Varsity is the free Official Digital Magazine of Wisconsin Athletics, covering Badgers football, basketball, hockey and more each week.
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BEHIND THE DESK B A R RY A LVA R EZ • UW DIREC TOR OF AT H L ET IC S Badgers making us proud on the court I thought our guys really played well at the Big Ten Tournament. It's obvious that we've gotten so much better as a team to be able to compete at the level that we did this past weekend. That was a helluva stretch — three top-10 ranked opponents in three days. To beat Michigan on Friday and to turn around the next day and beat Indiana was quite an accomplishment. We out-toughed them and we outplayed them down the stretch in both games. We did what we had to do to win. I was really proud of our guys. After those two grinders, neither team had their legs in Sunday's title game, particularly late in the second half. Ohio State's bigs were a little heftier and stronger and that gave them the edge. I love watching Sam Dekker play. I love the look in his eye. He's got the eye of the tiger. He loves to compete. He's not intimidated by anyone. He's not bashful about putting it up or taking the ball to the hoop. Overall, it was a great tournament. There were some really good games in Chicago. Everyone felt going in that we were the best league in the country and I can't disagree with that after what I saw. I liked the atmosphere in the United Center. The quality of the teams and the change of venue — with three or four more thousand people attending and the sellouts — 18 » VARSITY MAR CH 21, 2013 probably contributed to that. People were excited to get the tournament back to Chicago. I realize that it's not as accessible for fans as staying in a hotel in downtown Indianapolis and walking to the games. But both places have their strengths and do an excellent job with the tournament. Chicago should have a chance to host. So should Indianapolis. It's smart to move it around. We met as athletic directors in Chicago last week. We talked a little bit more and are getting closer to making a recommendation to the presidents on the divisional split. We're also getting closer to finalizing our schedules — if we go to nine league games and when we'd go to nine games. We're discussing many of the same things and we're getting the same feedback. It reinforces that what we're talking about is consistent with what everyone thinks. I thought 10 league games was the answer until you start thinking about how you're going to get seven home games. After our meetings Thursday morning, I went to the United Center and watched all the games. I like watching athletes compete. I like watching the personalities of the coaches, too. I won't be flying to Kansas City until Friday because I've got Tom Osborne coming to town. We're involved in an event Thursday as part of the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association clinic. It's modeled after the Legends presentation at the national convention. We'll be on stage together for about an hour and take questions from a commentator and the crowd. We'll have more than 3,000 high school coaches in Madison along with about 200 vendors. I think there's only one bigger clinic in the country and that's in Texas. This is a great opportunity for Gary Andersen and his staff to build relationships. Gary will get to visit with some of the strongest coaches in the state and former leaders who are still closely affiliated. On Friday night, there will be a "state of the state'' presentation. We started that way back when. There will be video highlights of every kid on our football team from the state of Wisconsin. We'll flash the kid's name and picture on the screen – along with where he's from – and we'll thank his high school coaches and show some clips of him playing for the Badgers. If he's a scout team guy, we'll show clips of him in practice. These high school coaches deserve a little recognition; they want to be acknowledged. Consequently we've supported them over the years and we haven't lost many kids to other programs. It should be a big weekend in Madison, and Kansas City. I like March Madness.