By Drew Olson Special to Published Mar 23, 2009 at 8:06 AM

There is no joy in Mudville and, as of yesterday, no college basketball in Wisconsin.

Marquette and Wisconsin both exited the stage at Taco Bell Arena, breaking hearts and brackets across the land while making sports fans look forward to the start of the Brewers' regular season.

In honor of the Sweet 16 (or the Bitter 16), here are 16 random observations from a Sunday on the sofa:

1. Toward the end of the Marquette game, one may have sensed that "Lazar Hayward hasn't done much today. Maybe we'll hear from him soon..." Instead of hitting a big shot or grabbing a huge rebound, as he did so often for the Golden Eagles this year, the junior forward committed a miscue for the ages by stepping on the end-line while attempting an inbounds pass. It's interesting that players at just about every level of basketball have become nonchalant about getting both feet out of bounds after a made basket. Hayward lost his balance and Marquette lost a chance to tie or win the game. Here's hoping that Hayward won't be haunted by that play. He's an outstanding player and will be "the guy" for the Golden Eagles next season. Anybody who pegs the loss on his misstep should go back and watch the possession when MU committed a shot-clock violation without getting the ball to Jerel McNeal or Wes Matthews.

2. It appeared that Hayward and Matthews got tangled up on J.T. Tiller's drive to the hoop. Speaking of Tiller...

3. Marquette fans are howling over the fact that Tiller was unable to shoot his free throws, which freshman Kim English drained, but checked back into the game immediately to play defense. Tiller has been nursing a fractured wrist for several weeks. Though the sequence may have seemed "shady," the Tigers didn't do anything against the rules. Tiller entered the game as 75.9 percent free throw shooter. English entered as a 68.0 percent free throw shooter, but was having the game of his life (15 points in about 5 minutes of the first half). Rather than asking "Why did English shoot the free throws?" we should ask "Why did he spend so much of the second half on the bench?" or "How did Marquette cool him off?" 

4. Dominic James' unexpected return from a foot injury may have provided a mental boost for the Golden Eagles (and fans who got the good news Sunday morning), but the senior didn't have a big impact on the court. Sure, he spelled Maurice Acker but James looked tentative and rusty with the ball and the offense flowed more freely without him.

5. Outside of the two Marquette games, the Wisconsin-Florida State game Friday night and the Siena-Ohio State double-overtime affair that run concurrently, there haven't been a lot of spine-tingling moments or major upsets in this tournament.

6. The most breathtaking moments of the first weekend came when CBS switched away from one tense game to show another. Maybe the network needs to stagger the starting times, show highlights on tape or bring back the split-screen.

7. After beating Florida State on Friday night, the Badgers were playing with "house money" on Sunday. Sure, it would have been neat to see them in the Sweet 16. But, they were lucky to make the field of 64 in the first place.

8. The Badgers (20-13) made 29 percent of their shots (16 for 56) and just three of 20 three-point attempts.

9. It might be a tough economy, but don't you think more companies would have wanted to expose their products to a massive hoops-crazed audience? Clever though they are, how sick are you of the Buffalo Wild Wings ("Send this game into overtime") and AT&T (Dad goes on business trip with a stuffed animal) commercials?

10. Jerel McNeal may or may not play for an NBA team next season, but he is one tough hombre. The guy scored 30 points in defeat and was fearless driving the ball to the hoop against taller defenders.

11. For the fifth straight year, all four No. 1 seeds advanced to the Sweet 16. All the No. 2s and No. 3s also advanced, along with two of the No. 4 seeds (Wake Forest and Washington did not).

12. Missouri fans may have had ugly flashbacks Sunday. In 1995, UCLA guard Tyus Edney took the ball with 4.8 seconds left and went coast-to-coast to sink a game-winning layup against the Tigers. The game also was played in Boise.

13. You have to like the way Buzz Williams sticks up for his players. But, you also had reason to be worried at the end of the game Sunday, particularly when he bumped a referee.

14. It's natural for folks to feel badly for Marquette's departing seniors - James, McNeal, Wes Matthews and Dwight Burke. But, the Badgers are losing Marcus Landry and Joe Krabbenhoft. You can make a case that they accomplished more - in terms of victories, conference titles and tournament success - than their Marquette counterparts.

15. Krabbenhoft's final game - zero points and two rebounds in 21 minutes before fouling out - had to be a crushing disappointment for a player who has meant so much to the program.

16. The biggest upset of March Madness happened in the women's tournament. Ball State beat Tennessee, 71-55, handing the two-time defending champion Volunteers their first first-round loss. Tennessee had never lost in the first or second round.


Drew Olson Special to

Host of “The Drew Olson Show,” which airs 1-3 p.m. weekdays on The Big 902. Sidekick on “The Mike Heller Show,” airing weekdays on The Big 920 and a statewide network including stations in Madison, Appleton and Wausau. Co-author of Bill Schroeder’s “If These Walls Could Talk: Milwaukee Brewers” on Triumph Books. Co-host of “Big 12 Sports Saturday,” which airs Saturdays during football season on WISN-12. Former senior editor at Former reporter at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.