October means cooler weather, leaves falling, and baseball’s postseason!! Here is a preview of the Wild Card Games Tuesday and Wednesday:
Houston @ New York 7 PM (ESPN)
The Houston Astros are finally returning to the postseason. One of the most surprising teams may not have won the division but have a great young core.
Dallas Keuchel will be pitching on short rest. The southpaw has been fantastic posting a 20-8 record with a 2.48 ERA in 33 starts. Hopefully he will not get nervous playing on the big stage.
The trade that brought Carlos Gomez has helped to provide some veteran leadership to a young core of good players Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, Jed Lowrie.
The Yankees have all of the postseason history. News today about CC Sabathia was surprising. For a team that returns to the postseason for the first time since 2012, they will have Masahiro Tanaka (12-7 3.51 ERA in 24 games) taking the mound.
The last time these two teams met this happened:
As it seems to happen a few times every season it involved Carlos Gomez. It will be interesting to see if there is still a little bad blood from this.
The Yankees are coming into this game losing 7 out of their last 8 games including avoiding a 4 game sweep against their rival Boston Red Sox at home. Not good.
Ironically in the video above Dallas Keuchel pitched a great game that in the Bronx tossing 7 scoreless innings in a 15-1 thumping.
You have one team happy to be here and one team trying to continue a tradition of greatness in October. In this game though I think Houston is not just happy to be here, they have something to prove (especially since losing out in the AL West division title). The Yankees while they have Alex Rodriguez and a core of veterans, are arguably the worst of all the postseason teams making it this year. And let’s be honest, they have steadily struggled since falling from the AL East division title picture to the last week of the season. You usually surge into the postseason, not limp.
I think Houston moves on
Chicago Cubs at Pittsburgh 7 PM TBS
Welcome back Chicago Cubs. On a side note: Its a shame that the three best teams in the baseball have to play each other where only one will make it to the NLCS.
This has to be the most intriguing of the Wild Card games. Both teams know each other. Both teams have traded wins all year. Jake Arrieta who in my mind should be the NL Cy Young winner has pitched amazing since June. He is 22-6 with a 1.77 ERA.
The Pirates will go with Gerrit Cole (19-8 2.60 ERA).
These two teams are very even in my opinion so that is why this game is so tough to predict. You have the Pirates vets like Neil Walker, Starling Marte, and Andrew McCutchen vs young Cubbies like Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, and Kyle Schwarber. I think this will be a low scoring game and runs will be at a premium.
The Pirates play very well at home going 53-28. The Cubs are the best road team in baseball going 48-33. It actually might be a blessing in disguise that they are playing on the road. I think there is a chance the Cubs would have been playing a little tight in this game if it was at home.
Arrieta is going to have to pitch deep into this game because as some people who know me, I nicknamed the Cubs bullpen “#bullpenroulette” because you never know what you will get when Joe Maddon goes to them.
Cole does not necessarily have to pitch deep into this game because the Pirates bullpen is the best in baseball. The team leads the league with a 2.67 ERA.
I think if you have these teams play this series every day in October, it would be 15-15 heading into a tiebreaker on October 31st. They are that even. If the Cubs don’t have to go deep into their bullpen, I see them moving on.
I will go with the Cubs.
This blog is not going to be anything positive about this Brewers team and franchise going forward.
I have kept up with this team and how it is doing from afar. It is very hard to watch knowing how they basically can only beat the Philadelphia Phillies who might be worse than they are. Here are some things that make be question what this franchise is doing going forward.
- Doug Melvin stepping down was a no brainier. There is really no justification that he should have been retained. My problem is what the owner Mark Attanasio said regarding the hiring of the new GM. The fact that the new GM has to retain Craig Counsell is mind boggling. In a previous blog I wrote, Letter to the Brewers Owner, Melvin and Attanasio in my opinion made a huge error firing Roenicke in early May with the team going nowhere. I think he should have been kept around until All-Star Break before being released closer to the trade deadline. So far I have been unimpressed with Counsell through 3 months into the job. Even though I knew the losses should pile up, shouldn’t the team play fundamentally better? Should they not make the same dumb mental mistakes that cost them games time and time again? Minus the brief winning streak in early July, in some ways nothing has changed. To basically hold the next GM hostage with a manager (who may not share the same philosophy) before they interview for this job may not bring the best qualified person or veteran candidate to the interview table. It sets the GM up with a strike against them.
