Welcome to Saturday Scorecard, where we are out of salt but shovels are buy-one-get-one-half-off.
On to the notes...
Showdown Downtown: Just about everyone we know is trying to figure out which team has the edge in the Marquette-Wisconsin matchup slated for tonight at the Bradley Center. (Many are wondering whether they receive ESPNU from their local cable operator, but that's a different matter).
The best guy to ask about the teams is the only man whose team has played against both this year - UW-Milwaukee coach Rob Jeter.
"It's going to be two different styles," Jeter said. "You've got the guard play (of Marquette) versus the inside play. It's going to be a matter of what wins out. (Marquette's) guard play is very good. Wisconsin's is good, too, but there's more of an emphasis on the post area, where Marquette attacks mainly from the perimeter, but they do post up.
"Wow, that's a tough one. We lost to Marquette by 20 and Wisconsin by 20."
Asked about the rivalry, Jeter said: "It's intense. It's one of those games that could turn ugly but it never does because Bo (Ryan) is classy, Tom (Crean, the former Marquette coach) and now Buzz (Crean's successor) are classy guys, too.
"But, the rivalry is so intense with the fans that it could be one of those nasty games, yet it never turns into that. It's a heated rivalry, no doubt about that."
Our prediction: a taut game that is decided in the final 3 minutes. The referees could be a big factor. If either team gets a key player (or players) in foul trouble, that could be pivotal.
Based on what has happened to date this season: Wisconsin by 5.
Something missing: The fans -- particularly those wearing gold sweaters -- are plenty worked up about the game tonight (as evidenced by the reaction to Drew Wagner's recent blog).
Deep down, though, the players and coaches realize that this game won't make or break the season.
With Tom Crean gone, some of the bitterness in the rivalry seems to have relaxed a bit. Is that a good thing? We'll find out tonight.
In the spotlight: Look for Wes Matthews, Jr., to have a big game for Marquette. He's been outstanding so far this year and it's the Madison native's last chance to face Wisconsin.
Buck shots: The Bucks were happy with their 101-96 victory over Charlotte on Friday night at the Bradley Center.
But, they weren't too happy.
"When you play 82 games, not every game is a masterpiece," coach Scott Skiles said. "So on nights that you aren't as sharp as you'd like to be, you have to get the win It's a lot easier to look at the tape tomorrow and find the things we need to do to better. We're going to need to play a lot better just to win one game on the upcoming road trip. It's easier to do that after you win than if you had a difficult, heart-breaking loss."
Center Andrew Bogut, who drew a key charging foul from Jason Richardson in the closing minutes, was more blunt.
"We didn't deserve to win tonight," Bogut said. "The only positive that came out of tonight was we got a win in the win column. When we look at the tape, it's going to be a nightmare with the coaches. It's going to be a demoralizing hour or so in the film room, and I'm not looking forward to that. We have to learn from it and we have to move on from this game."
Said Skiles: "I want to win every game just like everybody else, but I've got to keep my eye on the specifics. Why did we have so many blown defensive coverages? Why did we have trouble concentrating after time outs? I can give you a longer list, but I'll cut it a little bit short. It's a lot easier to look at all of that and have the attention of the guys after you win a game."
Waiting game: Brewers general manager Doug Melvin expects to meet with CC Sabathia's agents early next week, but doesn't expect the big lefty to sign with a team until after the winter meetings wrap up in Las Vegas.
That could be good news for blackjack dealers.
If Sabathia continues to play the waiting game, ostensibly to get a better offer from a West Coast club, other teams and free agents will be stuck in a logjam.
That could make for a late-developing market. And, it could create downward pressure on salaries. As much as he'd love to have some big news stories spring out of a marquee event like the meetings, Commissioner Bud Selig would probably like to see owners use some discretion in these tough economic times.
Quiet, please: Speaking of the economy, it obviously is a factor in the Bucks' attendance. The team announced a crowd of 14,875 on Friday, but the turnout was considerably smaller.
Small crowds are one thing, but the Bucks' crowd also was sedate.
With just more than 5 ½ minutes left and the score tied, a timeout on the floor and a performance by the Energee! dance team was met with indifference.
Flawed system: The Big 12 and SEC Championship games will be contested today. Is anybody else bothered by the fact that both point spreads exceed double digits?
Larry King Lounge: Look for Ben Sheets to shun the Brewers' arbitration offer on Monday. It doesn't seem likely that he'll be back at Miller Park... Where do you think Derrick Frost will watch the Packers game on Sunday? ... The Bucks' red uniforms just aren't making it for me.... Will Ted and Mike feel better if Brett falters in the sub-zero weather this month?... Signing Jorge Julio was a good, low-risk move by the Brewers. Now, they just need to find four more guys like him.... Friday was a big night for the Brewers media relations department. The very capable director Mike Vassallo lived out a dream by performing at a wrestling show and his assistant, John Steinmiller, was featured on the "kiss cam" at the Bradley Center..... At times Friday, the atmosphere at the Bucks' game recalled Brewers-Expos games at Olympic Stadium in the late 1990's.
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 OnMilwaukee.com. Former reporter at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.