Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Butler Digs UWM's Graves

Some thoughts from the New Year's weekend.

This blog got a chance to take in the Savannah State-Marquette game Saturday at 1:00 CST, headed to Grand Avenue Mall and Major Goolsby's for the interim, then went to see Butler take on UW-Milwaukee.

1. Marquette played very poorly. Savannah State, now #273 in the country in RPI, came in and gave MU a game, losing 69-51. Walk-on Freshman Craig Kuphall, who didn't even have a name on his jersey earlier in the year, replaced Jerel McNeal in the lineup coming out of halftime. Very surprising and disappointing performance from Marquette fans' perspectives.

2. The Borders in Grand Avenue Mall is scarcely in Grand Avenue Mall at all. You have to navigate about 5 turns, 2 skywalks, decend a big staircase, then end up at street level on a very unusual street (for Grand Ave.). Maybe not entirely worth it unless it's raining, but notable.

3. This blog had the good fortune of having dinner with a couple Butler students, one of which is a cheerleader, up for the game. Both were pretty knowledgeable about college basketball, in particular Butler, so it made for an interesting conversation.

Some topics covered:

-Both of them are Bob Knight fans, but know much bigger Knight fans in their home state. They think he gets a raw deal when everything gets blown up like this year when he was getting a player's attention by popping his chin and ESPN had a 2-day feeding frenzy of coverage. (Pun City agrees)

-The cheerleader had been to every Butler game this year with the exception of the road game at Tulane. Pun City can see how that wouldn't be a prime destination, even if New Orleans was at 100%.

-She said that Madison Square Garden doesn't look very big from floor level. Furthermore, she was surprised the cheerleading squad was allowed to travel to MSG, and apparently it took a groundswell of Booster Club support to get them there.

-Butler apparently has (optimistically) 4,000 undergraduates. This makes them the smallest school in the Horizon League, a title they will continue to hold even after Valparaiso joins the conference next year.

-The pair have become Gonzaga fans this year after Butler played (and beat) them in New York. They are fans especially of Derek Raivio but did not seem to like Adam Morrison.

-The cheerleader had been served by Notre Dame's Luke Zeller when he used to work at the Washington, IN Subway.

-Pun City was at the Southern Illinois-Bradley game when this happened. (Note this blog standing and clapping in the white during the last 2 seconds of the video clip). A surprising perspective from the Butler cheerleader on the incident. (Pun City paraphrasing)-

"You know, I went to cheerleading camp and heard that she had alcohol in her system when she checked into the hospital. I mean, why would you want to move when you're on the top of a 2 1/2? (2 1/2 person-tall formation -PC). I mean, no one cares that you are still doing the motions to the fight song, either, everyone's just pissed because you ruined cheerleading for the rest of us, b****. We can't do anything now. I seriously feel like I'm still in High School. We can't do anything we couldn't do then. Oh wait, we can do tick tocks, big whoop."

Pun City, recoiling: "Uh, what's a tick tock?"

Cheerleader, back to sweet mode: "Oh, that's when you are held up by one foot and then switch to the other. In High School, any time you release from the base (cheerleader holding you up -PC), you have to cradle (as in get caught by the base with both arms near the ground instead of staying up in the air -PC)."

So Pun City thought that was very interesting. Further research revealed the excerpt in the "Consequences..." section here, which delineates the rule changes imposed after Kristi Yamaoka's fall. Pun City doubts there is a way to substantiate the alcohol rumor, so take that for what it's worth.

4. UWM pulled out all the stops that night, on and off the court. It was free foam Panther Paw giveaway night, so all fans got those. This blog was very entertained watching UWM's cheerleaders, who were handing out the paws. The cheerleaders performed routines while wearing the oversized paws, which was hilarious. There was also brief (and completely unserious) discussion of producing a calendar where the paws would be the only articles of clothing involved. A couple poses were tested out, this blog was liking the view.

A second, late-arriving promotion was Road Runner t-shirts. This blog can only assume this is because UWM has a lot of fast players. At halftime, this blog went in the concourse and discovered the shirts, which may have initially been intended for students only, but probably less than 20 students showed, so they were really trying to get rid of them at that point, this blog imagines.

Most importantly, the Panthers played pretty well on the court, stifling Butler's All-America candidate A.J. Graves for much of the contest. The Panthers were in the game for the duration, with Butler holding on 55-50. This combined with UWM's win over Wyoming last week offers a good bit of hope for their fans. In this blog's estimation, the last 2 games UWM has played were the 2 games they played most as a team this season, which is a very positive sign. Let's hope it keeps up.

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Blogger Marketing Sensei said...

I had an ex-girlfriend that graduated from Butler. It makes for an interesting confrontation when playing against my alma mater.

Sadly, Butler likes to beat on UW-M. On another note, I might want to attend your next inter-collegiate basketball escapade.

9:55 PM  
Blogger Cooler Brian said...

Apparently that was Butler's first win at UWM since 1998. So though they may like to beat on UWM, they haven't had too much success in the Cell. Next escapade is Thursday when UWM takes on Detroit.

10:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does the public's reaction to Kristi Yamaoka's story remind anyone else of this scene from a Simpson's episode [Radio Bart], where Bart fakes that Timmy O'Toole fell into a well?

Homer: That Timmy is a real hero!

Lisa: How do you mean, Dad?

Homer: Well, he fell down a well, and... he can't get out.

- Moike

5:57 AM  

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