The Olympics are coming!! The Games begin one month from today, on February 11, in Italy. I'm getting stoked. Yesterday, NBC announced their extensive coverage schedule, which includes over 400 hours of programming on a number of different channels. NBC will use cable networks CNBC, MSNBC, and USA to televise events live during the day, while NBC will carry extensive tape-delay coverage in primetime. I think my favorite days of NBC coverage will be February 12, 15, 18, and 25, for those days aren't scheduled to feature any figure skating. NBC says all 54 men's and women's hockey games will air live somewhere, which is awesome, though it seems to me that it will cause a direct hit in my productivity, especially if the US entries play well.
Just go, Reggie. I'm sure the taste of last week's Rose Bowl loss to
Wisconsin is winning again. I'm sure he'll get some accolades at some point, but it's amazing to me how Bo Ryan has done what he has done at Wisconsin without really getting any national media publicity. He's not even in the top tier of coaches in the Big Ten when you look at how they're thought of around the country. Despite losing a number of key contributors from last year's Elite Eight run, Bucky is off to a 13-2 start (3-0 in the Big Ten) after holding off Minnesota 64-62 Tuesday night in Minneapolis. The Badgers gave North Carolina a major scare in their regional final in Syracuse last year, but were written off by most after losing Mike Wilkinson and Clayton Hansen, among others. Once again, though, the Badgers have successfully retooled. With Alando Tucker and Brian Butch inside, along with Kammron Taylor outside, the Badgers are scoring more effectively than they did a year ago, and the defense hasn't wavered one bit. With Ohio State next week and more tough Big Ten games looming, now isn't the time to proclaim the Badgers as a serious candidate for a number one regional seed when the NCAA Tournament comes calling in March. That time, though, could be coming in the next month. With how they are scoring (76.4 PPG), this might be the most dangerous Wisconsin team Bo Ryan has coached.
Speaking of the Big Ten...The Gophers are behind the eight ball after the Bucky loss. Minnesota is 0-2 in the Big Ten. Realistically, the Gophers are going to need to pull an upset or two if they want to get back to the NCAA Tournament. Minnesota, again, has zero non-conference wins to lean on. They need to make their case now. They need to win the rest of their league home games (Michigan, Michigan State, Iowa, Purdue, Indiana, Illinois), and steal at least three road games. That would get them to eight conference wins and 17 overall wins. That might be good enough to get them in the Dance as long as they win at least once in the Big Ten Tournament. For Minnesota, the magic number is nine. They need a total of at least nine conference wins (including in the league tournament) to give themselves a real shot at making the Field of 65.
Coming later this week...College hockey weekend preview, plus a look at the NFL Divisional Playoff games. Do I have the guts to pick Carolina over Chicago? Stay tuned.