I’ll be honest here – I’ve been out on Will Ferrell for quite a while. His classics like Old School, Anchorman, StepBrothers etc… are still gold, but he’s had a lot more bad than good in recent memory. Some people will call that sacrilegious because he’s become such a big name, but don’t tell me Zoolander 2 and Get Hard are good movies. It’s not that he’s never been funny, but he’s been playing the same character for his whole career now, and I’m just over it.
Or at least I was over it. But if he’s gonna join us on Lake Winnebago for the summer months now, I could always change my mind. I won’t sit here and pretend Elf is the best Christmas movie ever like some of you people who have apparently never seen Home Alone or about 50 others, but I’ll call myself a Will Ferrell man as soon as he has his stuff moved in. Us Wisconsin folk gotta stick together.
Update: Sorry guys, I guess this was fake. I’m back to saying Will Ferrell isn’t funny anymore because he isn’t.
First thing’s first here – Was it common knowledge that there was a nude beach near Madison? Not that laying in the sand bare-ass is something I could ever do, but you’d still think it’s something I would’ve at least heard about at some point. Either way, it seems pretty obvious that people would start having sex at a nude beach, right? You just can’t expect a bunch of naked people to gather in one place and then keep their distance from one another. Personally I always thought nude beaches were just a European thing, but I also just assumed that it was like one big orgy anyway – And I think that’s the way you have to think about nude beaches. There can’t be rules and regulations for people who show up butt naked to the same place where little kids go to build sand castles. Maybe if the DNR would’ve had that same outlook then they wouldn’t have been in this situation in the first place.
With Wisconsin moving to Under Armour next year this is kind of a moot point, but yesterday we got our first glimpse of the Badgers’ jerseys for March Madness, so I wanted to mention it. I don’t know how Adidas managed to come up with something even worse than the stuff they rolled out for the Tournament a year ago, but they did it again. It’s like they took the same jerseys that everybody HATED and somehow made em even worse. It’s almost impressive, really. I don’t know how you could get that bad of feedback and in a full year just make a very slight change and expect people to like it. I’ve always laughed it off when people joke about Adidas making the uniforms look worse and worse because they’re salty about us leaving them, but this is the one that’s made me actually raise an eyebrow. There’s just no way that somebody whose job is to design jerseys could think that these look good.
In his first season as head coach, Linc Darner led UWGB back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 20 years with a 78-69 win over Wright State in the Horizon League tournament championship last night. All five starters scored in double figures for the Phoenix, who play an up and down style that just about anybody would find entertaining to watch.
This is obviously newsworthy just because it’s another local team making it to March Madness, but it’s also a big deal because of what Darner did to get them there. Clearly GB doesn’t have a bad team by any means, but this is far from the most talented roster they’ve had in recent memory. Guys like Keifer Sykes and Alec Brown have come and gone, but not since Tony Bennett have they made the Tournament. Plenty of people criticized that hiring when it first happened, but this is Darner’s moment to sit back and laugh, so you’ve gotta respect him for getting them there when nobody thought he was the right guy for the job.
Marquette now has the longest NCAA Tournament drought among D-I schools in Wisconsin.
Until now it had been a while since I’ve watched The Bachelor, but I saw the first episode this season because my roommate is in a pool through work, and then I stayed because I fell in love with Caila at first sight. I know all the hype this season is around JoJo – and rightfully so – but for some reason Caila came out with a bad rap, which I think is crazy.
Anyway, that’s not really the point. Apparently Jordan Rodgers is set to be one of the contestants when Caila takes over as The Bachelorette, and I just have a feeling it’s not gonna go that well. I mean let’s face it – Unless you’re a Packer fan, you don’t like the way Aaron Rodgers comes off when you see him on TV. If you can’t admit that, then you’re blinded by your fandom, because nobody else likes the guy. Assuming his brother is pretty similar – which I think is a pretty safe bet – he could easily become the cocky guy that nobody likes. I don’t wanna see it happen and I’ll obviously pull for anybody with the last name Rodgers, I’m just warning you for when it happens. All I know is he better not hurt Caila or I’ll… I’ll… probably post something mean on Twitter and move on.
The Big Ten announced their postseason awards last night, and Nigel Hayes and Ethan Happ led the way for the Badgers like they have all season. Nigel was named a First Team All Conference performer alongside Uthoff, Ferrell, Valentine, and Hammons, while Happ headlined the All Freshman Team and took home Freshman of the Year honors. Bronson was also named to the third team.
These were all pretty predictable awards, although I still thought they’d find a way to give Diamond Stone FOY just because of his name. The beauty of it is that Ethan will still be in Madison for another 3 years, and he’s shown serious flashes of how legit he can be in the coming years. He’s the type of guy that could easily contend to be a First Team All B1G player for the next 3 seasons, and there’s not many of those that come around. If Nigel stays for his senior year and Bronson can return to the form we’ve seen from him in the past, that’s 3 of the top players in the conference coming back next year, and we could be right back in the conversation to contend for the B1G title. Not bad for a program that looked to be headed for a serious rebuilding phase about 2 months ago.
