BONUS Sharif Chambliss note
A native of Racine, Wisconsin, Chambliss played three seasons at Penn State (he was a freshman on the Joe-Crispin-led 2001 team that went to the Sweet 16) and led the Big Ten in made three's in 2003. His late-game heroics were largely responsible for the dramatic upset win the Nittany Lions posted over the Badgers in State College that season. Penn State entered that game 5-16 overall and 0-10 in the conference. That kind of record tends to have an effect on attendance and thus the game was played in front of, shall we say, a notably select group of Penn State supporters. Few in number, the home fans nevertheless stormed the court when the final horn sounded. To this day it is the only instance in Wonk's experience where the jubilant fans swarming onto the court were actually outnumbered by the players, coaches and referees already on the floor.
In today's less Wonk-ish venues....
Wonk reads 'em so you don't have to!
The Chicago Tribune is out with its college basketball preview: writes-itself article on Illinois, Deron Williams, Dee Brown, and living up to the hype here. Northwestern guard T.J. Parker and his mates ask "Why not Northwestern?" here. Under the headline "5 best Big Ten games this season," the apparently mathematically challenged Tribsters pick six: Michigan State at Wisconsin, Illinois at Wisconsin, Michigan at Michigan State, Illinois at Michigan State, Michigan State at Michigan, and Wisconsin at Illinois.
(BONUS non-Big-Ten note: Also in the Trib's preview, Skip Myslenski offers this quip from the Texas Tech coach, some fellow named Bobby Knight: "I talked to a kid this spring who has yet to be a full-time player on his high school team and was going to be a senior, is a senior currently, and he asked me how I'd feel if he went to the NBA early. I said, 'I'd be damned surprised. That's how I'd feel.'")
Michigan State opens with an exhibition tonight against Grand Valley State. Previews here and here.
Wisconsin opens with an exhibition tonight against Wisconsin-Parkside. Preview here. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Big Ten preview at-a-glance here. Profile of Wisconsin's Alando Tucker here. Rob Schultz of the Madison Capital Times profiles Badger freshmen Michael Flowers and Greg Steimsma here. The apparently indefatigable Schultz also looks at next year's crop of Badger recruits here.
Lead paragraph from the Des Moines Register's preview of tonight's exhibition between Iowa and Upper Iowa: "Steve Alford checked the history section of the Iowa men's basketball media guide recently. He turned to the pages that documented past games, particularly the four the Hawkeyes played against Upper Iowa between 1901 and 1922." Want to read more? In God's name, why? Link here if you feel you must. More here.
(BONUS Upper Iowa note: Located in Fayette, Iowa, Upper Iowa University has apparently snuck its alumni center into the family room of some poor unsuspecting Fayette resident, judging by this photo.)
Say you need more information on Iowa's Erek Hansen? Of course not! But here's the link anyway.
(EXCLUSIVE Wonk warning to journalism majors reading this now: You graduate, you're hired by the Iowa City Press-Citizen, and your assignments editor sends you to do a profile on Erek Hansen. Wonk believes this paragraph should be in the college catalogue, next to Journ 101.)
Indefatigable Illini beat writer Herb Gould of the Chicago Sun-Times takes in all of college hoops and offers ten points to ponder here. Jeff Shelman of the Minneapolis Star Tribune looks at next year's crop of Minnesota recruits here.
Don't just mutter ineffectually; email me!
"You are dead on right about MSU. What they really lack is the beef combined with the attitude. I have been pounding the table that the biggest loss for MSU was when Lorbek left early to go sit the bench in Europe. During the last part of his first and only season at MSU, when he was on the floor with Davis, everything opened up. Unfortunately for the Spartans, I am not sure they have enough beef yet on the baseline to take some pressure of Davis. Anderson just does not get after it like Mo Pete did. By the way most Spartan fans do not share my views."
Most Spartan fans may not share your views, Mark, but Wonk does! Losing Erazem Lorbek to professional basketball in Europe was huge. I still remember the game Lorbek played at Wisconsin in 2003. After a scoreless first half, Lorbek was apparently hypnotized in the locker room at halftime by Tom Izzo. All Wonk knows is that the hitherto diffident Slovenian teenager came out in the second half convinced, somehow, that he was in reality Tim Duncan. Lorbek, albeit in a losing cause, lit up the Badgers for 19 points in 20 minutes. Wonk has never seen a Bo Ryan-coached defense look so porous.