So I did not go to University of Wisconsin, or even to a school in the state, like Lawrence or Ripon or Beloit, or even to a school in the Midwest. Instead, I abandoned ship, cried out "westward ho!" and carpetbagged out to California for my undergraduate years. While this may be a form of abandonment, doing so helped crystallize my sporting leanings, as I desperately clung to Bucky and the Packers amid a sea of semi-disinterested, fair-weather California sport fans. Going to college out West also meant that I met another very amusing kid from Wisconsin-- a soccer player from Appleton. One day he gleefully asked me if I knew what "Iowa" stood for. After expressing my ignorance, he told me it meant "Idiots Out Wandering Around," and then started laughing uproariously. While I obviously think that reverse acronym is both silly and not particularly applicable (although the Iowa farmers who doom themselves to the brink of bankruptcy and their land to eventual infertility by overproducing corn and soybeans certainly are idiots, Iowa's state-wide test scores are usually up there with Wisconsin's in the top ten percent of the country, they helped produce both Bielema and Barry, and I have a brilliant friend who attended the famous writers' workshop in Iowa City) it still amuses me, especially when I pass by Iowa fans, and think, or mutter, to myself "Those idiots are still out wandering around!"
The following text message that I received from the elder fool at some point during the first half was the most amusing Iowa-related commentary of yesterday, however:
"Haluska shall henceforth be Ha-musk-a because he looks like he has terrible hygiene and personal odor, like pig [feces], wet cheese, and sweat."
Making fun of Iowa aside, since the woman and I were in attendance yesterday afternoon, my commentary about the Badgers 74-62 win over the Hawkeyes is going to be a bit less analytical than usual. The aforementioned semi-unanalytical analysis:
- I had heard that there's a camera crew following UW around either for HBO's Real Sports or for some ABC show, and you could see them flanking the Wisconsin players during the introductions. I'm sure it makes them a bit more self-conscious. Anyhow, it was weird seeing the camera crew that close to the players. It made the whole deal look like some reality show.
- Although the media reports mentioned the standing ovation Tucker received after they announced he had cracked 2,000 points (he hit the first shot of the game), everyone knew that he had done it immediately after it happened, and he received a standing ovation as the team was running back down the court to get on defense. A-Tuck, showing a true scorer's mentality, hit a three-pointer for the team's next basket.
- Kurt Looby, #52 for Iowa, whose dunk during the Iowa/Wisco game in Iowa City inspired Bill Rafferty to shout out "Lube Job!", has the skinniest legs I've ever seen on a D-I basketball player. We're talking about just as, if not more, skinny than Nick Smith, the Ichabod Crane look-alike who used to play for Illinois. They're about the diameter of a normal person's arms. Plus, his legs are ridiculously long, so long that it looks like they can't find shorts long enough to make his hem-line the same as everyone else's. That is, all the other Iowans' knees were covered by their shorts while Looby's knees and lower thighs were fully revealed. Thus, the spindly legs were revealed for all to see. Poor lad. (Loob Job!)
- There were a few random Iowa fans in the student section. Since UW fans don't seem to do anything while our players are shooting free throws except be somewhat quiet, some guy with a yellow wig on shouted out a very audible "Tucker, you suck!" as Alando shot a free throw in the first half. Alando missed, and the guy received a vigorous rendition of the asshole chant/point.
- Ha-muska is a ridiculous actor. It's going to be a shame when he wins the Big Ten scoring title, because he is a ham--any time he shoots and a defender's anywhere close, he throws his legs out toward them and collapses to the ground. It was worse in Iowa City, but there were still a few moments on Saturday where he got completely bogus calls. On one possession, the refs actually called Landry for "shoving" Haluska after he shot (and made) a jumper. Instead of Haluska shooting a free throw though, Iowa got the made basket and the ball back. Huh?
