Get inside March Madness with SI.com's Luke Winn in the Tourney Blog, a daily journal of college basketball commentary, on-site reporting and reader-driven discussions.
3/16/2007 06:20:00 PM
Snow in Buffalo, Songs In Wisconsin
Chris "Big Greasy" Daniels (right) nearly stuffed Michael Flowers out of the dance.
Jonathan Daniels/Getty Images
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- It's snowing like mad here in Western New York, where I'm cooped up in a hotel room, listening to the Metro Rail trains ring their bells on the street below and wondering if there's any chance I'll actually be able to fly to Chicago on Sunday.
Texas A&M Corpus-Christi, regrettably, won't be around if I do get to the United Center. The Islanders just let a Santa Clara-level upset slip through their hands -- as bad as Wisconsin looked today, it was once the nation's No. 1 team -- and I can't help but wonder what might have been. The nation would have fallen in love with the awkward acronym (TAMU-CC). How could it not embrace a squad that, among other things:
• Wears durasheen jerseys that look like cheap knockoffs of the original Minnesota Timberwolves duds. • Didn't have a logo or athletic program as of 1998. • Has a tiny pep band wearing hilarious Hawaiian shirts. • Calls an ex-Naval radar station in the Gulf of Mexico home. • Has a starter named Scooby. • Has a star center whose nickname is Big Greasy, and enjoys Whataburgers.
Instead, the team still standing is Wisconsin, which may seem less intriguing on the surface but does have a number of redeeming qualities. I spent 12 hours behind the scenes with the Badgers in February and learned, among other things, that Kammron Taylor is a solid amateur magician, Alando Tucker raps Lil' Wayne on the otherwise-silent bus to games, and they are very fond of barking.
Wisconsin has also inspired more hilarious musical tributes than any other team in the country. The Alando Tucker song -- a knockoff of ABBA's Fernando -- originated from WOLX in Madison and gained some Internet fame after we linked it up and customized an ABBA greatest hits cover in the SI.com Power Rankings. That image popped up everywhere, and no one ever asked me for the rights.
The popularity of the Tucker song, I think, led Badger State singer-songwriter Peter Leidy to send the blog an exclusive mp3 of his new track Mr. Bo Ryan. It's an ode to the UW coach set to the tune of Jerry Jeff Walker's Mr. Bojangles that Leidy originally performed on Wisconsin Public Television.
I believe you will find this verse particularly amazing (it's best listened to while simultaneously reading Rick Reilly's column on the Badgers' skipper):
You work hard, you play to win but you keep it fair in every game You're not the kind of guy who'd commit perjury or expose Valerie Plame The players keep us excited and they've never been indicted We respect you for that, yeah yeah
That's Bo Ryan, folks. His team may be prone to 19-point first halves, but he'd never rat out a CIA agent.