Thanks to regional television connections that cover just about everything that moves on the Big Ten sports scene, I've watched more than 30
basketball games this season.
The Badgers have a 31-3 record at the moment. University of Wisconsin
|Seven-footer Frank Kaminsky is hard to stop.|
The UW team is an interesting group in many ways. It features a seven-footer who handles the ball like an athletic little guy and swishes long three-point shots with ease, a Ho-Chunk Indian lad who went from sub to brilliant team leader, and a fifth-year senior nicknamed "Captain America" who is said to top the league in floor burns caused by diving recklessly for loose balls. These guys are fun to watch.
I was a student at
for four years in the 1950s. I attended one basketball game. Wisconsin
basketball was not fun to watch.
Coach Foster hung around for 25 years, continuing to teach the same, old pattern game that was a winner in 1941. His strategy was producing perennial losers by the 50s. Most students responded by skipping basketball games altogether, even though an athletic ticket book cost $8.50, as I recall, and several basketball passes were included.
Curiosity got the better of me in 1955 when the Indiana Hoosiers arrived for a game.
was a basketball powerhouse. They won the Big Ten and NCAA titles the year
before, and were well on the way to another conference championship. Wisconsin, in 1955, was
to finish with 16 losses. The Badgers tied for eighth in the Big Ten, and those were the days when the conference really had ten members.
I carried a very thick history book to the Fieldhouse. The plan was to do some required reading during timeouts and at halftime.
The superb play of the Hoosiers held my full attention for the first few minutes of the game. The inept work by the Badgers more than compensated. Using the history book for a head rest, I stretched out across several seats (there were plenty of empty spaces). I dozed off and stayed oblivious to events on the court until a fellow student shook me awake after the final buzzer. I actually only saw part of one basketball game during my college days.
Coach Bo Ryan arrived in
in 2001 with new ideas and a record
of success. The Badgers have been winners since, and nobody is snoozing as the
"Grateful Red" fans celebrate win after win. The Badgers may not be able to get past undefeated Madison
and several other high-powered teams to once again become NCAA champs, but it
will be fun watching them try. Kentucky