometime.

* In the All-Star game itself, Kobe lead the West to victory despite LeBron netting a triple double for the East. It may have started off slow, but as the game went on the action started picking up. Kobe finished with a game high 37 points, and had 14 rebounds. James finished with 29 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 assists for the second triple double in All-Star history. The only other player to do it in history was Michael Jordan.

I really think that the NBA All-Star weekend is one of the better all-star events in sports. It is a fun weekend where all the players can get together, and (at least try to) put their rivalries aside for one night. Case in point, during the game Sunday night LeBron made a huge play late in the game to try and get the East back in it, and Garnett jumped out of his seat in joy. I can bet that is the last time this season Garnett does anything like that for any play James has. The Dunk Contest got back to tall people doing crazy dunks, not Nate Robinson doing something for people and earning their sympathy vote. Now let's get a little depressing and chat Bucks for a bit:

* Larry Sanders got sent down to the D-League Sunday night. I think this will be good for him to get some minutes and improve his game a bit.

* Michael Redd is set to return to the team on Monday. When might we see him on the court? I have no clue, but he will be practicing starting Monday. We could use a guy that can make a jumper right now, because no one else is doing anything.

* The Bucks start their final part of the season at home against Minnesota at 7:00 Central time. The game will be on FSN Wisconsin, per usual.

The Bucks have some work to do, as they start 3 1/2 games out of the eighth seed in the East. It will take someone to step up in order for this team to make a late run. Who will be that guy? Right now I see no one that sticks out. John Salmons did it last year, maybe he will step up and provide a repeat performance. We are paying him a lot of money, so I hope he does play awesome down the stretch. Anyone can be the hero though, we just need to close out this season a lot better than we started it.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Bucks Beat Clippers, But Fall To Nuggets

We now know that at least one person read my Bucks post the other night, as Scott Skiles finally put Mbah a Moute and Delfino in the starting line up. The only problem is it that the lineup worked for one game only. On Monday the Bucks scored over 100 points, and crushed the Clippers 102-78. But on Wednesday the Bucks were ice cold, and despite having a late lead but still lost to the Nuggets 94-87. With the game being on ESPN last night the announcers were talking about both teams equally, so it was interesting to get a fresh perspective. But they nailed it on the head when they questioned if the Bucks have the wrong personnel to become a winner, or if all these injuries are the reason we can't win.

This scenario makes it hard for John Hammond, because I think he feels he should make a move. This team was projected to win around 50 games (believe it or not) and finish somewhere in the top 4 of the East. With the All-Star break now upon us this team is looking like a team that will have ping pong balls in the lottery. Milwaukee has 27 games left, so at least the season isn't over. But it will take a hell of a second half of the season to make anything of this season.

Thanks to the break though, they will get a good rest before they head back to work on Tuesday against the Timberwolves. Brandon Jennings is the only guy who will take part of All-Star weekend as a part of the sophomore/rookie challenge, but others may go just for support or the fact to hang out. No matter what they do this weekend, these guys should really take their minds off of the season for a bit and maybe regroup. The shots that they were making last year are just not being made this season. They are last in the league in scoring, and last in the league in assists. But they are third in the league for points allowed, so if they could just bump up their scoring they could make something yet of this year.

As mentioned, Brandon Jennings will be playing Friday in the Rookie/Sophomore game. The tip is set for 8:00 Central time on TNT. For more information on the game check it out here, if you please. After that, the Bucks are back on Tuesday at home against Minnesota. Then they travel to the Garden on Wednesday to face the Knicks. This is not an easy start to the second half for the Bucks, but they are teams that can be beat. The good news is that the next 27 games should go by fast, and if it is a bad season it will be over soon. How's that for optimism?

For more on the Bucks, Jeremy of Bucksketball did a Q&A with PocketDoppler this morning, you can check out the interview here.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Winks Thinks: The Grizz and Bear It Edition

Even though I have absolutely no money and am deathly afraid of flying, I’ve made a commitment to myself recently to try and travel more. As glamorous as my hometown of (North) Fond du Lac, Wisconsin can be, there’s a whole world out there that I’ve yet to discover. I would say that I have done my fair share of traveling throughout my life, but most of that occurred before I went to college and when all of those travel expenses were on my parents’ dime. Now that I’m at least on the path to becoming a grown man, I thought it’d be time to do a little exploring on my own. First stop: Memphis, Tennessee.

Read the rest of this week's Winks Thinks over at Pocket Doppler.

260 More Weeks of Rickie

Okay, sometimes I try to be a little too clever with these titles, and I think this is one of those times. I'm not even sure I did the math correctly, and the new Rickie Weeks deal is more of an extension than it is a signing. Plus, there are option years and other contract quirks. But let's not let my weak attempt at cleverness overshadow the fact that the Brewers took a very big step towards being contenders past 2011, as they basically locked in Weeks' services for years to come.

The deal has yet to become official, but when it does it's expected to be announced in the 5-year, $50 million range (Update: The official deal seems to be four years, $38.5 million with an option for year five). As Haudricourt explains, there is an option year that's included in the deal, and the exact specifics will be announced once Weeks takes a physical exam, but either way it sounds like a deal that I'm going to be a fan of.

The thing with baseball is, I'm pretty much a fan of any deal that locks up a young player for an extended period of time, because when there's no hard salary cap you can afford offer contracts like that more. Granted, Mark Attanasio has been much more willing to open his pocketbook than the Selig family was, so we're lucky in that sense to have an owner that is willing to pay more when needed. But Weeks is a proven stud at second base. He's had some bad luck with injuries, but in my opinion he was our best offensive player last season, and I can't imagine a Brewers team the next few years without Weeks.

