As for a college basketball eye test, Wisconsin Badger fans are questioning what they just saw.
It was supposed to be a night to celebrate.
The Wisconsin Badgers rose the banner for their Final Four berth before the season opener against the Western Illinois Leathernecks.
Bo Ryan’s squad was one half away from a national championship, having been tied with Duke at halftime last April.
But on this November night, fans witnessed what growing pains losing Frank Kaminsky, Traevon Jackson, Sam Dekker and Josh Gasser will result in.
Western Illinois won this opener, 69-67.
“Since I’m a believer I’m just calling it a fluke,” super fan Marci Williams tells collegebasketballeyetest.com. Williams was in attendance at the Kohl’s Center in Madison Friday night. She said that the Badgers lack of defense and chemistry was apparent.
Jonathan Eckelberg is an ambassador for the Badger State, working for the Wisconsin Department of Tourism. This loss won’t cost the state any tourism to the Kohl’s Center. Eckelberg says the team just needs to fix the little things.
“They needed to make more free throws for sure. Easy points that they threw away,” Eckelberg told @CBBEyeTest on Twitter.
Danny Lemanske boasts on his Twitter bio as being the biggest Badger fan ever. He watched the game at home.
“They got beat over and over again inside. They don’t have a rim protector. (It) seemed like offensive ball movement was a lot worse,” Lemanske said late Saturday.
If you follow Badgers Men’s Basketball on Twitter, this offseason would have you thinking Nigel Hayes is primed to be the next Arlando Tucker:
And it won’t be long before that excitement returns. In fact, it appears Wisconsin fans are already over it. Most tweets Saturday night point to Bo Ryan’s ability to develop young talent to fit his system.
Lemanske said “suddenly I don’t feel so bad,” after seeing that coach Buzz William’s Virginia Tech team lost to Alabama State.
Let’s also put into context who this Western Illinois Leathernecks team is. First, they hail from the Summit Conference, which recently brought you the North and South Dakota state division 1 teams to the NCAA Tournament. In 2014, North Dakota State defeated 5th seed Oklahoma. Last season, they lost to Gonzaga by just 10. In prior years, South Dakota State earned itself as low as a 13 seed and competed well round one against Baylor and Michigan respectively.
Contrary to Wisconsin, this Western Illinois team got 136 minutes contributed from its senior players. Perhaps our takeaway should be less about Wiscsonsin’s chemistry and more about who the Summit League’s next representative may be.
Going to a college basketball game this season? Share your eye witness report by tweeting @CBBEyeTest.