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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

March Madness Is Everywhere

The 2011 NCAA Tournament begins tonight with two first round "don't call us play-in" games on truTV. The channel is just one of several networks in the CBS family that will carry live tournament action. For the first time, every game will be shown live -- that is 67 games on either CBS, TBS, TNT or truTV.

What's truTV you ask? Well, it is the network carrying Wisconsin's first game on Thursday. For Direct TV viewers, truTV is channel 246. Madison-based fans can get Direct TV to follow all your favorite sports teams. Direct TV had TruTV in HD all along, whereas Charter just recently added it to its lineup (and then added it in HD also).

With so many games being televised, your remote control may go haywire over the next couple of days. CBS Sports has you covered with a bracket detailing the game times and networks for each game.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

WIAA State Hoops Underway

Wisconsin boys basketball tournament action tipped off tonight with a handful of opening round games. The Division 1 UW-Whitewater sectional is loaded, featuring tops schools from Milwaukee (Riverside, King, Marquette) and Madison (Memorial, East, Sun Prairie).

For the record, I did not like the move to five divisions at all. Being a championship-level basketball program is not an inalienable right. There's no question that cutting the Division 1 state finalist field down from eight teams to four is a net decrease in the quality of the games played at the Kohl Center each year. That deprives college basketball fans like myself the pleasure of watching more of the very talented players that the state of Wisconsin is producing more of each year. And the same private schools will still dominate Division 3, so that's kind of funny. (I'll admit, Division 2 could be interesting ... we'll see.)

Milwaukee Vincent and Janesville Craig playing opening round games?! A lot has changed since I was a youngster. At least both of those teams won tonight.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Internet Radio

I was a guest last week on an internet radio sports talk show. The segment was short and did not last long enough to get in depth. I thought it went okay. The Mississippi-based host was trying latch on to the remaining buzz from Wisconsin's upset over then-No. 1 Ohio State. It was surprising to go back, listen to the segment and hear what the guy said after I was off the air. Pretty ungrateful.

You stay classy Dick!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Closing Up Shop

As I alluded to yesterday, change is in the air. So I am taking my talents to South Beach.

Errr, I mean, to a different Web site. From now on, you can find my thoughts, rants and commentary on Wisconsin Badger basketball over at the fantastic Bucky's 5th Quarter community.

Please update your bookmarks and news feeds appropriately. I highly encourage every reader to become a member of the growing Badger community over at B5Q. And if you find the all-sports approach isn't for you, don't worry -- the irrepressible Hoops Marinara tweets will still alert you to newly published basketball articles at the new site. Sign up!

So whether you followed Hoops Marinara via a feed subscription, the Twitter account or just by occasionally Googling a hoops recruit's name, I hope you check out the great things we will be doing over on the SBNation platform (which hopefully will include a preview magazine for the 2011-12 season). All the recruiting information from this site will be transitioned over to a visible spot at B5Q very soon. I cannot promise kindness, but we will be killing 'em with content.

Lastly, a quick thanks to everyone who has supported me and read my stuff here over the past three and a half years of independent blogging. It was a blast.

P.S. -- If I ever again have a coherent thought about the Milwaukee Bucks or WIAA basketball that is not Badger-related, it may wind up here.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

End of Summer Status

Just one week into September and football season, it already feels like the previous basketball season ended years ago.

Luckily a lull in groundbreaking Wisconsin basketball news came at a perfect time. It was a busy summer for me personally and changes are in the works regarding this blog as well. But when I rehash what people might have missed during the lazy summer, it turns out that a lot went down and most of it was good.

While the Big Ten collectively celebrated the return of many of its top players from the brink of the NBA Draft pool, other key pieces like Kevin Coble evaporated unexpectedly. Or in Chris Allen's case, not-so-unexpectedly. Meanwhile, UW said goodbye to two seniors and one non-contributor without any teeth-gnashing. That is especially great when you consider what was going on last year at this time.

Rather than the program kicking a couple kids off the team, recovering from a dramatic decommitment and sending Bo Ryan to coach Team USA, Wisconsin flew under the radar (except for this). A flurry of recruiting activity in June wrapped up nicely with Jarrod Uthoff's semi-surprising commitment in mid-July. What followed was a month of relative silence.

Though student-athletes typically get a couple of short breaks from class and teammates, an incredible amount of hard work is going on behind the scenes to prepare for the next season. Just ask the new freshmen. Or ask sophomore Ryan Evans if the hard work pays off. He was selected by Global Sports Academy for a team that toured Europe in August. Evans played well, even if it barely registered at all in the media.

However, one fellow who is no longer inconspicuous in any sense is Jon Leuer. A lot of praise was heaped on the 6'10" forward this summer as he impressed during his Team USA internship. That'll get you hyped as one of the top three players in your conference, although some draftniks over at Draft Express might be eating some crow based on how low they placed Leuer on their list of Big Ten draft prospects.

Leuer leads a six-man senior class heading into the fall semester as the program adjusts to one new assistant coach in light of Howard Moore's departure. But people forget that number could have doubled if Greg Gard had gotten the UW-Green Bay job in the spring (Ed. note: could have tripled really). Again, disaster averted.

So it's a good time to be optimistic about an even more enjoyable basketball season lurking behind the changing colors of the trees. We can even take a deep, relaxing breath knowing that the divisional realignment scare has passed ... I think.

Do you like the NCAA tournament's new 8-team "first-round" format?

What should Wisconsin do with the newly vacated scholarship?

Poll: Who will win the Big Ten?

Poll: Who was Wisconsin's first-half MVP (thru 16 games)?

Poll: How Many Regular Season games will wisconsin win in 2009-10?