Baby Badgers Making Progess Growing Up

After years of college basketball success in the Big Ten and the NCAA tournament, the Wisconsin Badgers are experiencing growing pains. Gone are four of the five starters from a team that could have won it all. They have finished in the top four of the Big Ten for something like 14 years straight-formerly unheard of in the league. This year, Ethan Happ leads a bevy of freshmen into the war zone. Their play has been mostly consistent by being competitive against four ranked teams in the early going. Then Ohio State and in state rival Marquette blew them out. But they won on the road against a good Penn State team. One and one in the Big Ten so far. Beginning tonight, they have a string of non-conference games. This will be their growing up period before getting into the meat of the conference season. They need to learn how to hang onto the ball more and at least hit the first of two free throws in the one and one situation. Growing up is hard. If they don’t do it now, the string of top four finishes and NCAA appearances will end. If they don’t, the’ll begin another string next year with a battle tested group of sophomores.

Little Love For the Wisconsin Badgers

Being a lifelong Badger fan, I feel sad for the Badger football team. The experts downplay their season because they “haven’t beaten a good team”. They are pretty much handing the Big Ten Championship to OhioState. Of course they are. OSU always have one of the top recruiting classes with several top 300 high school prospects on their squad. Just like Alabama,Clemson, Auburn, LSU, in football. In basketball it always seems to be Duke, North Carolina, Kansas, and Kentucky with all the McDonalds All-Americans on their squads. What has been so special for the Badgers football and basketball teams is that they have been very competitive in the chase for national championships the past several years without superstars. Why? Because they are coached and developed. Sometimes I think I could coach a team with 5 high school all-americans and win games. Wisconsin coaches don’t get enough love and respect for their development of no name players and walk ons. Some of those walk ons have had good professional careers. Note Jim Leonards defense. In the top 3 in the nation. But, as the experts are quick to point out, they haven’t played a top ranked offense until today.Just a few weeks ago, Iowa totally embarrased Ohio State. The following week, Wisconsin held the Hawkeyes to 55 total yards. Their only points came on two pick sixes by probably the best DB in the nation. Of course, games aren’t won on paper or by past games. They are won on the field. Three years ago, the Badgers were totaly anihilated by the Buckeyes in the championship game after a very good season.OSU went on to win The Title – the first college playoff. Good for them and the Big Ten. It was nice to see a non-SEC team win for a change. All my life I’ve waited for Wisconsin to win a national title in football or basketball. They came close a couple time in March Madness and will be competitive in the future-without McDonalds all americans.They’re coming close in football too. Because of the coaching and developing. Today’s game undoubtably is it’s biggest test of the year. I’m not expecting the same results as last, or the reverse. I’ll be happy with a one point win. On Wisconsin!!

Close but no cigar for Green Bay

After Aaron Rogers went down with a shoulder injury, the Green Bay Packers turned to his protege, Brett Hundley. Anyone could’ve played as well as he did for 4 games. That ended, hopefully,Sunday night against the Steeler. Yes they lost and yes it lessened their playoff hopes, but Hundley showed some glimpses of Aaron and the “other Brett”. with games coming up against weaker teams and Aaron due back in December, Packer fans haven’t given up hope. They don’t give up until the fat lady sings and right now she’s mute.

Manny Pacquiao KO’d – By Judges

Last Saturday’s WBO welterweight title fight between Manny Pacquiao and Jeff Horn reaffirmed my decision to stop watching boxing matches since Muhammed Ali unlaced his gloves for the last time. Pacquiao won that fight. The old man landed many more quality punches and had Horn on the ropes in the ninth round. Even the referee told him he was about to call it if he didn’t get his act together. All he did in the last three rounds was remain upright. At the end, one judge had the fight 117-111 in favor of Horn. How much was he paid or was he smoking something between rounds? Now the WBO is saying they are going to review the scoring. If they want to get it right, Manny Pacquiao is the champ.

Anthony Rizzo: The New Prototype Leadoff Man?

Anthony Rizzo is not the old school type leadoff man. Doesn’t need to be. He’s not the little scrappy guy who’s always a threat to steal a base or two and who can exhibit a little HR power. He can,however work the count, get on base as well as knock the stuffing out of the ball. When manager Joe Maddon bats a position player in the ninth spot, Rizzo gets his chances at RBIs. Although he literally needs to steal a base,he foregoes the axiom of “you can’t steal first base”.Several times already, he is back in the dugout and the Cubs are already ahead. A much needed change in the the Cubbies lineup. maybe this is the spark to ignite a fizzling offense and pitching staff.

Predators are the Prey

It’s still hard for me to envision hockey in the south. Although not a great NHL fan, I was hoping the Predators would hoist the Cup. They would’ve if they didn’t have to play in Pittsburgh.

Stick a Fork In the Cavs

Before the championship series between the Warriors and Cavaliers, I predicted the Warriors in six games. After watching the first two, I see a broom on the horizon. Maybe the Cavs could win one at home, but they look seriously over matched.

Three’s A Charm?

It’s the rubber championship match between the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers starting Thursday June 1. My pick is the Warriors in 6 games. I don’t think the Cavs have enough to win more than 2 games. My hope is that we see two different teams next year. A fourth installment of this rivalry would be boring.

What’s Happ-ening?

The Chicago Cubs recently promoted Ian Happ to play with the big boys. Another young future star in my opinion. He’s a perfect fit for Coach Maddon. He’s versatile, can play infield or outfield, has power, and is a good fielder. Just another young talented prospect on a team laden with future, if not already stars. What a dilemma for the coach. Who, when. and where to play all these guys. 

After evaluating the current starting pitching corps, as well as the roller coaster bullpen, I feel a trade for pitching is in the cards. With all this talent, someone will no longer be a Cubbie. I hope it isn’t Ian Happ. He is fun to watch.