While this move does lock down the second base position for years to come, it's still clear that until something gets solved with Prince Fielder then 2011 has to be the Brewers window to "go for it", as they did in 2008 with CC Sabathia. The Brewers have one of the best staffs in the NL (Central, at least), and we've always known their offense has been able to score. My gosh, I just got really excited for this season all of a sudden. Sipping Summer Shandy while eating a brat and listening to Uecker on the deck. I'm ready for that, I think.

McCarthy, Thompson Signed Through 2015

Remember this day? The day that Ted Thompson hired Mike McCarthy to become the 15th head coach in the history of the Green Bay packers? I don't remember the day as much as I remember what happened after it. As in, the cries for his dismissal. And the dismissal of Ted Thompson. And CEO Mark Murphy for that matter. Somewhere along the line, these three men who were dedicated to taking the Packers back to the Super Bowl were treated as villains, and I'd say nearly half our fan base wanted to run these three "stooges" out of all. All because traded away a quarterback that hadn't gotten us to the Super Bowl since 1997 after he retired and un-retired.

And while I still think that anybody who took Favre's side in the whole Favre vs. Thompson / McCarthy / Murphy feud should not be able to celebrate this year's Super Bowl with the rest of us (they have to wait until the next championship), McCarthy and the brass never publicly let out any frustrations they may have had with all the criticism that was heading their way. The three men stayed on course with their vision, and now they are all being rewarded for it handsomely.

Murphy's the boss, so he's not going anywhere, but he's making sure that the Larry and Moe to his Curly don't go anywhere as well. Thompson was locked up back in December, although just announced recently, and he'll be here until 2015. Same now goes for Mike McCarthy, who apparently will soon be given a contract extension that will average about $5 million per year.

Really, the only way that I see these guys not finishing out their new deals if they choose to retire or leave, because there's no way I can envision them being ran out of town. Nobody was fired after the Favre fiasco, so certainly these guys have earned a lot more time after they won a Super Bowl. With these two guys back until at least the middle of the decade, and the core of this football team signed for quite sometime as well, I think it's safe to say that this team is going to be perennial Super Bowl contenders for quite some time.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Season To Remember

Bucky Channel writer Gweeds takes a look back at the season that was, from the first preseason game all the way until the final whistle in the Super Bowl: 

This season sure had its fair share of ups and downs, but in the end I can't say I would have changed a thing. As a fan, the first goal is to have confidence in your team. And in being a preseason favorite to win the Super Bowl, we had tons of confidence in this team. But the Packers were a little less dominant during this preseason than they were the year before, as in the 2009 preseason I think I said "Super Bowl" during August more than I ever had in my life. I wasn't worried about not being as dominant in the preseason as I thought we could be, but it is always nice to play well no matter when the season. Still, it gave me enough confidence that the feeling I had from the start with this team was "Don't worry, they are good enough to figure it out when they need to."

With that being said, everything still seemed to be all fine and dandy with this Packers squad, but when Ryan Grant went down in week one I guess you can say it was a little hard to not be a little worried. The Packers were able to get a little run game going after the injury with Brandon Jackson and John Kuhn in the weeks to come, but the ground attack still remained a concern. I kept still thinking that they will figure it out, just give them time. Then after a week two 34-7 win against the Bills, you kind of forget about the Ryan Grant thing, and you have to like what this team was doing after two weeks starting the season at 2-0.

But then came week three on the road against the Bears. This is one of those rivalries where you think, no matter how this season goes, good or bad, we still have to beat the Bears twice. I can't think of a regular season game that means more to me than a Pack vs Bears game. I'm a big Tar Heels guy, but I would still say that a UNC vs Duke game comes in a way distant second. The week three game was on a Monday night, on ESPN, under the lights, and it was time to show the world that we are a team to be wrecking with. If you look at the stats during this game we won everything but the game. Penalties, fumbles, and dumb mistakes cost us, and had Packer Nation in a frenzy. You had to be a little worried though, because those mistakes are what hurt us in the past.

The next three weeks are when this season became a real question mark. After the loss to the Bears the Packers came back to beat the Lions, but it wasn't the blowout we expected.  At home against the Lions, we should have won this game by at least 14 points yet we only won by two. The next two weeks were the worst weeks of the season. The Packers lost to both the Redskins and Dolphins in overtime. With the way that the Packers were struggling and now losing in close games, nearly every Packer fan I know was in a panic. My roommates and I collected all of our Packers paraphernalia throughout the apartment and banished it to a pile in the corner of our living room, not to be used again until the Packers won another game. We were 3-3, and it seemed that this was going to be another heart broken season. The injuries were starting to pile up, and it just seemed that even God didn't want the Packers to win. Nothing was going our way, but at least we had a lot of season left.

So it turned out that in order for the Packer pile to disseminate, it would take a win against Brett Favre and the Vikings on Sunday Night Football. After he beat us twice last season, this might have been the most important regular season game for the Packers in a long time. Getting our record to 4-3 didn't mean as much as beating Favre did at this point in the season. Looking back, this game was kind of like all the playoff games (minus Atlanta) where it came down to the defense coming up huge in the final minute. In this particular game, Favre threw a pass out the back of the end zone on 4th and 15 which sealed a Packers victory. This game was a huge relief, and allowed me to pull my Jennings out of the pile so that I could wear again proudly. This win signaled a change in the Packers season. In the next two weeks against the Jets and the Cowboys, the Packers scored 54 points while giving up just seven. They took a 6-3 record into the bye week, and it felt very good to be a Packer fan.

Coming out of the bye week the Packers took it to Favre again, and it began to seem that this team was the one that was going to lead us back to the Super Bowl. When the Pack went into Atlanta, that seemed to be the game to decide who was going to get home field for the playoffs, and it was about as close of a game as you can get. In the game's final moments, Aaron Rodgers led an awesome drive to bring the Pack back to tie it. It seemed that maybe this is when the Packers would start getting some breaks as well during their season. Then on the kickoff the Falcons got a huge return that set them up for game winning field goal. Another heart breaking loss in what seemed like would be another season of heartbreak. Still, I was confident that their was still a lot of good to come out of this season.

