Friday, March 09, 2007

Spartans, Do Not Prepare For Glory

So tonight, as most prognosticators predicted, Wisconsin will play Sparty, again, for the third time this season. I am sick of close games with these guys. Could we finally play them and not have Neitzel look like a white Glenn Rice, circa 1990? Anyhow, my person, the woman, and that Rooster gentleman who mistook me for Mischa Barton's loosely-testicled boyfriend, will be in attendance. Game starts at 5:40 Central, so set your clocks or something. I don't have much in the way of predictions, except to think that it will be a hard fought, long possession, defensive struggle again. I hope Kam regains his shooting touch, I hope Stiemsma plays more than 20 minutes (if this happens it means he is contributing offensively and staying out of foul trouble and that is a very good indicator of success), and I hope we play Bohannon enough to let him hit a few outside shots and loosen up the Sparty defense. I hope that we strap on a ween, take the ball into the lane and draw some fouls. I also hope that the bye comes into play a bit, and Sparty is a bit fatigued from a closer than expected game with NU. Sad, I know, but I'm dead tired of Sparty giving us tough games, and I'll take whatever advantages I can get.

However, I will admit that I'm especially anxious about this evening's game, given that today is the national release of the movie "300." "300" is a fictionalized rendition of the Battle of Thermopylae, a key fight in one of the Persian Army's various attempts to invade Greece back before the common era. In the film, a group of Spartans (300 of them) are made to look especially bad ass, and the film's been getting a lot of hype, and thus I'm worried about some weird kharmic effect taking place tonight. (Can you see Izzo kicking someone from Indiana into a pit and shouting "This is East Laaaansing!")
The movie is based on Frank Miller's graphic novel, which I conveniently purchased from Borders, read and then returned for a full refund a few weeks ago. While the trailers, and apparently the movie itself, are a sloppy bout of congratulatory fellatio for "Spartans" everywhere, and thus the film will probably serve as a psych up movie for every college and high school team called the Spartans from now until the collapse of modern civilization, it does suffer from some fundamental problems, which we, as fans of a superior education institution, should note, and by noting, hope reverse the kharmic tide. First off, besides the 300 Spartans there were several hundred other Greeks fighting at the Battle of Thermopylae. Just emphasizing the Spartans is lame. Second, what's the deal with people's appearances? I'm pretty sure the Spartans had some torso hair, and those outfits. Well, Turan said it quite well when he noted that the Spartan get up makes "'the fiercest soldiers the world has ever known' look like an especially fit group of Santa Monica lifeguards taking part in the Doo-Dah Parade." Third, the Spartans were an insanely militaristic, fascist, violent, and sexually segregated society. Portraying them as "the world's beacon of freedom" as the film apparently does (the book certainly did) is ridiculous. Athens being a cradle of democracy, yes. But Sparta? Please.

Getting back to reality, if UW wins, we'll probably mill around and watch some of Indiana-Illinois to see who the Badgers will play on Saturday. Thus, if Bucky advances, I will attempt to give you some pearls of wisdom from that game. If UW loses, we'll probably get the hell out of there, and there will be no pearls for you.

Also, I must share with you the following. The best preview of the Big Ten Tournament I've found by far was forwarded to me by the infamous Mr. Bimbo, and shockingly, appears to have been written by an Iowa fan. Regardless, it is hilarious, as it's an analysis of the Big Ten Tournament via Saved By The Bell. Intrigued? You should be. See here.

As far as my hopes for the rest of the conference tournament, I'd like Purdue to make the NCAA tournament, so I hope they beat Iowa (go Marcus's older brother!). And I'm tired of Ohio A&M, so I hope Michigan beats them. I also feel bad for Michigan's seniors after that horrid bout of unclutchness against the Buckears last weekend, blowing a six point lead with three minutes left in terrible fashiong--missing the front end of a one and one, multiple silly turnovers that led to lay ups for Conley, and tripping a dunk that could have tied the game with less than a minute left. Just terrible and sad.

If UW wins, I'm not sure who I'd rather have them play between Indiana and Illinois. Illinois is a fine defensive team, has a great coach, and played us very close. But they have trouble scoring. Indiana is an average defensive team that has shot the three-ball insanely well this season. They have lots of athletic guards, and a good low post player in White. If Illinois beats Indiana, there'll be a whole lot of Fibbing going on at the UC on Saturday. (That's code for "there will be lots of Illinois fans in attendance if they make the semi-finals".) Indiana, not so much. But I think Illinois is the weaker team, missing Carlwell and Smith due to that terrible accident, and we have trouble with good outside shooting teams, like Indiana. Maybe I'll decide on the spur of the moment.

Finally, Arizona lost to Oregon in a very poor performance last night, scoring only 50 points and losing by 19, thus bringing the combined record of the "shants" (short pants) and spandex tops teams to 1-2. Not so hot, although Ohio A&M and Florida have yet to play.

Let us represent this evening.

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