Finally, the new General Manager needs to be on board with manager Craig Counsell, who is under contract for another two seasons following this one and has the full support of the owner – who stated that any prospective Brewers’ GM pushing their own managerial candidate would be doing so “at their own peril.”
- Getting to my point of me starting to question if Counsell is the right man for the job is his latest decision today (August 19) regarding the rotation. Why on earth when Tyler Cravy is struggling would you move down to a four man rotation instead of bring another starter up to the rotation to see what they can do. Or how about put Thornburg to a spot start and see what he can do. The logic does not make sense. I could care less how many days you have coming off. You need to see what you have for next year!! To me this is idiotic!
UPDATE: Just heard Cravy may go to the 15 Day DL. And if they go forward with a 4 man rotation it even makes LESS sense!!!
Now most likely the Brewers are in the beginning of a rebuilding process. However some of the things in the last week or two are making me a little concerned that ownership may botch this process.
As much as I have criticized the Brewers this season, I have to say thank you!
Give the Brewers credit. With the bad start to the season, they are currently 17-6 in their last 23 games including a 8 game winning streak during that stretch. True they swept a bad Phillies and Reds team, but they also took 2/3 from the Mets and the Twins, while sweeping at the time a red hot Pirates team. The Mets, Twins, and Pirates are all fighting for playoff spots.
Credit goes to the veterans on the team. They could all be going through the motions and packing it in. Also with many trade rumors swirling about this team, they could be distracted. Kudos to them keeping focused on winning ball games and appearing to have a bit of fun as well.
Even more credit goes to Craig Counsell. I was a fan of the hiring but a critic of the timing of it as it seemed like a PR move to try to jump start a team that very early looked to be non-contenders.
I know the team is rebuilding and the next 10 days will be extremely important for the future of the franchise. However, with some of the young rotation players like Jimmy Nelson, Taylor Jungmann, & Tyler Cravy (when he has been called up), this might not be as long of a rebuild as we think.
Noticed I did not mention Mike Fiers. As much as I really like him as a Brewers player just like I do Jonathan Lucroy and Carlos Gomez, their names have been mentioned in trade rumors.
Brewers fans sound like they may be divided on if Gerardo Parra (who is one of the hottest hitters in baseball the month of July) should be kept or traded.
Here is the thing to keep in mind. The Brewers are not going anywhere this season. It makes baseball sense considering their record and the fact that around $50 million comes of the books after this season that they need to get as many young players and prospects as they can.
If someone wants Mike Fiers and you get younger in return, trade him. If someone wants to give you 2 players for Gerardo Parra, trade him (since he is a Free Agent you can always look to resign him later). If someone wants to give you the world for Carlos Gomez, Jean Segura, or Jonathan Lucroy, you trade them.
This is not the time as Brewers fans to be loyal or get emotional about any player on this 25 man roster. The short term future of the franchise depends on what this team does on the trade market in the next week to 10 days. So instead of worrying about it, just sit back, relax, and enjoy the winning ways of this team and take it day by day.
I thought this would be a long summer for this ball club. I thought my interest for Brewers baseball would be one of the lowest it has been in the last several years. However the exciting recent play along with playing armchair GM sifting through trade rumors has actually got me excited again for Brewers baseball.
Have you seen their schedule from July 30-August 19? They have one road trip and that is basically a home game in Chicago August 11-13.