The Packers made right the following week by taking it to the 49ers, highlighted by Donald Driver's spectacular run after a catch that lead to what may be the touchdown of the year. Then the week after, Green Bay headed to Detroit for what should have been a free win, right? We'll win that game, and then easily head to the playoffs. There is just no way that we would lose this game, at least that was the collective thoughts of Packers fans. But then Aaron Rodgers goes down with a concussion, and a crushing 7-3 loss makes it look like our season is all but over. How could it be the Lions to end our season? Can an outcome like this really happen to a storied franchise like the Packers? This was our year, and there is no way a game against the Lions is going to end it. For me and my friends, this loss occurred the week before we were all to head out to Boston for our annual Packer road trip. I began to wonder, will we ever see this team do something great again?

Because of the loss to Detroit, I woke up on Monday morning feeling like selling my ticket to the game against New England just to try and get more drinking money for the weekend. As the week went on, I really don't know what it was, but something came over me telling me that we were going to win this game. The Packers will shock the world, and win the last three games, easily heading into the playoffs with all the momentum in the world. I figured that we had a solid defense, and our offense should be able to score on the Pats defense. I don't really know why I felt so confident as the week went on, maybe going to the game itself might have had something to do with it.

I was looking forward to this trip all season, but when we first booked it the thinking was that the Packers would be playing for home field advantage in the playoffs. Instead this game almost had to be won for us to even get there. Game or not though, this turned out to be the best Packers trip that we had taken by far. As you can tell from the picture above, we did a lot of drinking. We may have even lost a person for awhile. There may have been a trip member that had to spend the whole second day in the hotel because he had too much the first day. But it was a great time, even before the game was to be played that Sunday night.

For game day we took a bus from a Packer bar in the heart of Boston to the parking lot out in Foxboro. As the game got closer, it felt like the making of a special game. DeSean Jackson had a game winning punt return against the Giants that really opened the door for Packers. The Lions were able to pull off another upset, this time against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. And we had spent the afternoon watching the Jets get a huge win against the Steelers on a TV connected to the side of an RV. It was just a crazy day of football, which led me to believe that something crazy would happen during the Sunday nightcap as well.

Crazy is exactly what happened, because this was one of the strangest games of the year. The Packers start off with a surprising, and successful, onside kick. They take a 17-7 lead, before some lineman returns a kick 71 yards. Still winning at halftime, backup quarterback Matt Flynn throws a pick six right away in the third. The Packers fight back to take the lead, but then need one last drive to win it only to come up short on a 4th and 1. The offense had the chance to win it, but just came up short. I think this shinned a light on the defense, I really do. They realized that they blew it last season, and it was now time for them as a unit to step up and carry this team into the playoffs. As we were walking out of the stadium, getting heckled the whole way out, I just kept telling people that we'd see them in a few months, more specifically in the Super Bowl. Turns out the Patriots would never get the invite.

After this game, the Packers were forced to win out in their final two for a trip to the playoffs. I think the only thing that went the Packers way all season was getting two home games to end the year. I had family Christmas during the Giants game, and I have to say because of this it was one of the best family Christmas's ever. Watching the game with the family and seeing the Pack just crush the Giants was awesome. Rodgers came back healthy and ready, and showed that he was ready to make a run at it all. Next up was the Chicago Bears on the final week of the season. I was able to attend this game, and well it wasn't the greatest win ever. It was another hard fought game, but the Packers did what they had to do to win. Nick Collins picked off the last pass of the regular season, and gave me a lot of hope going into the playoffs.

From the time the Bears game ended up until the playoff game on Sunday, all I could think about was the Packers. With everything the Packers had to go through just to get to the playoffs it just felt like their year to win it all. I can't say why I felt so confident for every playoff game, but I knew that I would be crushed if we lost. I felt that we should have been favored every game, because this team was using the Patriots game as fuel to their fire. They knew that they had to overcome a lot of things to get to the playoffs, but went they got there they had no excuse. In the postseason, we would play three teams we had already played in the regular season, so we knew their game plans. Also the run defense had been so great of late, which forced the other teams' QB to get in a shootout with ours. Rodgers knew that we didn't have much of a run game, and all the other teams we played relied on the on run game a lot. All those factors only lead to my increased confidence.

Now, we had been hearing since week one when Ryan Grant went down that the Packers had no running game. But despite that injury, and many others, the Packers got to the playoffs with what they have and made that  work all the way through the playoffs. I watched the playoffs at a local bar in Fond du Lac, and while that doesn't seem ideal, I wouldn't have had it any other way. I was initially against the idea of watching such important games at a bar, because I just like to be home and able to hear everything during the broadcast. But I eventually gave in, as the weeks went on so did other people, as it seemed like the crowds got bigger and rowdier every week. We started a pregame routine at the bar, playing "Start Me Up" and "Bang on the Drum". Winks would buy a round of SoCo Limes for a warmup shot, and then we'd watch our Packers do what they do, and that became winning games. I may have lost all my finger nails after every game, but man I will never forget those five weeks of my life.

For how much time I invest in this team, this season was really something special. The moment that pass on 4th and 5 hit the the ground I just had to pause and take it in. After about a minute I think I hugged about five people, and picking a teary-eyed Winks off the ground to give him a hug is something I been waiting for forever. The final thing I had to do was text my dad, and all I said was "AWESOME."

It was a roller coaster of a season for sure this year. Before the season we felt like no one would beat us. But then Ryan Grant goes down in the first game. The Bears beat us week three, and we are 3-3 after week six. We get back our swagger back against Brett Favre. In between there somewhere I went as Ben Roethlisberger for Halloween (and no I didn't rape anyone). The Packers drop a tough one in Atlanta, and then drop another one to the Lions. The season looks all but over, and then some how we make the playoffs. Down go the Eagles, Falcons, and Bears. Of all people we have to face big Ben in the Super Bowl, and I still have a Roethlisberger jersey in my closet as I celebrate a Packers Super Bowl win against the Steelers. It was a whirlwind right, but it's nice to once again be able to say that we are the World Champions.

