Brew Crew Bracketology: Jungmann, Garza Cheering for Their Schools
As the NCAA Basketball Tournament gets underway, we’re all feeling a little bit of that March Madness.
And, although UW-Madison and UW-Green Bay are in the field of 68 this year, the particular “March Madness” I’m referring to in this case is baseball related.
We’re now less exactly three weeks from Brewers Baseball returning to Milwaukee and the madness has hit full tilt. We’re ready for the Boys of Summer to return from Arizona and bring back some more of that warmer weather that we got a taste of earlier this week. We’re ready for America’s Pastime done the Wisconsin way, with tailgating, Sausage Races and Bernie’s slides.
How will we cope the next few weeks? Well, we’ve got a few more Spring Training games that we can watch and listen to and in addition to that, there’s that other March Madness that I alluded to, an entertaining diversion that makes that time until Opening Day go by quicker.
Last night was Selection Sunday, kicking off March Madness, and just as many other folks across the country were filling out their brackets this morning, many players in the Clubhouse were talking basketball this morning.
Of the players that I talked to today, pitcher Taylor Jungmann is most excited for the games to start. He will be keeping a close eye on his University of Texas Longhorns during the NCAA Tournament this year. The 2011 Big 12 Conference Pitcher of the Year and 2011 Dick Howser Trophy Winner for top collegiate player in the country says that when he’s back home in the offseason, he tries to go get to as many basketball games as he can.
“I’ll be watching as much as I can. If I’m not able to watch them because all the TVs are on Wisconsin or something like that then I’m going to have to keep up on my phone,” he said.
Fellow pitcher Corey Knebel also attended the University of Texas, where he was the closer for three seasons; however, while he likes to cheer for his school, he admits he’s not much of a basketball watcher. “You’re talking to the wrong guy here. This guy’s probably pretty excited,” Knebel said, pointing at Jungmann.
“I told her she can jump on the bandwagon if she wants,” Jungmann said, talking about me. “You’re invited, Corey.” Then Jungmann turned to me and said, “I mean, Corey’s there, he’s just in the backseat not really paying attention.”
Another player that’s pretty excited for this year’s tournament is pitcher Matt Garza. Garza’s Fresno State Bulldogs are in the tournament for the first time in 15 years. Their last appearance was under Coach Jerry Tarkanian in 2001, when they lost to Michigan State in the second round.
While at Fresno State, Garza was named Most Outstanding Pitcher and Second Team All-Western Athletic Conference in 2004 and WAC Pitcher of the Year and First Team-WAC in 2005.
“My college is in it. They made it for the first time in a long time, so I’ll be following them,” Garza says.
Garza says he remembers that the last time the Bulldogs made it to the tournament, he was back in high school. “It was with guys like Chris Herren, Courtney Alexander, Chris Jefferies. I knew some of them, so it was pretty cool. It was a big thing and now it’s the first time in a long time, so I bet you back home they’re probably going nuts.”
Other players and coaches who have rooting interests with their schools in the games include: Ryan Braun (University of Miami); Chris Capuano (Duke); Chase Anderson (University of Oklahoma); Bullpen Coach Lee Tunnell (Baylor); Coach Jason Lane (University of So. California) and Manager Craig Counsell (Notre Dame). Bench Coach Pat Murphy also coached at Notre Dame and Pitching Coach Derrick Johnson coached at Vanderbilt.