|Thu, Jul 30||
||8:10 PM||Jungmann (5-1)||Arrieta (11-5)||2,526 available|
|Fri, Jul 31||
||8:10 PM||Garza (5-10)||Richard (1-0)||2,058 available|
|AUGUST||OPPONENT||TIME (ET)||TV||MIL PITCHER||OPP. PITCHER||TICKETS|
|Sat, Aug 1||
||7:10 PM||Lohse (5-10)||Hammel (5-4)||1,855 available|
|Sun, Aug 2||
||2:10 PM||Fiers (5-7)||Hendricks (4-4)||3,027 available|
|Mon, Aug 3||
||8:10 PM||Nelson (7-9)||Ross (6-7)||1,240 available|
|Tue, Aug 4||
||8:10 PM||Jungmann (5-1)||Cashner (3-10)||1,249 available|
|Wed, Aug 5||
||8:10 PM||Garza (5-10)||Kennedy (5-9)||1,498 available|
|Thu, Aug 6||
||2:10 PM||Lohse (5-10)||Despaigne (3-7)||1,288 available|
|Fri, Aug 7||
||8:10 PM||1,589 available|
|Sat, Aug 8||
||7:10 PM||3,600 available|
|Sun, Aug 9||
||2:10 PM||3,747 available|
|Tue, Aug 11||
||8:05 PM||5,223 available|
|Wed, Aug 12||
||8:05 PM||5,220 available|
|Thu, Aug 13||
||2:20 PM||3,515 available|
|Fri, Aug 14||
||8:10 PM||1,897 available|
|Sat, Aug 15||
||7:10 PM||4,148 available|
|Sun, Aug 16||
||2:10 PM||4,041 available|
|Mon, Aug 17||
||8:10 PM||1,271 available|
|Tue, Aug 18||
||8:10 PM||1,415 available|
|Wed, Aug 19||
Enjoy!! It is going to be a fun rest of the summer Brewers fans!
Here are a few great sites to keep up on the Brewers payroll and the latest trade rumors:
This Bucks arena issue is turning into a complete mess. So many people involved and so many residents misinformed. And you know who is at the core of this? The NBA itself. A league playing dirty in order to get what it wants. Milwaukee is supposed to hand them over a new arena since the current Bradley Center is “ancient” by it’s own standards. This may be true but how they are going about it is completely wrong in my eyes.
You may question why am I directing blame squarely at the NBA, David Stern and more recently Adam Silver. The answer is simple.
Back when the new owners bought the NBA, the league put a clause in their ownership:
The NBA has the right to buy back the Milwaukee Bucks from incoming owners Wesley Edens and Mark Lasry if a deal to a bring a new arena to the city is not in place by November 2017, according to sources briefed on the situation.
Adam Silver not much after this article came out and said this:
“One obvious issue we all have to deal with is we need a new arena in Milwaukee,” said Adam Silver, deputy National Basketball Association commissioner, speaking of the BMO Harris Bradley Center.
“At the end of the day compared to other modern arenas in the league, this arena is a few hundred thousand square feet too small,” Silver said. “It doesn’t have the sort of back-of-house space you need, doesn’t have the kinds of amenities we need.
“It doesn’t have the right sort of upper bowl/lower bowl (seating) configuration for the teams frankly that Milwaukee wants to compete against,” he said.
No surprise the current agreement with the Bucks and Bradley Center deal ends in 2017…… (if you are wondering how they came up with that specific date?)
Former owner Herb Kohl did a great job doing everything he could to keep the Bucks in Milwaukee. Others (including Michael Jordan) even tried to have him sell the team, but he always had the stipulation that the Bucks must stay in Milwaukee.
Problem with Herb Kohl was two-fold. One, he got involved too much and did not allow the people he hired make decisions. This happened after originally giving George Karl and Ernie Grunfield too much power in which they made the Ray Allen trade which the franchise is still suffering from today.
The 2nd issue is don’t be fooled by the NBA. They were not happy with Kohl as owner. At one point the Bucks was rated by Forbes as the worst revenue generating franchise in the NBA.
So for the NBA to generate more revenue and money which includes their huge new National TV deal, the Bucks terrible value sticks out like a sore thumb.
Which makes sense why the Bucks President came out with this yesterday.
“The window is closing,” Bucks team president Peter Feigin said. “We can’t wait months, even weeks to start the public process.”
And why Seattle media and Vegas media are running with the story.
So many stories and so much debate. The problem is people against the possibility of paying taxes for the arena are blaming the owners or the politicians. They are not the primary issue.
The NBA could easily solve this problem. They are the ones who put the 2017 clause in the contract. Why can’t they change that? There is more debate than ever on this which is healthy for the state and Milwaukee (which seems to be at many crossroads currently). This arena debate needs time, patience, and hearings from every side before making a final decision. Why the rush? Why does this decision need to be made by fall or else this is the 2 year farewell of the franchise?
Adam Silver and the NBA as early as tomorrow could comment on this issue and extend the timeline on this hard deadline to debate this fully. However they most likely will not. You want to know why? Because come hell or high water they will get their new arena deal and more revenue whether the Bucks remain in Milwaukee or whether they relocate. Money is money to them and shame on the NBA not valuing franchises more than money. We know they don’t care based on two recent examples. Look at how they treated Sacramento before they caved in? Or how they treated Seattle which lost its Sonics?
