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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Dancing With The Devils

The match-up that Badger Nation has been longing for years is now an official reality with the announcement of the pairings for the ninth annual Big Ten/ACC Challenge: Wisconsin will travel to Duke for an 8 pm (CT) tip-off on Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2007.

It is not humanly possible for someone to be a more biased fan than I will be during that game. It is the first-ever meeting between my alma mater and my most hated sports team of all-time. The over/under on the number of times I wish physical harm on a Duke player has opened at 18 ½.

This seems like the ideal time to prop up one of my favorite web destinations of all-time: Truth About Duke. A nice stop for the Blue Devil-basher in all of us.

The scheduling news continued today when the Big Ten revealed that next year the conference schedule will increase from 16 to 18 games. Now, I'm not saying Bo is popping Cristal over the change, but hopefully he's relaxing with a good scotch and enjoying the step towards a true 20-game round-robin setup. It's a win-win situation. The teams and coaches get a more balanced schedule. As fans, this means a longer Big Ten season and thus, more good games.

Wisconsin fans should like what they see with the non-conference slate and feel confident that extending the conference season does not necessarily mean sacrificing quality non-conference opponents. The university is in the midst of finalizing its new series with Texas, which replaces the home-and-home with Pittsburgh. In addition to the annual Big Ten/ACC Challenge, the Badgers also play Georgia again and can always count on Marquette to be formidable.

So much for the lack of Wisconsin basketball news.

: : :

Former UW interim head coach Brad Soderberg is out at St. Louis University. Soderberg had an average five-year run, but never made the NCAA tournament with the Billikens. Soderberg won 20 games, a personal best and a first for St. Louis since 1997-98. His conference record dipped from 10-6 to 8-8 in the Atlantic 10 Conference this season, but there is speculation that St. Louis wanted to shake up some excitement for its new arena that open over a year from now.

The timing is pretty bad, both for Soderberg and the university. Nothing like bringing in a coach who will automatically be two months behind. St. Louis had also just gotten a commitment on Friday from SF Marcus Relphorde of Chicago. Oops, sorry kid. Hopefully St. Louis was not the only shot at a big-time scholarship for Soderberg's son either. (Kramer lit up the middle school competition in Sun Prairie back in the day).

Maybe controversy just follows Brad Soderberg. Just like his departure from Wisconsin, he was let go after a decent season ended on a sour note. Although St. Louis' 60-40 loss in the A-10 tournament semifinals cannot hold a candle to UW's 2001 NCAA disaster, both exits came with some outcry.

I'm sure the mentor is not happy. Unlike Bo, Dick Bennett might be having an angry scotch after this news.

1 comment:

  1. Man, the Badger's schedule is going to be insane. Don't forget about that tournament they're scheduling in November which should include one other big name.


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