You'd think that since I'm a Catlick and we live so close to Notre Dame that I'd be rooting for the Fighting Irish instead of the Badgers in this sweet 16 matchup.
Wisconsin 8, Notre Dame 5.
But then again you gotta follow the history. For a good part of my daughter Jeanie's adolescence, I drove her every so often to Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. It's six and a half hours away and the midway stopping point is, you guessed it, Madison, Wisconsin. One time during a snowstorm, when Jeanie was feeling especially bad, we stopped on State Street and went to Noodles and Company and the rest is history.
Now she's a Badger alum running around Thailand and Cambodia. I'm not kidding. She's in Thailand right now. She graduated 4.0 from Wisconsin and then took a job as a nanny to a rather well-off Manhattan family and next thing you know she's taking kickboxing lessons across the street from a Buddhist temple. It's 6:40am there so I'm guessing that she's not watching the Badgers take an early lead.
Wisconsin 13, Notre Dame 9 at the TV timeout.
While I was out JEDgolfing just a little while ago, my phone started dinging as I somehow got on a 10-person chat in which someone suggested -
Hey JED, why don't you blog about IU?
Indiana, a five seed, plays #1 seed North Caroline in a couple of hours and Hoosier nation has been levitating all week. A couple days ago my neighbor across the street, Pete Korellis, was outside moving around his Stars and Stripes to make room for a crimson and cream IU flag. It was windy and he was having trouble and his wife, Susie, was sitting in the car.
The polite thing to do would have been to stop and help Korellis. I mean, he was really struggling with both flags in his hands and the wind howling and the stand to hold them was above his head... and you get the picture. It wouldn't have taken much for me to get out of my daughter's Ford Fusion and give Korellis a hand.
I pictured myself pulling on the handle to open the Fusion, stepping out of the car, walking across his brick sidewalk, taking one of the flags, holding it until he got the other one in place, and then handing the other second to him. Mission accomplished.
All of this ran through my head in an instant, and it very well could have played out. But something held me back. I sat in my car, window open - "Hey Pete. Nice IU flag."
"I got it in college, had to take all the Bobby Knight stuff off of it."
And as soon as Korellis said that, I knew that it wasn't gonna play out the way I just described. You see, the three or four of you, I have lived a lifetime of heartbreak at the hands of Bobby Knight and the Indiana Hoosiers. I sat in the last row once at Assembly Hall when Jay what's his name hit a shot at the buzzer to put down my beloved Boilers. I sat in the front row at Mackey Arena dozens of times, just feet from Bobby Knight, and watched the Hoosiers come in and somehow steal one from the Boilers.
Now I know what the three or four of you are thinking - JED, if you're that against IU, then why are you the Chicago area affiliate for Hoosiers football and basketball?
One word answer - Ryan Walsh. He graduated from IU six years ago and came to work for me as sports director and next thing you know we've been carrying IU along with Purdue for a good five years now. Don't get me wrong. I do like listening to IU games on my own radio station, especially basketball games. Don Fisher is the best announcer in America in any sport... and we have Don on WJOB. That's a point of pride. I went upstairs a little while ago to put my Wisconsin hoodie on and there was WJOB playing in the bedroom. It was a Region flashback of when I interview Don Fisher a few months ago. I told him I was a diehard fan of his and that he's so good I'd listen to him read the Lafayette phone book.
Don took it in stride, changing the direction of the conversation to something about IU. He's not only good. He's also humble. I can honestly say that if I lived next door to Don Fischer, I'd help him put up his IU flag. That's just the way it is, Korellis. Deal with it.
.... Anyways, in typical hillbilly Dedelow fashion, Alexis and I are scheduled to go in a little bit to my sister's house a couple blocks away to watch the IU game. Daughter Jackie's in town for Spring break from DePaul and she'll come too. My brother, who lives across the street from my sister, will walk over. And my dad who lives about halfway between my sister and brother and I, will probably come too. My sister Jennifer actually went to IU, and so did my brother Brian for a while and my brother Jeff (and truth be told, I went to IU for a while).. but make no mistake. We're a Purdue family rooting for IU. That sounds weird, but so is all of us living in a square mile. If I lit off an M-80 in the backyard right now, they'd all hear it.
Go IU. There, I said it and I blogged about it. Now take me off the group chat.
Wisconsin 23, Notre Dame 19. Halftime.