While I hope the arena deal gets done as it could be a game changer for the city and mean much more than the NBA or basketball, it is a shame that the league has to put the future of the franchise on crisis mode and put what was once a proud franchise in Milwaukee in doubt. So many economic and revival opportunities to make Milwaukee a major destination for concerts, conventions, and events, however the NBA needs to allow Wisconsin Residents and politicians to see this thoroughly.
P.S. Today, President Peter Feigin was on WSSP AM in Milwaukee and this is a great listen to clear up some of the misinformation going around regarding the arena issue.
Note: I placed this video of 1983 when the Bucks were consistently at or near the top teams as a reminder of how just like the Brewers they mean much to the future of Milwaukee.
I actually saw a Brewers game in person for the 1st time this season on Memorial Day. And seeing this team live, I realize how bad they really are.
As in my previous blog, I questioned the timing of why Craig Counsell was hired back in early May. The same team is making the same mistakes.
I watch quite a bit of baseball and even someone who does not watch much can tell how bad this team is! All you really need to see is the box score of the game Monday 5/25 vs San Francisco in the Top of the 6th.
And Carlos Gomez, I really like you as a player but how do you not know fundamental baseball and how to throw it to the cutoff man from the outfield after all these years in the league? His two errors did not help that inning at all as each player scored on his error!
That is why nobody should be safe when the Brewers hopefully start making a fire sale a month from now. This team needs to be broken up as the problems run deeper than any manager that can fix it.
Here is the box score from the Top of the 6th Memorial Day below.
|Kyle Lohse pitching:|
|Angel Pagan:||Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Strike looking, Pagan struck out swinging.|
|Hunter Pence:||Ball, Pence singled to center.|
|Brandon Belt:||Foul, Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Ball, Belt walked, Pence to second.|
|Brandon Crawford:||Strike swinging, Strike swinging, Ball, Crawford singled to left, Pence to third, Belt to second.|
|Matt Duffy:||Duffy singled to center, Pence scored, Belt to third, Crawford to second, Belt scored on Gomez fielding error.|
|Jeremy Jeffress relieved Kyle Lohse.|
|Andrew Susac:||Susac singled to left, Crawford scored, Duffy to second|
|Gregor Blanco hit for Tim Lincecum.|
|Gregor Blanco:||Ball, Blanco singled to center, Duffy scored, Susac to second, Susac to third, Blanco to second on Gomez throwing error.|
|Nori Aoki:||Ball, Aoki singled to center, Susac scored, Blanco to third.|
|Will Smith relieved Jeremy Jeffress.|
|Joe Panik:||Foul, Pickoff attempt, Ball, Aoki stole second, Ball, Ball, Panik walked.|
|Angel Pagan:||Strike looking, Foul, Pagan struck out swinging.|
|Hunter Pence:||Ball, Strike swinging, Ball, Pence doubled to left, Blanco and Aoki scored, Panik to third.|
|Neal Cotts relieved Will Smith|
|Elian Herrera at third.|
|Brandon Belt:||Ball, Strike looking, Foul, Belt struck out swinging.|
|End of Inning (7 Runs, 7 Hits, 2 Errors)|
The following blog is if I had to write a letter to the Brewers owner about the state of the season as a fan:
Dear Mark Attanasio,
First of all thank you for being the Brewers owner the past 10 plus years. You have brought pride and excitement to what was at times a laughable franchise before you took ownership.
I realize that you are just as much a fan of baseball as you are owner and I appreciate that. You always want to do everything possible to put a winner on the field year in and year out. Unfortunately, it looks like this year will be one of those years where we have to chalk up to a bad season.
Right out of the get go, the Brewers played poorly. I know I am playing armchair quarterback but it looks like now it had nothing to do with the former manager Ron Roenicke. And this is where I kind of still am scratching my head about this. Why did you make this statement on April 23rd:
Then after finally a winning streak on May 3rd, sign off on Doug Melvin making this move?
Now I am not here to argue if the move was right or not. It was right. What I am here to argue about is the timing of the move.
Now Craig Counsell may be a good manager in the long run. However, what good is he doing with the same team Ron Roenicke had? If Roenicke could not get these players to produce on a consistent basis, what makes Counsell better? So far after this past week, it is the same issues and lackluster play. The players are the problem, not the manager.
