I guess it is now an accepted fact that Wisconsin can’t beat Minnesota in Madison at any sport this year. That’s fine. Just ... whatever. Let them have their one year of happiness before the new decade and a half of sadness envelops their cold, dead hearts. I will be attending the Badgers/Gophers game at The Barn in February and will look to reverse the mojo by smashing a bottle of New Glarus Belgian Red on their stupid-ass raised floor and brandishing it at Goldy Gopher until I’m carried off by security. You’re welcome.
You all should also probably be thanking me for what the Philadelphia Eagles have done to the Packers’ main rivals over the past two weeks. First, they kept the Minnesota Vikings and their preposterously-paid quarterback out of the playoffs—and then they double-doinked the Chicago Bears straight to hell in the Wild Card round.
The double-doink in bright lights high above the city of Philadelphia.— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) January 8, 2019
That's right, the PECO Building is showing an animation of the famous blocked kick. pic.twitter.com/UiicTFvhYA
When your team has a bad year, it is best to revel in the failures of your rivals. It will sustain you through the long, bleak winter. Speaking of sustenance through sporting losses!
HOW ‘BOUT THEM CRIMSON TIDE?!?! Jesus, what a beatdown Dabo and the boys gave ‘Ol Nicky Saban. This might finally be the quality loss that Alabama needs to remain at the top of all the polls.
All KenPom rankings are as of Wednesday, Jan. 9.
KenPom.com rankings: 17th overall, 7th offense, 60th defense
Notable wins: Maryland (20th overall KenPom) and Iowa (43rd overall KenPom)
Hilarious losses: Notre Dame (75th overall KenPom)
Record: 9-6 overall, 2-2 Big Ten
Biggest strengths: It’s probably pretty silly to mull this one over for very long as anyone who has watched even a second of Purdue basketball this year knows that Carsen Edwards is their biggest strength. He is currently rated as the seventh best player in the country by KenPom, the sixth leading scorer in the country at 24.5 points per game and he hardly ever misses a free throw. That last point should be met with “oohs” and “aahs” by the Badger faithful on Friday.
Michigan State has a hand in the face — literally, directly in front of the face — on every shot attempt by Carsen Edwards.— Brendan F. Quinn (@BFQuinn) January 9, 2019
I don’t know much, but I do know that Edwards shot 3-of-17 against MSU and Wisconsin should employ the strategy of “making life difficult for the other team’s best player” when Purdue comes to town.
Biggest weaknesses: Purdue’s defense isn’t very good, and if its offense isn’t clicking—which it usually is—then they have basically zero chance of winning. Opposing teams usually shoot well from beyond the arc against them so Friday would be as good a time as any for D’Mitrik Trice to break out of his slump.
Playing a crappy game in East Lansing and still hanging around for for 30+ mins only to get blown out is so dumb and very on brand.— Habitual Boiler (@HabitualBoiler) January 9, 2019
Someone at the game should keep track of how many times Matt Haarms adjusts his hair during the game.
When do they play Wisconsin?: Friday, 8 p.m. CT; FS1; Kohl Center (Madison, Wis.)
KenPom.com rankings: 20th overall, 21st offense, 45th defense
Notable wins: Nebraska (16th overall on KenPom) and, uh, at Minnesota (58th overall on KenPom)
Hilarious losses: None, they’ve only lost to good teams (Seton Hall, Purdue, UVa)
Record: 13-3 overall, 4-1 Big Ten
Biggest strengths: The Terps are a team that no one is talking about but they are quietly racking up wins and sit in second place in the Big Ten. Freshman Jalen Smith and sophomore Bruno Fernando are a pair of 6’10 monsters that vacuum up offensive rebounds with shocking ease and point guard Anthony Cowan is the man orchestrating their offense, which is the third-most efficient in the conference. Just look at Smith’s pump fake here! Jordan Murphy should have had to check out of the game immediately!
They are also playing like a mature bunch of old dudes at the Y.
Tonight was a game Maryland figured out how to lose last year. With a much younger team, the Terps have already won more road games than it did all of last season.— Justin Fitzgerald (@jfitzgerald52) January 9, 2019
Biggest weaknesses: Smith wears Rec Specs on the court in the Year of Our Lord 2019 and I am actually fully on board with this. I cannot wait until a player just decides to wear some of those VR goggles and play their entire game from the bench. The less moving everyone has to do, the better. Bring on those chairs that the humans have in WALL-E!
When do they play Wisconsin?: Monday, 7:30 p.m. CT, FS1, Xfinity Center (College Park, Md.)
KenPom.com rankings: 13th overall, 28th offense, 14th defense
Notable wins: Oklahoma (22nd overall KenPom), N.C. State (19th overall KenPom), Iowa (43rd in KenPom)
Hilarious losses: Western Kentucky (103rd overall KenPom)
Record: 11-4 overall, 3-1 Big Ten
Biggest strengths: Nate Reuvers is turning into a nice complementary piece down low next to Ethan Happ. His rim protection has been outstanding this year and his added weight has helped him with scoring in the paint as well as with grabbing contested rebounds.
Reuvers is 45th in the country for block percentage (9.4 percent) and is shooting 60 percent from the field on two pointers, most of which have been in the paint. With Trice’s three point shooting plummeting to a ghastly 46.5 percent (LOOOOOOOOL) it is nice to have Reuvers pick up a tiny bit of the offensive slack.
Biggest weaknesses: You know how you have that one thing you always wish you were better at, and you practice and try to get better at it, but no matter what you do you just don’t get better? Yeah, me neither. But the Wisconsin Badgers men’s basketball team has one of those things, and it is free throws.
Anyone else remember when we thought this would be rock bottom for Wisconsin free throws? pic.twitter.com/uQ69MbWDOG— Jeremy Thiel (@jeremythiel12) January 4, 2019
Why can’t they make them consistently? Is it voodoo? I hope it IS voodoo because then there will probably be a really cool 30 for 30 done on the offseason trip that the Badgers took to New Orleans where they wronged a witch and she cursed them to miss free throws all season.
The Badgers should also work on not going nearly a quarter of the game without scoring. Just one man’s opinion.
Cheers erupt in the Kohl Center on Brevin Pritzl's 3-pointer, ending a ridiculous scoring drought for Wisconsin at 9 minutes, 3 seconds. Badgers only down by five points against Minnesota.— Jesse Temple (@jessetemple) January 4, 2019
When do they play these two clown teams?: Purdue on Friday, and Maryland on Monday