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University of Wisconsin mens basketball/football. Well while people in certain neighboring Midwest states may continue to belittle UW's athletic successes in the past decade, the world of college basketball continues to indirectly validate our success with speculation that yet another one of our bright assistant coaches will be plucked from Bo Ryan's staff to be some struggling programs messiah. Always nice to see the tree of Wisconsin excellence spreading. Switching sports for a look at how the Badgers are progressing this spring, the news is mediocre. There have been a rash of injuries, including the two projected starting cornerbacks ( too bad Ike chose to leave, he would have been in a good position to have a real break out year nationally and solidified himself as a first rounder) but in the spring that just means that good depth is being developed with second and third stringers getting more reps. The offensive line, even with the loss of Joe Thomas, has the potentaial to develop into one of the most effective units since Joe Panos and Co. Back to basketball, Brian Butch got an invite to the Portsmouth Invitational and is making the best of it. Here's to hoping he (and Michael Flowers) can at least catch a deal overseas (realistically speaking). Oh and UW might finally win their game in the BigTen/ACC Challenge next season: we play Virginia Tech (but Tech's guards are much slept on).
Green Bay Packers. So the other day I happen to surf by the world wide leader is sports and see a feature with the line ' Where Is Titletown U.S.A.?'. My first reaction is 'WTF!!!' How are they just going to take the city of Green Bay's history and heritage and offer it up for grabs?! The more I think about it the more I start to agree with the Deadspin types who constantly berate ESPN for their oft times ham-handed coverage of sports. I mean seriously who had the audacity to just decide yeah they could take the town's nickname away. Like a featured commenter said "that's like just saying Chicago isn't The Windy City anymore and offering the nickname up for grabs". We earned that title by being World Champions 12 times (pre and post Super Bowl era) more than any other team in National Football League history. A league that would not exist if not for the Green Bay Packers. The championship trophy that your favorite team lusts for every fall is named after our legendary Hall of Fame coach, the epitome of excellence and success. I think that is quite enough said and will not even stoop to the level of a rant for such a back page hackneyed piece of journalism. And I like the schedule for the upcoming season. I compare the Pack right now to the latest NBA scoring sensation. Eventually teams start playing him tougher, bodying up to see if he can take the physicality. I look for the Pack to respond to the physicality of a tougher schedule with a dunk in traffic. By the way the NFL draft is coming up next week. The Packers have 9 picks don't fack it up Ted:)
Milwaukee Bucks. We have mercifully reached the end of the season. A long, long season. Is Yi still a rookie? Anyway at least it ended on a positive note with the hiring of Pistons VP John Hammonds to be the Bucks new GM. The senator finally got one right. Even though the other cogs in the Bucks flawed front office machine (Steinmueller and Walter) are still in place and we don't know for sure how much real power will be at his disposal, Hammonds doesn't figure to be the type of guy to leave a good situation in Detroit to be the Senator's lackey. If even half this guy's reputation is true I think the Bucks might have found " their Ron Wolf ". Now let the speculation begin about who the new coach will be. Front runners in rumors are Rick Carlise (good choice but in demand) and Scott Skiles (don't think he's quite the right fit if you are looking for conference titles and Finals runs. If you are looking for a consistent, slightly underachieving team he's your guy). I feel sorry for the guy lost in all of this though, good ol' Krysto. Larry Krystowiak has had the deck stacked against him from the start but has always played his cards in a professional manner. Most thing people recall of his playing days is his practice fight with Shaq, but he was a consistent, dependable scorer on the last of Milwaukee's late '80's/early '90's era playoff teams and was always much appreciated by the fan base. It would have been great to see a guy like that succeed as the head coach but it wasn't in the cards this time. Good luck Larry and thanks for stopping thru again.
Milwaukee Brewers. What can I say the Crew has to came down from it's high horse a little this week, falling to third in the NL Central. This illustrates part of why I am such a casual baseball fan. The standings seem to matter so much more week to week in baseball, even more so than in a 16 game NFL seasons. A lot of Brewer's fans I know are all depressed now cause they're not in first anymore and I'm like aren't there like 169 games left? But some people just need something to bitch about I guess. Crew just signed Jeff Weaver, I did not know he was still in the league, lost track of him after his stint with the Yankees and Cards. I guess the rest of the league did too because he signed to a minor league contract. Could be a useful call up down the end stretch of the season though I assume he will be getting a big league look before then. Lastly I would just like to go on record now as saying that I think Ned Yost has done a great job overall so far in his tenure as Brewers manager. I think his greatest skill asset is his ability to know and manage his players (note: I'm not saying that is the same as being Mr. Popular). A little sitdown might have been just the right thing Ryan Braun needed at the right time.