I am afraid I think the reason why you hired Counsell this soon was partly due to your competitive spirit. You wanted to see if a new manager could make something of what is sure to be a disaster of a season. I would not have done it. Here is what I would have done:
Late May: Figure out what are you going to do about GM Doug Melvin. Either extend him or get another person in place. Everyday he is GM hurts us towards the June draft. If you make changes after, it takes longer for a new GM to develop a philosophy. That is unless Craig Counsell is secretly manager/GM already.
Late June/July: Fire Roenicke. If the decision was made not to bring him back in a lost season, you might as well use him since you are paying him this year. Most likely you are getting the same results now. Then you hire Craig Counsell.
July: 1) Trade everyone on the last year of their contract or with a friendly option year in 16: Ramirez (who should have retired 3 years ago). Lohse, Garza, Parra, Cotts, Broxton and even Lind. Trade them for any class prospect(s) you can get. About $50 of the 104 million will come off the books next year anyway.
After they go: 2) I hate to say this but if someone wants to trade the farm to you for Carlos Gomez or Jonathan Lucroy (when he gets healthy), you might have to do it. These two will get you the most prospects back.
3) If some team is dumb enough to inquire a trade for Ryan Braun, you don’t think twice and do it. I’d be shocked but never say never in this league.
Early August: Whoever you can’t get rid off in #1 and #3 you put on waivers. See if you can get anything for them.
August/September: Craig Counsell has a bunch of younger players hungry and looking to stay in the majors. This part of the year you can showcase everyone including AAA players to see what you have. Also Counsell is now able to place a mark on them rather than tip toe and not rub any player dynamics the wrong way now.
Again, I know it is playing arm chair quarterback, but in a lost season like this you have to see what you got in order to be better off in the long run.
Here is a writer that agrees with me:
And here is a read on if Counsell was a good choice
Again, I liked Craig Counsell as a player and I think he will do fine as a manager. I would have just waited since the season is a mess anyway right now, and you have a chance to trade away some of the players that have contributed to this mess.
I already have tickets to the Memorial Day game, so I will still support this team and am looking forward to what lies ahead in the coming years.
A fan through thick and thin,
At 2-11 and its worst start in Franchise History, the Brewers are pretty bad….. and I am kind of happy they are
You probably read that and scratch your head. What?? Aren’t you a Brewers fan? Why would you be happy at how bad they are playing. Well here are several points as to why I am happy:
- For those of you who are still upset at Ron Roenicke, he may not make it to June. Heck, he might even resign as it looks like already he is running out of ideas on how to fix this anemic offense. Do not be fooled by the 1 year extension they gave Roenicke before the season. That was all PR so that he was not a lame duck coach going into this season.
- Doug Melvin is in the last year of his contract. At this point if this keeps going the same path, he will not be in the same role. There is talk he may retire from the GM job. This poor start might accelerate that talk or give management a reason to part ways with him.
- Carlos Gomez injured his hamstring last week in St. Louis, Scooter Gennett hurt his hand in some freak shower accident Sunday in Pittsburgh, and Jonathon Lucroy got hurt in a freak broken toe injury Monday night in Milwaukee. All are on the DL. Is that bad? Yes. However how can you get upset when none of these players mentioned were setting the earth on fire offensively? It is not like they were hitting right now. The entire team can’t hit minus two or three players. And even so, the entire team including those two players can’t hit with RISP (Runners in scoring position). The team is last in many offensive categories where that is supposed to be the strength. The players on the DL forces you to bring up players from AAA to not only spark this pathetic offense, but you can now see what you have for pieces next year and beyond. This leads me to:
The Brewers have $54 million coming off the books after this season. Why I liked the status quo in the off-season despite many fans being angered by it, is that you have the same pieces to be competitive in a tough NL Central. Now that it looks like early you are not going anywhere, you get a great head start trading all these players in the last year of their contract for prospects on other teams. This includes Aramis Ramirez, Kyle Lohse, Gerardo Parra, Jonathon Broxton, and Neal Cotts (43 million right there). And if nobody wants say Aramis Ramirez, you can plan his retirement party early by releasing him.
(If you can’t tell already I never ever really like the signing of him coming here. Leadership was a major issue last year and not once did I think he offered any when the team was scuffling even though he has that experience).