This team showed us the definition of what a team really is. They had good times in the season together, and they had their bad times together. It is just unbelievable what they had to go through to bring the Lombardi Trophy back to Green Bay. Not only did this team deserve it, but the Green Bay fans also needed this. The state of Wisconsin has great sport fans, and we just really needed a championship. It has been a long time, and we deserved every minute of it. So as you sit around the house on these football-less weekends, be sure to remind yourself just how incredible the past six months were. This was the by far was the ride of my life, and I hope I can experience something like this again sometime soon. This season was special, and it will always be the season to remember.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Marquette Can't Hold Off G-Town

A graphic was shown during the Marquette/Georgetown on Sunday that featured Marquette as one of the Big East bubble teams. I'm afraid that the result of this game could the one be does Marquette in this season and bursts their bubble once an for all. They will almost have to beat St. John's on Tuesday in a must win type scenario. It would be huge if they beat UConn in a week and a half. If they can't take care of business in the regular season, then they will really have to win a lot of games in the Big East Tourney.

It looked promising at times, but in the end Marquette fell short to the Hoyas 69-60. Marquette was the best team in the first half, but really got screwed by one call. DJO made a three to put Marquette up 29-21. He was then called for a technical, because he put up the three fingers around his eye like Brandon Jennings does. I guess I don't know where you draw the line for college celebrations. How is that any different from a guy tugging on his jersey and showing off his heart? I say as long as they don't say anything, or do Reggie Miller choke signs, you should let them be. The Hoyas would make both free throws, and then made a three after that.

That one sequence really did change the game a lot. Marquette could have went on a nice run right before halftime, but the call was made. You can't blame the one call for the loss, but it just seemed that Georgetown got all the calls in this game. The officiating was just one of the problems for Marquette however. They worked so hard on defense in the first half, but wore down late in the game. Jae Crowder and Dwight Buycks were very cold on offense, as they combined for 8 points.

Chris Wright was on fire Sunday for Georgetown, as he finished with 20 points on 5-9 shooting from downtown. Downtown shooting is what really did in Marquette, because they only made two of the twelve shots they took. Marquette did get 12 points out of Davante Gardner, but he ended up fouling out. He is only averaging four points a game, so it was big to get some offense from him. He is a big body, but needs to learn how to move his feet on defense.

So with St. John's up on Tuesday, it really does feel like a much win situation. St. John's has beat some good teams this year, so they will get some looks from the tournament committee for their resume. They blew out Duke a couple weeks ago, which leads me to believe they are the real deal. It will not be an easy game, but Marquette does get to play them at home. Tip will be at 8:00 central time at the Bradley Center.

Big Game Badgers

March 3, 1962 - Wisconsin defeats an undefeated #1 Ohio State basketball team. Since then, Wisconsin has gone 0-18 versus teams ranked #1...until Saturday, February 12, 2011. Wisconsin overcame a 15-point deficit in the second half to extend Ohio State's 11 year winless streak at the Kohl Center and keep the slate clean at home.

Wisconsin started the game with a controlled pace with tough defense and accurate shooting from beyond the arc. A late flurry by Ohio State closed the gap and actually found the Buckeyes leading by 2 at halftime. The second half opened with the Buckeyes maintaining the first half momentum and sprinting out the the aforementioned 15 point assisted by cold shooting and lackadaisical defense by Bucky. It's at this point that the Jordan Taylor stepped in and took over.

Taylor took the ball in his hands and started burying threes and spurring the Badgers to their typical suffocating defense. Once the Badgers tied the game at 47, it was theirs from that point on. The Kohl Center was rockin' and the energy was palpable through the television. Once it was tied, the Badgers clamped down on defense knowing they would have their chances on the free-throw line which is exactly what happened.

71-67 - #13/#14 Wisconsin over #1 Ohio State...the second time in four months a Wisconsin team has beaten a #1 ranked Ohio State team (October 16, 2010: Ohio State 18 - Wisconsin 31).

Bo Ryan deserves a lot more credit than he gets. With Dick Vitale singing the praises of the Buckeyes and Jared Sulliinger and claiming the Badgers weren't a team capable of coming back from such a deficit, Bo's Boys did just that. A fact not lost on a certain Super Bowl MVP.

Bucks Tank Another Fourth Quarter

Same shit different night for the Bucks on Saturday. Down by three points going into the fourth quarter, and they just sink it up in the fourth. It was another ugly scene at the Bradley Center, and the Pacers would go on to win 103-97, and the score was much closer than the game was. You would think with the Lombardi Trophy in the arena the Bucks would step up their game. That was not the case however, as they only played three quarters Saturday night out of the four that normal NBA teams play.

The game was also tough on the Bucks health-wise. Corey Maggette started off the game hot, but left with a back injury. Carlos Delfino took over for him, and scored a team high 21 points. The starters had a rough night as both Bogut and Jennings scored 10 points to lead the way for them. If your leading scorer out of your starters had only 10 points, don't think you are going to win a lot of games. They did all this in front of  Packers all-pro Charles Woodson, who was sitting court side. That guy has tons of heart, you would think the Bucks could have shown some on his behalf.

On the other side of the floor, the Pacers have played awesome since they fired they replaced Jim O'Brien with Frank Vogel at the head coaching position. I don't think a coaching change would help our team out all, but the Pacers are 7-1 since they made the change. This was supposed to be the part of the year we started playing well, but we have yet to see it. Will we ever see it? I'm starting to think not.

