Back on the plane it is now 12:50 a.m. CT. Hopefully we make it back to Madison by 2 a.m. (editor’s note: I’m posting this at 10:30 a.m. CT. We touched down at 2:20 a.m. and I was in bed by 3). We had a little snack (ham or turkey sandwiches) and now most everyone is trying to catch some zzz’s.
Following my last blog entry from the game, I waited until the final television timeout and then hopped over the table to get ready to go into the locker room with the team. It was a very graceful move, if I must say so myself. I also have to give the Duke fans props for the ovation we got as we made our way back to the locker room. It wasn’t one of those sarcastic, “hah-hah, we just beat you” cheers but it seemed like a heartfelt, “thanks for the competition, hope you had a good time” cheers. I assume they do it for all opposing teams (other than UNC, that is).
After coach addressed the team, we made our way to the post-game press conference. Coach K was just finishing up and the two coaches met right outside. From what I’ve witnessed, Bo and Coach K have a pretty good relationship, I think stemming mostly from both serving on a lot of coaching committees (and probably also just from being around for a while). Bo was talking to Doris Burke at shootaround about a game when he was a UW assistant and the Badgers beat Army when Coach K was there. He commented that there aren’t many coaches from the 70s, assistants or head coaches, that are still in the college coaching ranks but they were two of them. Bo was also on Coach K’s radio show last year for about 20 minutes and I remember him being very complimentary of our program.
So when they ran across each other outside the media room, they exchanged greetings and Coach K remarked how much he liked Jon Leuer and how he thought Trevon was going to be a good player for us. He also complimented Bo’s dance moves. Bo said it was smart of them to schedule a game in between their Maui trip and the Challenge game, in order to get their legs back. He said it also helped Taylor King, a freshman who didn’t play much in Maui, get some confidence because he shot well in their game Sunday vs. Eastern Kentucky. His hot streak continued as he was 4-of-5 from distance in the first half against us.
Overall, the experience was pretty cool. I’ve been to Wrigley Field, Yankee Stadium, went to school at Notre Dame, been to Lambeau a number of times, seen football games at Michigan and Ohio Stadiums and Cameron Indoor ranked right up there with all of them. Spending four years at ND, I’m biased towards Notre Dame Stadium and sitting at press row is not the same as being among the Cameron Crazies (though it was probably as close as you could get), but I definitely got caught up in the atmosphere. Hopefully all the Wisconsin fans that made the trip (there was a surprising amount of red in the stands, even though former SID student Rob Jansen went a little undercover with the grey t-shirt) had a good time as well.
It’s funny, because we’ve definitely been in louder venues. Last year at Indiana was as loud a building, start to finish, as I’ve heard while traveling with basketball. But Assembly Hall holds almost double the amount of people as Cameron. The Breslin Center, which seats about 5,000 more than Cameron, has also been louder. And the Kohl Center, when all 17,190 get rocking, rivals any arena we’ve been in. But at Duke, it’s not necessarily about the decibel level, it’s about the intimacy. When they jumped up and down it reminded me of Camp Randall and “Jump Around” because you could definitely feel t he floor shake. It’s a classic venue that lived up to its billing.
I took some pictures during the game to help you guys get a feel for how it looked from my seat. I posted them at the bottom of the gameday blog, so be sure to check that out. Also, let me know what you thought of the “Complete Coverage” angle, because if you liked it, we’ll definitely try to do more of it on UWBadgers.com.
You can contact Brian Lucas via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.