By now you’ve obviously heard that UW officially removed the interim tag from Greg Gard’s job title last night, and he inked a 5-year deal reportedly worth just under $2 million per season. As time wore on this seemed more and more like a no-brainer, but when Gardo first took over, it was anything but that. He was put in an almost impossible position with a team that was clearly distracted and not ready to make noise in the Big Ten, and he found a way to win 11 of 13 to end the conference schedule. This team got behind him and fought for his cause, and now it’s officially paid off.
I’ve already said pretty much everything I have to say about Coach Gard over the past few months, but just to reiterate, it’s awesome to see him get this job that he’s put so much time and effort into earning. He was the first guy I ever talked to when I started looking for ways that I could work for the team, and there’s not many Associate Head Coaches taking the time to call back the high school kid who wants to wipe up sweat during practice. But Gardo was never most Associate Head Coaches. He was always good to everybody I saw him interact with, and there’s really not a person with the program that I’ve ever heard say something negative about him. The fact of the matter is that genuinely good people are few and far between in major sports – and Badger fans got a reminder of that over the last week – but Coach Gard is one of em. Wisconsin basketball is in good hands.
Nigel played 38 minutes and scored 30 points on 50% shooting from the field, but it wasn’t enough as the Badgers dropped their final regular season game last night at Purdue. Hayes also had 8 rebounds and 3 assists in the loss. Ethan Happ pitched in 14 and 6 boards, and Showy had 13 on 3-7 shooting from 3. Jordan Hill was the only reserve who gave a significant contribution off the bench, scoring 6 points in 17 minutes. No other bench players scored or played more than 7 minutes.
The Badgers had a lot of trouble defending Matt Painter’s team down low, starting from the very first possession when AJ Hammons threw down a big dunk. He and freshman Caleb Swanigan combined for 43 on 13-17 shooting from the field, and Swanigan also went 14-17 from the line. Wisconsin shot just 20 free throws as a team on the night. PJ Thompson also had 22, 18 of which came from 3.
This was a tough matchup for the Badgers because Purdue has true big men who were able to score down low, and they also hit shots from outside when they were there. They scored 91, and we haven’t even played a regulation game in the 80s since Christmas Eve against UWGB. On top of that, Mackey Arena has always been a tough place to play, and our 4-game winning streak came to what seemed like an inevitable end. Now we sit as the 6 seed going into the Big Ten Tournament, waiting for the winner of Nebraska and Rutgers. If Greg Gard & Co. can take care of business in that one, it’ll be another matchup with Maryland on Friday in the quarterfinal.
Obviously by this point you’ve probably read Deadspin’s report on Coach Ryan, and most of you had probably heard rumors of this for quite a while. I haven’t said anything about it for a long time even though it’s been passed around every message board and sports bar in Wisconsin, and it’s for the same reason that I’m not gonna get too far into it now – Like I’ve mentioned here before, three of Coach’s kids have become very close friends of mine since I was a manager with the team. Like talk every day close. So obviously this has been an awkward thing that’s been hanging over everybody’s heads for a long time, and now the cat’s out of the bag. I didn’t feel comfortable bringing it up before this Deadspin thing came out because it wasn’t my place as a blogger/journalist/whatever you wanna call this, and it definitely wasn’t my place as a friend. If that’s a lame excuse for not mentioning this story earlier, then I’m sorry. It’s the only one I’ve got.
This has been an awkward situation because I’ve been feeling like I’m cheating TVL by never acknowledging this story that seemed like it was so obviously something I would normally post about, even though I’ve always said that I’ll be honest and blunt about everything – which is one of the reasons I think people like reading this site in the first place. But this was something totally different because it was personal. No real friend would try to break a story about something so sensitive, and I felt like everyone knew I was awkwardly avoiding it – because I was. People have tweeted and emailed me asking why I hadn’t said anything. Somebody new asks me about the rumors every day. Hell, every few weeks this chick has a new anonymous Twitter handle tweeting stuff like this about Coach’s family.
I feel awful for Coach’s family that this is something they have to deal with all over again, and it sucks that this happening during what should be a great stretch for the Wisconsin basketball program. All we can do is hope that this is the last we really hear about something that would be a private family matter for any other family in the state, but it never could be because of everything Coach Ryan has done. Unless something more is said about the story I probably won’t mention it again, but I just felt like I had to acknowledge it now that it’s so public. Going forward, I’ll do my best to go back to shooting straight about everything I can. The End.
I know I’ve said this before at some point, but it’s been a while since I’ve touched on Hank the Brewer Dog, so let me set the record straight again – I’m a dog person. Absolutely love em, as any normal human being with a soul should. But Hank is one of the worst things that’s ever happened to the Brewers organization. Ever since he came in the picture he’s been the only thing the franchise tries to market, and they’ve been God awful since he’s been around, too. I actually have a group of friends that call it the “Hank Curse,” and I’m starting to believe it. So if the real Hank died this offseason and the Brewers actually tried to replace him, they’ve got some serious problems. First of all, you can’t just replace a dog and act like it’s the same one. As a dog person I just won’t stand for it. But as a baseball fan, the Brewers should’ve known that this was their chance to leave the whole Hank saga behind. I mean it’s getting pretty pathetic that a dog/mascot is the only reason this team is ever in national news. I’m not saying that letting Hank rest in peace will change everything for the Brewers immediately, but as long as he’s the main attraction for the entire franchise, things aren’t gonna get better. Don’t tell me otherwise.