28 Points – Frank “Wassily” Kaminsky

Points - Kandinsy

Points – Kandinsy

I had Arizona advancing to the Final Four, not Wisconsin.  In fact, I had the Badgers losing to Creighton (Barrel) in the Sweet 16.  When I made my picks for the West region, I did so without having seen any of the teams play during the regular season.  So I went by hunch and history.  The last time Wisconsin won a championship was in 1941, when the field was just 8 teams, one of the 8 included Creighton. My parents were just 2 years old. 1941 was the year FDR began his third term and WWII was heating up in Europe and Africa.  The last time Wisconsin made the Final Four was the year 2000 when they danced with the eventual champion Michigan State, runner up Florida and North Carolina.

Had I known just how good a team Wisconsin had, I might have picked them to take the crown this year.  They exemplify what it means to be a team – great passing, solid defense, consistent shooting and dominant center play.  And DOMINANT is the word to describe 7’0 Wisconsin center Frank Kaminsky, the Junior from Lisle, (the crocodile) Illinois, a Western suburb of Chicago.  And he was the difference maker with points, and lots of them, in Wisconsin’s OT victory over Arizona, a victory that provoked riots where the streets have no name in Arizona.

When I first heard the name Kaminsky, I thought it was Kandinsky.  I was thinking that it was kind of neat that Wisconsin had a player who might be the great grandson of the Russian painter, Kandinsky. I remember as a young lad, not much older than Frank Kaminsky himself, I visited NYC for the first time and went to the Guggenheim Museum to pay tribute to its architect, Frank Lloyd Wright. While I was impressed with the odd building that looked like something Sun Ra might have designed, a cross between a parking garage and a concrete UFO, I was equally impressed with the Kandinsky exhibit.  I remember buying a postcard of one his works and posting it on the wall of my off campus apartment in Fayetteville, Arkansas.  One of his most interesting works, “Points”, is an apt description of Frank Kaminsky’s contribution in last night’s victory – 28 to be exact – after which he was named the West Region’s MVP.

Wisconsin Once Blue Now Red?

Wisconsin is a blue state, right?  The beer and cheese state whose official motto is “forward” which is the same as President Obama’s campaign slogan should be a blue state.  Wisconsin voted Democrat in the last three presidential elections and gave then Senator Obama a 13.9% margin of victory in 2008, although it should be pointed out that in  2004 and 2000, Kerry and Gore narrowly won the state.  Obama turned it true blue.  But it’s a toss up state now.  The latest polls give the President a slight edge in the badger state.  What happened?

For one, Governor Scott  Walker who gave the unions a crushing blow has become a national figure and hero to the anti-union “right to work” proponents.  Secondly, as you no doubt must be aware, Congressman Ryan hails from Wisconsin.  With their high profile status in the GOP, it should come as no surprise that Romney has gained support in the state.

But can Ryan deliver the state?  If he can’t, that should tell you something about his leadership.  After all, two of the weakest VP running mates in the history of elections, Sarah Palin and Dan Quayle successfully delivered their home states to McCain and Bush the Elder respectively.

Here’s my prediction.  If the Brewers finish the season above .500 and the Packers and the Wisconsin Badgers have a winning record by election day, and campaign workers provide free beer and cheese samples to voters, maybe some Old Milwaukee’s Best and Swiss, the GOP has a shot of Winning Wisconsin.   They do.