It is getting tough to have any faith in this team right now. I still think Skiles should shake up the starting five, because it couldn't get much worse at this point. Milwaukee has two more home games before the all-star break. They have the Clippers Monday, and the Nuggets on Wednesday. If they could somehow win those two games maybe this season can be saved. We will have to wait and see, because I don't think this season has any chance of getting better.

For more on the Bucks, including a look at whether the Bucks should make a change at the head coaching position, make sure you check back here early this week for the first edition of "Winks Thinks" since the reformatting of the blog.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Cannibalization of the Champion is Underway

This very well may be an on-going series. Wide Receivers Coach Jimmy Robinson has been snatched up for the same position with Jason Garrett's staff in Dallas. He's also slated for the Assistant Head Coach position. This may be a huge hit for the offense as he formed this Green Bay wide receiver group into argueably the top[ in the league. [Zugswang]

[WRs Coach Robinson hired by Cowboys]

I Don't See Playoffs in Bucks Future

Look at that live action shot from our very own founder of The Bucky Channel. Winks brother works for the Memphis Grizzlies, so he decided to visit him when the Bucks were in town. His brother hooked him up very nice with seats at the scorers table next to Ted Davis the voice of the Bucks Radio (read more about the experience in an upcoming Winks Thinks this week). This game was just another Bucks game where they looked awful to start, than put a little run together, but only to fall in the end. Milwaukee lost again 89-86 Friday night. Lets look at some bullet points from this game.

* Milwaukee scored 40 points in the first half, and 86 for the game. This has to improve, because the defense is there. Any team in the NBA is going to score 90 points a night, so if you can't you are not going to win games.

* Corey Maggette scored all of his 22 points in the second half. 20 of those points came in the third quarter alone. Where the hell was the rest of the team on offense.

* Andrew Bogut was 2-9 from the field with 5 points for the game. I don't know if it is the elbow, or if he is just playing this bad. I think if they know the elbow is bothering him they should just shut his ass down for the season. He has to improve, or else this team will never be good again.

* Luc Richard Mbah a Moute should be starting for Ilyasova, and Ersan should be your spark off the bench. Ersan can score, but doesn't seem to shoot a lot when the starters are on the court.

* Bucks shot 28-77 for a ugly 36.4% Friday night. Dude Clay Matthews was on WWE check it out. It wasn't that good, but it was better than watching a team shoot 36.4%

* Memphis shouldn't beat you if Zach Randolph is not playing in the game.

Milwaukee is now 3.5 games back of the 8th seed, but play the Pacers Saturday to maybe cut that down a game. Either way this team still has a lot to prove. Friday morning the Bucks had a players meeting, but I don't know if that will even help at this point. Some of the Packers will be honored on the court at halftime Saturday night, so that gives you one reason to watch it. If you go to the game you will receive a 1971 championship bobble head. Those are the positives, and for the negatives they will still play the game at 7:30 central time on FSN.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Friday Morning YouTube Potpourri

I've always thought of myself as someone that had decent accuracy. From things like beer pong to throwing a crumpled up piece of paper into a trash can at work, I can usually reach my target. But the following video from UConn backup quarterback Johnny McEntee is unreal. Just simply unreal (h/t Dr. Saturday).

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Pack Fan / Bears Fan (SUPER BOWL EDITION)

We’re still on cloud nine around here…the Green Bay Packers are World Champions! Despite the preseason prognostications, this was an unexpected result. There will be a Season-Ending Pack Fan / Bears Fan to focus on the past season as a whole and to look toward the future so we’ll just focus on the Super Bowl. This game was a textbook microcosm of the season as a whole. Obviously, when you WIN the SUPER BOWL, there aren’t a lot of negatives but there are a few things that weren’t positive. You’ll see, just read on…

Pack Fan
  1. MVP: Aaron Rodgers…what more can be said that hasn’t already been uttered. The guy was masterful. He chucked darts all night, made the Steelers pay for their mistakes and played like a seasoned veteran.
  2. Jordy Steps UP: 9 receptions for 140 yards…a new Green Bay Packers record for receiving yards in a Super Bowl surpassing a drunken Max McGee’s record from Super Bowl I by 2. The guy had a great game and if not for a few drops, he could very well have given QB1 some competition for MVP.
  3. Team Win: There was not one unit that can this win can be completely attributed to (preposition ending a sentence alert!). The offense played well though there were too many drops by the wide receivers and the run game was just not part of the game plan. The defense played well but was by no means shut-down dominant and special teams did their job. Everyone played well, did their job and secured the Packers grip on the Lombardi Trophy.
  4. Match-ups: This game was about us versus them. Winning individual battles. A true game of chess on the football field. There’s no denying that Mike McCarthy is a tremendous tactician but he had his men prepared to win those challenges.
  5. Confidence: The story of McCarthy having the team sized for their championship rings has become almost legendary. It just demonstrates what Aaron Rodgers has been saying and what Mike McCarthy has been exuding down the stretch. McCarthy alluded to it before the Patriots game, “We’re nobody’s underdog.” This is a guy who believed whole-heartedly in his team no matter what the obstacles were and that big smile he had in his Super Monday press conference said it all. Like he said, he laid it all on Aaron Rodgers for the offense and knew Charles Woodson and Dom Capers would take care of the defensive side.
Bears Fan
  1. Missed Opportunities: Jordy’s drops were mentioned above but James Jones also had a key drop in the second quarter that very well should have been a touchdown. Brett Swain also had a two key third down drops though I maintain that he caught that pass in the 4th quarter which looked like a fumble but was ruled incomplete.
  2. Injuries: In successive plays, the Packers lost Sam Shields to a shoulder injury and Charles Woodson to a broken collarbone. Prior to that, Donald Driver got twisted up like a pretzel and sustained knee and ankle injuries. Additionally, Jordy was on crutches for Tuesday’s “Return to Titletown” celebration at Lambeau Field with what turns out to be a bursa sac injury to his knee. Fortunately, Shields came back after halftime and was able to contribute though he was not himself as he was unable to be very physical with the receivers at the line of scrimmage and thus was burned for what ended up being Pittsburgh’s touchdown. Everyone will recover and be ready for next season (fingers crossed) but had these things happened in the NFC Championship game, it’s doubtful that any of them would have played in the Super Bowl.
As mentioned, there will be a "Season in Review" Pack Fan / Bears Fan to discuss the season as a whole coming later this month. Enjoy this fans. Enjoy every pounce of it because if the latest news from CBA negotiations is any indication, we could be in for a rough and NFL-less 2011.

