Monday, March 7, 2011

Rough Weekend For Wisconsin Sports

It was not a good weekend for sports teams here in Wisconsin, specifically starting at about 5:00pm Central time on Saturday. That is when the Marquette Golden Eagles tried to finish off their regular season with a much needed win at Seton Hall. A win would have put Marquette over .500 for the season in Big East play, and also would have all but wrapped up a spot for them in the dance. Sadly, that result did not come to fruition because Seton Hall (who have been hot of late) took it to Marquette 85-72. I'm not sure exactly how damaging this loss really will be, but it'd be wise for Marquette to at least make a dent in the Big East Tourney. They start the tournament on Tuesday at 8:00pm, taking on Providence on ESPNU. I really do think that a loss in this game would doom them for sure. If they lose, that means they would end the season on a three game losing streak in three games that they should have won.

As for Saturday's game, Jimmy Butler was again really the only Golden Eagle to show up. Dwight Buycks did make an appearance with a good game on the shooting end, but as a team they just didn't play any defense. They really are not a team that should be giving up 49 points in one half, and when they were down 49-35 at halftime they really had no chance to come back. Otule and Crowder played a lot of minutes, but had no stats to show for it down low for Marquette. Rebounding has always been a weak spot for Marquette, and it showed Saturday. Seton Hall missed 16 free throws and they still blew Marquette out, a fact which scares me a lot. I hope they can win Tuesday to make this season not turn into a total melt down.

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Also taking place on Saturday night was this weekend's Milwaukee Admirals game. I know they are not talked about a lot on this blog, but I wanted to mention how much fun I had at the game (which we went to as part of a bachelor party). The Admirals did a lot of little things around the stadium between breaks and intermissions which created a very fan friendly atmosphere. James Jones, Jordy Nelson, and Desmond Bishop were at the game, so that made it cool too. They sat right above us in a box seat, and I was able to shake Bishop's hand before some bigger hick hockey fans got mad at me for blocking their view. At this point in the game the Admirals were down 3-1. I under stand that they paid to sit in those seats, but you had to see this coming with Super Champions sitting right above you. Plus, if you don't want to be bothered, spend the extra five bucks and get better seats.

As for the team on the ice, it turns out they are actually pretty good as they are first in the AHL's West Division. But on Saturday night they gave up a goal about 50 seconds into the game, and they could never recover from it. The Admirals were beat 4-2 Saturday night (even though 3-1 is the last score that I remember). After the second intermission, the Admirals brought about 40 fans down on the ice to throw balls to Nelson and Jones. Believe it or not Jones caught all 20 of his balls, and his team won. Nelson was 19-20, only because some eight year old kid threw his pass right into the ground. After that the Admirals kept up the fan friendly atmosphere with a game of chuck-a-puck. It was fun, but I don't think any of mine were close. Two fans I sat by didn't even make it over the glass, so I beat them. Hey, we've never really covered the Admirals before, this is the kind of analysis we're offering. \

*****

After a long week for me personally, especially after the bachelor party on Saturday night, I used Sunday to do nothing but rest. Unfortunately, it looked like the Wisconsin Badgers took the day off as well as Ohio State took down the Badgers 93-65. The Badgers again seemed to focus on the three point shot, and only got to the free throw line nine times. Ohio State on the other hand was 14-15 from downtown, so I really don't think the Badgers stood a chance. I don't understand why college basketball teams can play so awesome at home, and then go on the road and look lost. This is a Badger team that in 29 other games, hasn't  given up more than 90 points, a streak which ended in the regular season finale.

In the new bracket projections, it looks like the Wisconsin beating coupled with the UNC win over Duke (had to get that in there) caused the two teams to switch spots. UNC is now looking like a 2 or 3 seed, and Wisconsin is looking to fall to a 4 seed. That could still change with the tourneys coming this week, but either way Wisconsin will be seeded well. Anytime you're a top four seed you usually have a pretty sweet path to the Sweet 16. If Jordan Taylor plays as well as he is able to, and Leuer keeps doing what he does best, this Badgers team should be fine. The only problem about the Badgers is you don't know which team is going to show up, so how much do you invest on them in your pools. I would ride them to the sweet 16, and after that it is all gravy.

*****

Last, but not least, the ever-struggling Milwaukee Bucks took on the Celtics Sunday night on ESPN. Milwaukee hung around all game, but came up on the short end losing 89-83. The Bucks were still without Andrew Bogut and Ersan Ilyasova, but the team they did field was competitive for the most part. The Bucks played well in the first quarter, but then like the rest of the season the scoring took a plunge. Brandon Jennings and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute both were doing all they could at the offensive end, but no one else could find a consistent stroke Sunday night. Milwaukee needs a guy that can score 20 points a game, and they just don't have that.

I really like Jennings and Mbah a Moute a lot, as you can tell how hard they really work. Yeah, they may have a bad game here and there but you know what you are going to get most nights. Andrew Bogut needs to go back to last season's forms and do what he did then. That leaves either Delfino or Salmons as the guy that needs to be relied on for 17 to 20 points per night. If that would happen, this team could be scary good. Holding the high powered Celtics team to 89 points is great, but it's all for naught when you don't have the scoring to pull out the victory. That makes for a long season, and a long season is what we are having. The Bucks are back at it again Tuesday when they play at the Wizards at 6:00 central time. Can't wait.

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It was a rough couple days for Wisconsin sports, but if you look closely there were a few bright spots here and there. UW-Milwaukee looks destined for a tourney bid as they take on Butler in the Horizon League championship on Tuesday night, and the Brewers are having a decent Spring Training right now. But overall, the weekend was a bit of a downer, especially for myself financially. I'm currently on the losing end of 500 bucks thanks to Potawatomi on Saturday night, so this has just not been a great Monday for me. But like we experience in real life sometimes, you have days or weekends you would just like to forget about. And this weekend is one Wisconsin sports would like to forget, fast. The best part about sports is you always have the next week. And hey, we're still home of the Super Bowl Champions, so we can't complain too much, right?

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