Ohhhhh... [hi] Ohhhhh.... Tough Luck on the Road as Milwaukee Drops Two and Falls to #2

Well, more objective Milwaukee Panther fans than myself saw this coming. They knew that Youngstown State is no pushover this season (we are now currently tied with YSU- yes that YSU for 2nd place in conference at 6-3).

Many knew with our (until these past two games*) superhuman 3pt defense that something had to give at some point- especially against a team that shoots the 3 better than anyone else in conference. They also knew that Cleveland State, if we failed to show up, had the potential to knock us out of the park on a good night.

Slocum has done a grade A job turning around the Youngstown program this season- so far.

I applaud the hoop fan vets, number crunchers and skeptics alike who all know how hard the road is in any conference and no matter who you are playing. I graciously admit: you were right. But this is a long season. And 3 League losses are nothing to fret about just yet. If they start to pile up and reach say, 7... well, then we're pretty much destined for a hope and a prayer of a 4 game Horizon League Tourney Championship.

I promise to never phone it in like this again, but going back and looking at the box scores and recaps and re-living those two losses (one, totally winnable @ YSU, and the other, a total blowout @ CSU just as CSU did unto us at our place last season)  is not something I am interested in.

It hasn't been like this in the past on this blog- I've man'd up and tried to give an interesting (or at least unique) picture of what happened or what went wrong- when, how, why... etc. when we've had a tough road trip- these things happen all the time in all sports. I just want to look forward to Thursday night and not look back at last weekend in Ohio. That was a Rick Perry "oops, I stepped in it" kinda weekend...

Remember this? How can you not. Expect 90% less drama/excitement, but Thurs. is our test.

It's all a buncha hooey now. Forget about these past two. Go to PantherU.com or ESPN if you want a recap and the final scores and stat analysis. Low and behold, the mighty Journal-Sentinel no longer allows people to read articles unless you pay them money, I do believe.

I think you can read 20 articles a month... but with all the back-handed "respect" they've shown us, I encourage you to find other, free-er media outlets- ESPN.com, PantherU.com, uwmpanthers.com, horizonleague.com are all great sites for substantive Horizon Hoops info (this place too! Just not when I'm too bummed out to write an article about the actual game(s)... (hey! it's free- don't criticize my emotions!!))

Gary Waters is also a great coach. But Coach W, calm down with the Pearl-esque bombast..

In any case... we have a huge opportunity Thursday night as we host Butler, who, if you've been paying attention, is starting to catch fire just at the right time (conference). They may not will not be National Runner-Ups for the third year in a row (not with their '11-'12 team, sorry Dawgs).

They are a talented bunch once their offense starts clicking, but I don't see them doing much in the Dance if they were fortunate enough to dash everyone else in the Horizon's hopes (yet again) and be our League's sole representative (gotta do something about that 1-bid thing Horizon teams- let's all challenge ourselves more in non-con).

But that doesn't mean they aren't riding a (conference-induced) confidence high and seeking to do as much damage as possible in the Horizon and (like us) pin their hopes on just winning the HLT and punching a ticket to the Big One.

Stevens turned down Phil Knight (Nike/OU Ducks) for 2+ million per to stay at BU. 'Says lots.
But ahead of myself- he's an Indiana man; let's see what happens if Indiana rings cell..

We've won 8 of the last 12 games against Butler that were played in Milwaukee. Let's make that 9 of the last 13. Very few games have perfect box scores for the victor, but the victor is virtually always the team who "finds a way to win" (yes, this is Cliche Day here at MPT). But seriously folks- Let's Just Win.

Thursday night at 7pm down at the Cell. Alumni get in for $5 and all attendees get a free Panther camouflage hat. More importantly, this game is being played in honor of our brave and selfless U.S. Military (active duty and veterans), who, with a Military ID, get in for a single green back ($1). Hope some people can get out there and watch us make some noise and turn this ship toward smoother seas.

OUR COACH, will get us back on track at home and on the roads that lie ahead...

*we'll get it back. We'll get that perimeter D back, we'll shoot at least 60% (sad to say that is what our expectations are- but we cannot afford shoot any less than that from here on out..) on a  consistent basis from the stripe, and we will get our offense back together (it has NOT been that bad this season despite what these past two Forgettables would lead you to believe... We will- in a pair of words- BE BACK.