Marquette/Wisconsin Squeak Out Wins

It took overtime for Wisconsin to take care of business Wednesday night in Iowa, but the Badgers were still able to win 62-59 on the road. I still will never understand one thing about the Badgers, because I think they thought Wednesday night was a three point shooting contest. The Badgers were 8-29 from deep, chucking up three's whenever possible. However, the two converted attempts in overtime were very huge for this team, so maybe practice makes perfect. Jordan Taylor started off overtime with a three, and Tim Jarmusz also knocked one down to seal it for Bucky.

The loss drops Iowa to 3-9 in the Big Ten, but they could have easily won this game. They had the final look in regulation, and Bryce Cartwright missed a jumper from the baseline. It was a good look, but went a little long. Cartwright was the leading scorer for Iowa, but he could have made this a different story for Bo Ryan's team had that shot gone in.

Wisconsin on the other hand is now 8-3 in the Big Ten, and 18-5 overall. Saturday will be the big test as Ohio State comes to the Kohl Center. I really don't understand how this game isn't on at 7 or 8 at night in front of a primetime audience. The number one team in the nation is traveling to what I think is a top 5 place that I wouldn't want to play at. But Instead the game will be at 1:00 central time, right in the heart of your Saturday. For those like me who are working during the day you may have to catch the game on (the television broadcast is on ESPN).

If the trend of the last eight games holds true, then you can expect Wisconsin to fall on Saturday. In those last eight games they lost, won three straight, lost again, and won another three straight. So will the trend hold up, or will Wisconsin hand Ohio State it's first loss of the year? Even with the trend that I dug very hard to discover,  I would still put my money on the Badgers in this one, because they always seem to step up in big games. Maybe they replicate the magic that the football team had earlier this season.

While Bucky has a sure shot to the Big Dance, Marquette is doing all they can to stay on the right side of the bubble. The Golden Eagles didn't need overtime to win, but they  did need a huge late second half to pull out a cheap win. Marquette also should have lost to a team that struggles in conference play, but they came back to beat South Florida 59-58 Wednesday. Marquette, a team that always seems to always play well in the first half and blow it in the second, switched it up against USF. The Golden Eagles were down 31-24 at halftime, and needed to use the second half to play catchup.

South Florida came out of the second half firing however, and Marquette was down by 16 twice in the latter stages of the game. But this team fought back and picked up an ugly win. Vander Blue started in place of Jimmy Butler, as Butler is recovering from a concussion suffered on Saturday. Butler did come in to score 12 points off the bench, and he made some shots late. Jae Crowder led the way for Marquette scoring 14 points. Marquette shot 7-19 from the free throw line, which is just awful if you want to win against good teams, but apparently good enough against South Florida. In all honesty, it wasn't a good night for the two Wisconsin teams on the road, but they each picked up a win and that's really all that matters.

Marquette will have a few days to get back in the flow of things. They are back on the court Sunday at G-Town with a noon tip central time. The Golden Eagles have two games left against ranked teams, so this will be a big game. I think if they can win at least one of those games it should give them a good resume for the big dance. They play UConn on the road February 29th, and will need to damn near win out if they drop both of these games. If they struggle down the stretch, they may need to rely on a Big East tourney run to get into the tournament. In the end, Marquette's strength of schedule from playing in the Big East should work in their favor and get them to the dance, but you can never be too sure.

Bucks Lay Egg in D.C.

This is getting painful, and I have about three more bad games left in me before I give up on this team completely. The Bucks should be so much better than this, but they are just playing like absolute crap. Milwaukee's inability to play to their ability helped the Wizards snap an eight game skid on Wednesday night, as they beat the Bucks 100-85. Milwaukee was 4-14 from downtown, and 5-12 from the free throw line. Those are like stats from a crappy Conference USA team.

When the Wizards get only five points from Rashard Lewis you should be able to beat this team by 20. But somehow guys without the big name have been able to take it to the Bucks lately. Nick Young, pictured on the left, did just that on Wednesday night. He was the leading scorer of the game finishing with 26 points. Cartier Martin finished with 15 points and 4 rebounds. He was 5-7 from deep on the game, so he made more three's himself then the Bucks did as a team.

Milwaukee is now 2.5 games out of the 8th seed. If you are still a fan of this team I'd say you have to be worried about them reaching the playoffs. No one on the team is stepping up and making plays when needed. Jennings finished with 20 points Wednesday, but was 9-24 from the field to do it. Jennings has been cold as of late, and I think he should be looking to pass first instead of chucking up shots. Andrew Bogut finished with a 12 point, 11 rebound night, but he should be a 20 and 10 guy night in and night out.

Milwaukee is now 20-31 on the season, and I would have never seen this coming. Milwaukee will head to Memphis on Friday, and to be honest I don't see the Bucks winning this game. Memphis has been playing very good lately and should have no problem with this Bucks team. Tip is at 7:00 central time on FSN. Watch if you dare, but I would advise you check out the Packers on WWE Smackdown that night instead.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

More Super Bowl Thoughts

It's been 3 days and the happiness is still there. I have to say contentment is the biggest feeling I have now. In the lead up to the game and aftermath of the game, everyone from Rick Reilly to Bill Simmons to Rachel Maddow was praising the Green Bay Packers - everything they are and everything the represent. The unique aspects of the franchise make it easy to love and it seems like impossible to hate. What other team would have 50,000 fans come out to celebrate in 9 degree weather on frozen aluminum bleachers?

