Wisconsin Badgers (28-5) vs. Texas A&M Corpus Christi Islanders (26-6)
When: Friday, 2:35 p.m.
1. Old School Quickies. Bucky Badger's full name is Buckingham U. Badger. Is Minnesota's Golden Gopher that sophisticated? I doubt it. The Badger mascot actually stems from when the territory was dubbed "The Badger State," not because of animals in the region, but rather an association with miners in the 1820's. Prospectors came to the state looking for minerals, and without shelter in the winter, they had to live like badgers in tunnels burrowed into hillsides. Speaking of back in the day, annual tuition in 1900 was $20. Now that would really make paying off school loans a lot easier. One last fact: Did you know 17 Nobel Prizes and 24 Pulitzer Prizes have been awarded to UW alumni & faculty?
2. What You Need to Know About This Team. There's quite the range of personalities on this squad. Forward Marcus Landry says his dream job is a pastor, while guard Trevon Hughes simply states "Victoria's Secret." Uh, OK. Sophomore forward Kevin Gullickson says the best movie he's seen this year is Clerks II. Kevin, go see some more movies. Brian Butch's favorite TV show is "Grey's Anatomy." Do with that what you will. I'm going to cut him some slack after his elbow ended up on the wrong side of his arm against the Buckeyes.
3. What Else You Need to Know About These Guys. Center Greg Steimsma's favorite musical groups are Kenny Chesney & Korn. That's enough to make Peyton Manning excited & scared at the same time. Player of the Year candidate Alando Tucker is averaging 20 points per game and has the uncanny ability to get a shot off anywhere in traffic. He will surely be undervalued by NBA GM's this spring because he is a "tweener." Tucker's cell phone ring is the theme from "The People's Court." Many of us here in Wisconsin are hoping for a Judge Wapner style ruling this March in favor of Wisconsin. — Sam McClone
TEXAS A&M CORPUS CHRISTI ISLANDERS
1. The house that Arrow built. TAMUCC has only been part of the Texas A&M system since 1989. In 1998, they hired South Alabama coach Ronnie Arrow to create a Division-I basketball program out of thin air. He did just that, cobbling together a pair of respectable .500 seasons before earning Independent coach of the year honors three times. This year, the Islanders made their debut in the Southland Conference and compiled a 25-6 overall record. Someone ought to name a building after that guy.
2. Who invited these bastards? Northwestern State University upset No. 3 seed Iowa in the Big Dance in 2006. No doubt they and other Southland conference members were wolf-whistling like inmates at Oz catching sight of fresh meat when TAMUCC appeared on their schedule for the first time this year. Fast-forward to March, and the new guys have a dominant 13-1 record in the conference and have grabbed the auto-bid. Fellas, I think you've been hustled.
3. I haven't seen this many seniors since I visited Grandma at Del Boca Vista. The Islanders can start a very experienced lineup — five seniors, anchored by All-Southland Center Chris Daniels. When one of them needs a breather, two more fourth-year players are on the bench. But don't fret for next year's team. Brilliantly named junior college transfer Scooby Johnson is making his case to fill Daniels' enormous shoes. He was a perfect 5-for-5 for eleven points in the SLC Championship game. Eric Angevine