Christian Schneider

Author, Columnist

March Madness Thoughts

After this weekend, I\’m pretty sure my couch is going to file suit against me.  After the overuse and remote control-related abuse it took following 96 hours of NCAA basketball, it\’s probably going to form a union with my other furniture and go on strike.  But just a couple points:

1.  I\’m trying to think of a worse way that the four Marquette seniors could have ended their careers.  But if fans had thrown flesh-eating pirhanas onto the court that ate Jerel McNeal down to a skeleton, I\’m not sure it would have been as bad as Lazar Hayward stepping on the end line on the inbounds pass with the game on the line.  As one prominent ex-Milwaukee area sideline reporter wrote on her Facebook status, Hayward should be forced to repay his scholarship for the last four years.

After what turned out to be the last play, when the Marquette player (who was it?) got clobbered shooting a 3-pointer, I am impressed that Buzz Williams didn\’t get thrown out of the game.  If I were the coach, I would have tried to set fire to one of the refs at that point.  Not that it mattered, but it\’s pretty clear the refs had decided the game was over.

2.  I also spent a decent amount of time watching the Wisconsin high school boy\’s basketball tournament, eventually won by Madison Memorial.  Perhaps this is just another sign of my cultural detachment, but I was a little shocked at how many of the players on both teams in the championship game had tattoos.  It\’s easy to lose track when you watch so much basketball, but these kids are in high school.  One player on Memorial, Vander Blue (a future Wisconsin Badger) is completely inked up on his left shoulder – and he\’s a junior.  He probably got it when he was 15 or 16 years old.  (Blue threw down a filthy dunk over some poor kid in the semifinal game, which I wish I had video of.)

I had some vague recollection of the state law setting an age limit for tattoos, so I looked it up.  According to state statute 948.70(2), \”any person who tattoos or offers to tattoo a child (in this case, anyone under the age of 18)  is subject to a Class D forfeiture.\”  So, if you\’re caught tattooing a 13 year old, you have to pay 200 bucks.  It seems there would be an exception for parental consent, but that particular statute only allows for the tattooing of a child by a physician.

Of course, at no point in Mr. Blue\’s young life has anyone explained to him what a terrible idea it is to get a full-arm tattoo at age 15.  I generally want to forget everything that happened to me in high school – yet he\’s going to carry around whatever this is on his arm for the rest of his life.  Same goes for all the kids in that game that were tatted up.  It just seems that we, as adults, are now afraid to tell kids that what they\’re doing is wrong.  So now Vander Blue gets to walk around with a proud testament to his ignorance on his shoulder.

3.  If you watch enough of the high school tournament, you quickly realize that the whole thing is funded by WEAC, the state\’s teachers\’ union.  This would be the same union kicking and screaming that they don\’t have enough money to adequately educate kids – that their teachers have to buy their own pencils, rulers, and whatnot.

Could there possibly be a bigger waste of money than advertising for the state teachers\’ union?  It\’s not like they\’re trying to get people to buy toothpaste or workout videos or anything.  They already have a virtual monopoly on education in the state – it\’s not like people are going to see these commercials and say, \”whoa – sign my kid up for a public education!\”

But whether your kid goes to a public school or not, you\’re paying for these ads.  The money goes from your pocket to the government, which pays the teachers, who are forced to pay union dues, to WEAC, who then puts ads on TV trying to convince you that  they need more of your money.  It\’s the governmental circle of life.

4.  Bo Ryan is one of the 5 best coaches in NCAA basketball.  The results he wrings out of the talent he has is astounding.


  1. I don’t get the advertising either but don’t just hate on WEAC, how about all the utilities that buy tons of advertising at sporting events. Last time I checked WE, Alliant, WPS and MG&E are all monopoly’s. So who are they advertising to you either are in there territory or your not, unless you are going off the grid you need them.

  2. Mr. Pelican Pants

    March 23, 2009 at 1:41 pm

    All I can say is that Chris Webber can finally die with a clear conscious now that Hayward’s fancy footwork has outshined his “calling time out with no timeouts left” debacle in 1993.

    Webber should have had to pay back his scholarship, as four years at Michigan failed to teach him that 1 minus 1 equals zero – but I digress.

  3. Mr. Pelican Pants

    March 23, 2009 at 1:43 pm

    One more thing: if it is true what you say about Coach Ryan, then the Big 10 should be on notice for the next rising star at UW: J.P. Gravinski.

  4. I’ll go w/ two upsets in the Round of 16:

    Pur over UConn
    Mizzou over Memphis

    Hey, your guy Calhoun has had an awesome career but I think your Irish liver story has proven to be true. How many times has the team doc put Jimmy on the pines over the years? It’s happened more than a few.

    Also, take a look at the coaches left on the 16 teams. With chalk coming through, it’s pretty close to being the top-name coaches around. The only exception is the anonymous Arizona guy. Can anyone name him w/o web-searching? I certainly can’t.

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