You see some people who do not watch a ton of baseball will react and say the team sucks, I am done, and will never go to another game. However if you watch as much baseball as I do, you realize that EVERY franchise has a year(s) where nothing works out as planned. The Cardinals did in the late 90s and the Yankees (who are a favorite to finish last in the AL East) are possibly going through that now. Brewers actually look like they will be quickly eliminated due to bad offense and major injuries if they do not start turning this around immediately in the next 2-4 weeks. Heck, they may be double digits games back in their own division before April 30 due to a early heavy all NL Central schedule!
In these cases, it is essential for the long term success of the franchise to blow it up and start over. You see, the Brewers are in a better position than say the Philadelphia Phillies or New York Yankees. Those franchises are kind of stuck. Bad contracts and aging players that nobody wants.
The Braves are more like the Brewers. While they sort of threw in the towel before the season started, they realized they had players to make them competitive but not enough talent to make the playoffs this season. So they decided to trade some of their talent who was expendable and will build around prospects they got in return and franchise players.
The Brewers have aging players but all their aging players are at the end of their contract. So it is more likely for a team in the playoff hunt to call you for a rent a player come June or July. In turn, the Brewers will most likely get prospects. That is a weakness in the franchise currently.
Now these prospects may not turn out but it looks like long term if Jean Segura’s last season was not a trend, they got a good return for Zack Greinke in 2012. Ironically that was the last time the Brewers were buried by a poor 1st half start. And while I heard the same comments in 2012, the Brewers played much better after these trades to finish above .500 that year.
Young guys were brought up with something to prove and once the pressure of winning was relaxed, they played much better as an entire unit. Right now you can read the pressure on most of the team that they have to play perfect baseball in order to have a chance to win. Don’t let the post game comments fool you, The team is playing with no confidence.
Additionally the Brewers are the smallest franchise in baseball market size. Ryan Braun’s 105 million extension does not even kick in until next year and looks like a terrible contract now. The Brewers will be able to sign a major free agent or two next year, but they have to balance their team with team friendly contracts. So to be bad now, you get to audition players you get via trades and move minor players up to audition them for next year. The Brewers did that in 2012 and 2013 which set them up for a much better 2014.
The past several years from 2007 to 2014 was a great run. The core players of Braun, Hardy, Fielder, Hart, Gallardo, and others that came up provided two playoff appearances, a year where the franchise went all in winning 96 games, and appeared to have tons of fun taking the fans on an incredible ride. However it almost seemed with the Gallardo trade that era of Brewers baseball has now come to an end. Now would be the time to start over, make some popcorn, and enjoy the prospect call up war that your rivals the Cubs and Cardinals appear to be starting.
Plus there is always the joy of hearing Bob Uecker call games in the summer!
Typically around this time of year, I am excited for one of my favorite sports I love, Opening Day in baseball. This year for the first time in probably my life before I found out what baseball is, it will have to take a back seat to what may be one of the best days in Wisconsin sports history.
Man what a game… As I write this, the replay is currently on CBS Sports Network. It may be one of the best Final Four games since Duke beat UNLV in 1991 considering the circumstances. Wisconsin playing for respect vs Kentucky playing for undefeated history.
This game had everything: Great plays, poor officiating, clutch shots, momentum swings, answer shot after answer, and even poor sportsmanship. I will get to that later.
I went through so many emotions in this game: Excitement, concern, happiness, and even anger (the slap at the end of the shot clock violation that the referees blew even though they reviewed the play).
In the end, Wisconsin is playing Duke on Monday after slaying Arizona last Saturday and Kentucky this Saturday on 4/4 which would be #44 Frank Kaminsky’s (National Player of the year) 22nd Birthday. He was solid as always with 20 points on 7-11 shooting with 11 rebounds, and 2 blocks.
How about that Sam Dekker? The pride of Sheboygan put the Badgers on his back with 16 points including taking over the last two minutes of the game.
A star is born on the national stage and his shot that gave the Badgers the lead was “cold blooded.” What many won’t say about what happened before is give credit to the Badgers for having lock down defense where Kentucky had back to back to back shot clot violations in the closing moments.
Sam Dekker’s clutch three switched the momentum from Kentucky up four to the Badgers up three. By the way, the shot that took the lead both in 2015 and 2014 look eerily similar. Wow.
I have been in the minority and getting ripped in social media by my friends but I said all tournament long two things:
1) Kentucky instead of dominating like a undefeated team should, plays down to their competition.