Anyways I thought I'd look back on some of awesome events and circumstances that make this team and this season so special. This group is full of great stories. Of course we all know the Rodgers/Favre story and the Clay Matthews walk-on story, so I'll take a look at a few other stories about the 2010/2011 Packers and Super Bowl XLV.

-Jarrett Bush-

I've read a lot of Super Bowl coverage, but I can't believe how little people have mentioned Jarrett Bush. This guy has been the whipping boy of the media and fans for years. He would get sh** on nearly every time he was on the screen. How he is still on this team, I do not know. The perennial special teamer I guess. He has been burned more times than I know and just looks awful pretty much every time he has been in there. Career Stats: 78 games played, 1 interception. 1 Superbowl, 1 interception. He came through when it counted (I'll ignore his getting burned just a few minutes later for the Hines Ward TD.) I'm happy for him, and I'll lay off him for at least next season.

Week 15 - The Packers were so close to not even making the playoffs. Everyone remembers the Giants 4th quarter collapse to Mike Vick and the Eagles in week 15 that allowed us to control our own destiny, but it was also the week 15 overtime victory by the Lions over the Buccaneers that also got us into the playoffs. This was just as improbable. The Lion, going in with 26 GAME ROAD LOSING STREAK, got the ball back at their own 32 down by three with no timeouts left, 1:39 left, and Drew Stanton as quarterback. Somehow he marched them down the field for the game tying and game winning field goal. Thus the Packers are in the playoffs and not the Bucs.
Thanks Drew Stanton.

Al Harris - This is one regret. I wish Al Harris could've been on this team. It would have been great to see him come in for the injured Charles Woodson and save the day. Anyway, still a great Packer and owner of one of the best ever Packers plays. I'm sure he was watching the game proudly.

Atari Bigby - Despite doing little to nothing this season, it was great to see Bigby leading the troops out of the tunnel.

Rodgers Celebration - A-Rodg had a nice Jim Valvano moment after the Steelers missed their 4th down play to end the game. Running around like a kid, looking for someone to hug. Each time ESPN showed it they cut away right before he finally met someone. I wonder who the first person he hugged was.

Desmond Bishop - This guy was our 4th middle linebacker at the start of the season. Injuries to Nick Barnett and Brandon Chillar make him a starter. He steps up during the season and makes HUGE plays in the playoffs. Kudos too to Frank Zombo for coming out of nowhere to dutifully replace the also injured Brad Jones and Brady Poppinga.

AJ Hawk - Another unsung member of our great linebacking core. He will never have the hair, the speed, the big play ability of Clay Matthews, and I'm sure Clay's girlfriend is much better looking than Brady Quinn's sister, but Hawk was solid all season long, not spectacular, maybe not up to the level of a top 5 pick, but he was a key contributor to the Super Bowl march, especially after all the LB injuries. It was nice to see him on NFL Countdown reflecting on everything.

Howard Green - Huge guy, huge play, forcing Big Ben into the INT. Love his story being castaway by the Jets, then helping beat them the next week. Also, who can forget how little his jersey was in his first game with the Packers?

Shaun Suisham - Cut by the Cowboys, Redskins, Browns, and Rams this guy was then attempting a 52-yard field goal in the Super Bowl. Anyone surprised with the outcome of that kick? Wow.

Johnny Jolly - Lastly,lots of people want to know what Brett Favre was doing during the Super Bowl, but I oh so desperately want to know what Johnny Jolly doing. Did he watch the game? Did he go to Dallas? Did he get arrested? He is from Houston and apparently not yet in jail, so I'm going to speculate it was some sort of liquid codeine binge eventually meeting up with Lil Wayne to celebrate the Packers victory. Lots of purple drank and Styrofoam cups. Yes!

Super Bowl Champs! Even the stories at the periphery are great. Thanks for the contributions guys.

I'm Coming Home (Packers Remix)

This video isn't flawless by any means, but in the spirit of this being the best week ever it's more than worth a look (courtesy of Packers Lounge).

My goodness, I still can't believe this happened. Any of it. What an amazing season. Oh crap, here come the tears again.

For a video a little more, let's say lighthearted, let's check out a piece Marisa Miller did for Fox Sports back in 2005 before the NFL Draft. Aaron Rodgers makes his appearance about 28 seconds in, and then he explores the space a little bit on the dance floor. Poor girls have no clue who they are dancing with, either (courtesy of the Facebook page).

Trying to Switch Gears a Bit

Part of me almost wishes that we could just be in a continued state of celebration in light of the Packers Super Bowl victory, and never have to worry about another thing again. I'd like to stay on this pinnacle and never come down from this high, but as I'm realizing all too well this week life must still go on. We'll have the Super Bowl victory to celebrate forever, but the moment is passing and soon our conversations will be centered around some of the other teams that we love, particularly the ones here in Wisconsin. With the way things are going though, that might not necessarily be a bad thing.

Its been easy to associate Wisconsin sports with heartbreak especially as of late, but perhaps the tide is turning as the result of the Packers championship. If you've been on the Brewers website lately, you've seen countless articles about their players hoping to emulate the Packers success, and they are confident that they have the team to do it. The acquisitions of Zach Greinke and Shawn Marcum have only fueled that fire. It's only a couple of weeks until pitchers and catchers report, and before you know it the grills will be fired up at Miller Park. It seems impossible to think about that now as we're still on a Super Bowl high, but if anyone can help us it's the man who broke the news of the Greinke trade, Jim Breen of Bernie's Crew. Breen released a podcast on Wednesday that should allow us to start getting in Brewers mode. Check it out over at Bernie's Crew, which features an interview with catcher Jonathan Lucroy.

