Opinion Matters

With Gazette Opinion Editor Greg Peck

A few thoughts about March Madness in Wisconsin

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Greg Peck
Friday, March 14, 2014

I played high school basketball, so the term March Madness holds a special place in my heart. Still, as a fan today, I admit to being a little off my game this season.

My alma mater, Marshall High School, had strong boys and girls teams this year, but both fell short of state. The boys lost by one point to Lodi in a sectional finale last weekend. Marshall's girls got thumped by that powerful Brodhead team that then put on an impressive rally last night over Whitewater at Janesville Parker.

I did catch that Janesville Parker-Craig girls game last weekend. Anyone watching the ragged game with too many fouls and missed shots probably never would have guessed that such a long shot would win it so dramatically for Craig. I wasn't surprised that Craig's tournament problems with scoring caught up with the team against Mukwonago last night.

Retired Gazette Sports Editor Dave Wedeward is be attending his 60th consecutive boys state basketball tournament in Madison this weekend, but without any local teams in the tourney, my interest isn't what it might be. The girls tournament is next weekend in Green Bay. The switch to that city might be good for the Fox Valley, but it doesn't enhance interests in this neck of Wisconsin. Here's hoping, however, Brodhead's girls do our region proud.

Turning to college basketball, the Badgers' Big Ten fortunes and NCAA seeding will be on the line at 5:30 today when UW plays Minnesota in a conference tournament quarterfinal matchup. Here are four keys for the Badgers as they enter tournament play.

1. Can they defend the paint?

2. Can they shoot straight?

3. Which Sam Dekker will show up?

4. Perhaps most important, will “Jekyll” Jackson or “Hyde” Jackson be handling point-guard duties? Yes, Traevon Jackson, son of former NBA star Jimmy Jackson, has given Badger fans some last-second thrills the past two years. He's also left us frustrated too often.

I liked seeing former would-be point guard Josh Gasser handle the ball when Jackson sat the pines in Sunday's loss at Nebraska. If Jackson fails to perform well, don't expect the Badgers to last long either in this weekend's conference tournament or in the NCAA brackets.

At least, however, the Badgers are sitting in a better spot than that underachieving Marquette team. Sorry, Golden Eagles faithful. I hope, however, your favorite team can salvage its season by winning the NIT.

Greg Peck can be reached at (608) 755-8278 or gpeck@gazettextra.com. Or follow him on Twitter or Facebook.  

Greg Peck can be reached at (608) 755-8278 or gpeck@gazettextra.com. Or follow him on Twitter or Facebook.

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