2) They really run a bad offense for a team that has been #1 most of the year.
When your offensive sets rely on bricking shots, grabbing rebounds, and getting to the free throw line without actually running a sound offense, a good defensive team like Wisconsin is not going to let you get to the lane or foul you.
Instead, you will have to make shots to win the game. And the back to back to back (3 in total) shot clock violations late in the game proved me right. A couple times they did not even get a quality shot up during that stretch. Up four to down three in about 2 and a half minutes. Look at tapes of the Badgers in the second half of their wins or just ask Michigan State, North Carolina or Arizona if you don’t believe me. From controlling the game to down in a flash.
Notre Dame exposed Kentucky as a fraud offensively last week but just stopped running their offense late and they lost the game more than Kentucky won it. Wisconsin just finished the job because they are one of the most fundamentally sound teams in the country and you have to flat out hit almost everything you throw up to beat them or they have to beat themselves. Duke earlier in the year shooting lights out and the hiccup @ Rutgers with many players out or hurt are two good examples.
Now you can argue that Kentucky shot better than Wisconsin (48 % vs 47 %). Here is the thing:
Wisconsin beat Kentucky on offensive rebounds 9-6, rebounding 30-22. Basically they out Kentucky’d Kentucky at what they like to do offensively. Also Wisconsin got to line 22 times vs Kentucky’s 10.
Here is the other stat of note: William Cauley-Stein no showed with 2 points and 5 rebounds. His only FG? A showtime dunk in the first minute of the game…After that he pretty much called it a night. The plan to make the guards on Kentucky make shots to beat Wisconsin over the big guys getting offensive rebounds worked brilliantly. Maybe that is why he walked off the court showing poor sportsmanship as the game ended.
Also shame on Andrew Harrison for this:
Harrison has since made a public apology about his comments which I give him credit for being an adult and admitting wrong.
At least Ashley Judd took the loss more gracious than some of the players.
All in all Kentucky fans be proud. You were 38-1, you ended up in the Final Four. But as many times as March Madness can prove every year, on this night and on this court, Wisconsin was the better team and deserves to play for a national championship Monday.
Can you believe we have rematch #3 in a row to avenge the loss vs Duke at home early in the year? A win cements Coach K as arguably the best coach ever and a win cements Bo Ryan as getting the credit he finally deserves; a soon to be hall of fame coach and just as much of a big name in college basketball as the other top coaches in his profession.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 560 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 9 trips to carry that many people.
So it was done. Honestly it had to be and I am glad the ownership listened to its fanbase.
As a Bears fan who grew up in Wisconsin, this was one of the worst seasons I can remember ever following this team.
I went from feeling annoyed earlier in the year with the tweets the players had with the fans and the talk of fighting in the locker room after games.
I went to feeling upset seeing the same dumb idiotic issues over and over again along with the same lame responses from Trestman that the team “had a good practices”
(And let’s not forget Lamarr Houston tearing his ACL after celebrating a sack to New England’s backup QB down 28 points. I could tell then the players did not respect the coaches).
I went to feeling embarrassed after the Green Bay massacre on national Sunday night TV.
I went to laughing when the team showed another poor performance on national TV Thursday night against the Cowboys and some Cowboys fans actually thought they might have trouble winning that game. The team actually got an offside penalty punting on 4th down and got a PAT (Point after touchdown) blocked in that game.
And I went to not caring as I did not watch much of the Saints debacle this time on Monday National TV.
Lastly, I did not even care to watch one minute of the Lions game or the Vikings game to end the season. I can’t remember a time of that ever happening.
Today ownership did a step forward in saying that this season was beyond unacceptable. And hearing Virginia McCaskey being quoted as saying “she’s pissed off” made me clap at today’s press conference. Now the thing that worries me is can the owners and people in charge make the right GM and coaching hire that will begin to pick up the pieces of what is now a mess of a franchise.
Notice I did not say anything about Jay Cutler. Even if the Bears traded Cutler to someone and pay his salary to them would you want this guy on your team? NO!!
Unfortunately, Cutler is here to stay for another couple of seasons unless some team is really stupid enough to want him. This video says it all right here!!
Let’s hope the Bears get it right this time. This is the biggest and most important off season in recent memory.
P.S. How does Mel Tucker still have a job??!?