But the Brewers are still a couple of months away from playing meaningful baseball. In the meantime, we have plenty of basketball to get excited about. The Wisconsin Badgers appear to be having the most promising season, currently sitting at 17-5 with a 7-3 clip in the Big Ten. They rank number 13 in the AP Poll and 14 in the ESPN/USA Today Poll, climbing a few spots as a result of a 26-point win over Michigan State on Sunday that was clearly overshadowed by the Super Bowl. Bucky has a tough stretch of games coming up now with Iowa tonight at 7:30pm, and then #1 Ohio State and #12 Purdue in the next week. The way that they have been playing, they could potentially win all three of these contests. Hitting their jumpers is the key to their success, and we'll see how it plays out over the next seven days.

If you're more into Marquette, however, things haven't been going as well as you might have liked this season. The Golden Eagles currently sit at 14-9 with a 5-5 record in the Big East, and even though they could be considered one of the best first-half teams in the country, their inability to close out games has been their achilles heel this season. Their season started to look promising with a win over Syracuse last week, but then they went right back out and dropped a game to Nova. They seem to be a bubble team in every sense of the word, but's Andy Katz currently has them as an eight seed if the season ended today. The meat of their schedule is really now behind MU, with just two games left against ranked opponents, those being Georgetown and and UConn. You'd like to see them win one of those games, but as long as they can keep beating the teams they are supposed to, I don't worry when it comes to Marquette making the Big Dance.

The team we might need to be worried the most about right now is the Milwaukee Bucks. They couldn't have looked worse against the Detroit Pistons on Saturday night in the Bradley Center, but they did rectify that loss a bit with a 92-74 win over the Raptors on Tuesday night. Both games should have been wins in reality, but the Bucks will take what they can get at this point. Currently, the Bucks sit at 20-30 in the East, yet somehow sit just 1 1/2 games out of the eighth seed in the conference. With how bad Milwaukee has been playing of late, I'm not sure they'll make it to the playoffs, but their schedule is just so weak the rest of the day it's almost as if they don't have a choice but to make it and eventually lose to either Boston or Miami in the playoffs. For the time being, the Bucks have a very winnable game tonight in Washington, a Friday night affair in Memphis (of which I'll be in attendance!), and then they return to the BC to take on Indiana on Saturday night. Anything less than two wins in those three games is unacceptable.

What this post is trying to establish is that there are still plenty of other teams to root for, even though myself is not personally ready to do that yet. But who knows? Maybe 2011 will turn out to be an exceptionally great year for Wisconsin sports, and not just the Packers. We already had the Badgers in the Rose Bowl (even though they lost) and they looked primed for further success come this fall (even though TCU has turned down an apparent rematch). Who knows how well these basketball teams can do, and of course the optimism has never been higher in Milwaukee for the Crew. I'm not sure that any of these teams will be able to bring me the joy that I'm feeling about the Packers right now, but I'm willing to give it a shot.

That's what being a fan is all about.

Dear Aaron

Dear Aaron,

I feel like I can call you Aaron because you and me are so much alike. I would love to meet you some day. It would be great to have a catch. I know I can't throw as accurately as you, but I think you would be impressed with my hands. I love your title belt celebration. You run fast. Do you have a good relationship with your father? Me neither. These are all things we can talk about and more. I know you have not been getting my letters because I know you would write back if you did, and I hope you write back this time and we get to be good friends. I am sure our relationship would be a real touchdown.


If you need clarification, watch this video

Matthews Involved in WWE Smackdown Angle

I don't know about you, but I am still in a whirlwind state of mind after watching the Packers win Super Bowl XLV, and just typing that sentence gives me goosebumps. But I'm just some guy with a computer, so if I feel this good I can only imagine how the actual members of the Green Bay Packers feel. While most of us are already back in our normal work routines, the Packers will be celebrating their championship for weeks to come. We already saw Aaron Rodgers go from Dallas to Disney to Letterman to Green Bay in a 24-hour span, and that is an example of the kinds of hectic life many of these Packers will be living in the next couple of weeks. One member of the Packers who is set to have an especially interesting next couple of days is Clay Matthews.

Matthews was with the rest of his teammates for the team's Return to Titletown celebration on Tuesday afternoon, and then joined a handful of them over at the Resch Center to take in an episode of WWE Smackdown which will air Friday Night on SyFy at 7pm. reports that Donald Driver, Graham Harrell, Donald Lee, Brandon Jackson, Scott Wells, Tom Crabtree were in attendance as well, along with practice squaders Chris Campbell and Curtis Young. But the highlight of the episode is going to come at the very end of the show, and spoiler alert for all you wrestling fans out there, when Clay Matthews will make an in-ring appearance. Via
Edge vs. Dolph Ziggler for the World Heavyweight Championship with Vickie Guerrero as the special guest referee. Vickie keeps fast-counting Edge, getting more heat than anyone on the show. Vickie spears Edge and goes out with an ankle injury. Edge spears Dolph Ziggler twice. Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews comes out wearing a referee shirt and makes the three count. After the match, he and Edge celebrate with their title belts to end the show. Huge pop for Matthews and Edge. All the Packers at the show join them in the ring.
I know that's foreign language to a lot of you, but basically Edge is the wrestler that is the current champion, while a guy named Dolph Ziggler is the challenger. Dolph's girlfriend (and Edge's ex-wife) Vickie is the guest referee. Intriguing, right? The storyline is that the odds were stacked against the babyface (read: good guy) Edge, but then Clay Matthews comes out to save him. Basically, it's going to be awesome whether you like wrestling or not, so make sure you check it out.

It's just the start of a busy week for the Claymaker, who is set to go on The Tonight Show (boo) Wednesday night and then on Ellen's show this Thursday. I imagine it's just the start of many media appearances that will take place in upcoming months by members of this Super Bowl winning team. Since I'm with Charles Woodson and never want this high to end, these onslaught of appearances are something I can get used to.

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