- Since the Badgers were losing at half-time, and there's that stat flying around about how Bo's record when we're leading at half-time is ridiculous, but is below .500 when we're losing, I was nervous. Now, I know that stat's predictive value is low, particularly in a close game (for example, we lost the Indiana game even though we were winning at half time, by a point), but I was still agitated. Thus as soon as halftime arrived, the woman and I scurried out of our seats and directly over to the Kohl Center outlet of Bucky's Locker Room. See, although the woman recently had her toenails painted red in semi-honor of our trip to Madison, she lacked any visible Wisconsin paraphernalia, and I was convinced that if she allowed me to buy her something Bucky-ish to immediately wear that we could turn the karmic tide, so to speak. Unfortunately, my wife's enthusiasm for college sporting apparel is and has always been limited. I pointed to cute motion "W" winter beanies, and she shook her head. She said she liked a winter hat with Bucky carrying a hockey stick on it, but then said that she meant it would look "cute" (her operative positive word for appearances) only on me. We contemplated buying her Sconnie underwear (there are actually two kinds of thongs available at Bucky's Locker Room), but that wouldn't be visible, and I knew she'd be unwilling to change underwear in the Kohl Center lady's room. She finally did consent to wearing sweat wrist bands, an admission which lead to a furious search of an increasingly crowded store. I eventually found a pair of attractive red wrist bands, thanks to the assistance of a mellow Kathleen Turner-voiced staffer, the woman and I each put one on, and Bucky rallied to victory. Score one for idiotic paranoia!
- The UW dance squad was giving away t-shirts, throwing them into the stands during a break in the second half, and one dancer made such a weak toss, that the t-shirt landed in the section of Iowa family and friends right behind the bench. She was roundly booed by the students.
- Television viewers probably missed the UW student dressed up in a Winnie the Pooh costume. The AV staff kept showing him on the overhead jumbotron, as he participated in some sort of dance off. He's key dance move was a very un-pooh like maneuver, where he'd put his back to the camera, jump off the ground, and smack his own furry orange ass in the air with both hands.
- Flowers got hurt early in the game, and was gimping around for a possession or two. I was pretty concerned given that he was the main D on Hamuska, and, of course, because he rules. He came out later with a big wrap on his knee, and 'Muska spent the next ten minutes or so, driving right at Flowers to see if he could handle it. An interesting bit of in-game stategery.
- I have no idea what happened, but we were turning the ball over like crazy, particularly in the first half. When we don't take care of the ball we tend to lose, so it was good, I guess, that we managed to pull this game out. That's probably due to hitting 7 three-pointers, well above our typical average, and getting a bunch of offensive boards and easy put-backs. That latter development was odd given how Iowa rebounded more effectively than we did in the first game.
- Kill the bunnies! We were missing lay-ups like crazy in the first half. The Hoft was the main culprit, missing some easy put backs, and a lay-up on a three on two break. Dear Joe, you're six foot seven, and look relatively athletic. Before you graduate, I'd like to see you dunk the ball in a meaningful game. I know it takes more energy to jump that high, but if and when it happens, the crowd and the guys on the bench will go bat-shit, I promise.
- Very little Stiemer, and no Pop Hughes this game. We got a lot of Boyanyon and the Hoft though, and for the second game in a row, a little Kevin Gullickson. I wonder if Bo likes to put Bohannon in against Iowa to rub their faces in it a little bit. "Oh look, it's your Mr. Basketball from last season!" I'm sure it's just more playing the match-ups, but it amuses me to think about it.
- When he were up by nine in the last minute of the game, and Iowa began desperation fouling, the student section started chanting "Get up, old people! Clap-clap-clap-clap-clap." I found that quite funny. There's definitely a distinct breakdown amongst the crowd at the Kohl Center. The "old people," and by this I assume the students mean those with good seats in the middle of the lower levels, often seem to be the least enthusiastic. This may because they're more experienced and less easily impressed, or have their children or grandchildren on their laps, or have nodded off, or because their joints don't work as fluidly as in years' past. (I fall into the latter category.) Whatever the reason , I like it when the students single them (us?) out for a little teasing. Well done: