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Etc.: Snow ball
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While contemplating the difference between “great defense” and “dull to watch” in Super Bowl 50, I also thought …

How to avoid shoveling snow: The last week in Platteville went like this:

Feb. 2: Platteville receives 4 inches of snow.

Thursday: Platteville police send a Nixle alert that the snow shoveling contractor will be out Friday morning … unless it snows.

Late Thursday: Snow falls.

Friday: Police send a Nixle alert that the snow shoveling contractor will be out Monday morning … unless it snows.

Sunday night: Snow falls.

City ordinances, remember, require snow to be removed within 36 hours of the end of snowfall. I don’t walk a child to Westview Elementary School anymore, but I’d be willing to bet that there are sidewalks in the city that haven’t been touched by snow shovel or snowblower since the Groundhog Day snow/rain. That is contrary to the spirit of the city ordinance that requires that property owners remove snow from their sidewalks so that people don’t risk life and limb walking.

Maybe the 36-hour limit needs to be reduced to 24 hours. Perhaps, as was the case with one of the two bidders for the snow removal contract, the city should tell the contractor to remove snow whichever day of the week the contractor wishes to work.

Two halves vs. four quarters: I have now seen enough high school basketball to conclude that the two-half change should be rescinded after this season, for reasons one may not have noticed.

Going from quarters to halves eliminated two stoppages in play, which are two teaching situations for coaches. (The WIAA didn’t add timeouts; teams still get the three full timeouts and the two 30-second timeouts as in past seasons.) Unrelated to basketball is that eliminating quarters also eliminated opportunities for other extracurricular activities — pep bands and cheerleaders and stunt teams — to perform. The former is an academic activity, and the latter is an activity covered by a school’s activities code just as athletics. I’ve seen enough bands not bother to play at the half, given the time between pregame and halftime, to see that as an unintended consequence of two halves of basketball.

I’ve also seen enough women’s basketball to know I would like to see men’s basketball also go to four-minute quarters, with one change from the current women’s rules. The NCAA should switch its bonus rule from five fouls per women’s quarter to the old rule of seven fouls per half, because the new bonus rule eliminates one-and-one free throw opportunities and, well, free throw shooting is a lost art for many teams, except for UW–Platteville’s men, which are leading NCAA’s Division III at 81.5 percent from the line, second only to Division II Nebraska–Kearney by 0.1 percent.

If you have not seen UW–Platteville play this year, you must take advantage of the remaining opportunities. The men, which beat Whitewater in overtime (overtime number six I have seen this season, by the way), hosted the Warhawks tonight, and will host Stevens Point, which beat Platteville on a buzzer-beating three-pointer, next Wednesday, before their regular-season finale against Stout. The women have one more home game left, against River Falls Saturday night.

Both teams are in contention for WIAC tournament berths in a seriously crazy season, particularly on the men’s side. La Crosse, which was picked for seventh in the preseason poll, is leading the WIAC by one game ahead of River Falls and Eau Claire, which were picked for fourth and sixth, respectively. Platteville is tied for fifth with Stevens Point and Whitewater, which were picked for, respectively, first and second. The women, meanwhile, are one game behind Stout for sixth place and the last WIAC tournament berth. 

The march of tiiiiiimmmmmeeee! Another sign of my advancing age came Thursday night, when Platteville played Dodgeville. I wrote previously that I covered West Grant’s Bart Nies, father of Platteville’s Braden Nies, last century. Dodgeville has a sophomore, Bryce Prochaska, son of Iowa–Grant’s Dan Prochaska, who played on the same IG team as my daughter’s former teacher’s husband, Greg Slack, and Greg Gard, last seen standing on the home sidelines at the Kohl Center in Madison. 

Meanwhile, Gard’s Badgers are celebrating Black History Month by wearing throwback uniforms from 1976, when UW hired Bill Cofield, the Big Ten Conference’s first black head basketball coach. Cofield brought an assistant coach named William Ryan, though everyone called him Bo. Ryan stayed on as an assistant after Cofield resigned, UW–Eau Claire’s Ken Anderson was hired then quit after three days, and Ball State’s Steve Yoder was hired. Two years later, former UW assistant football coach George Chryst, now UW–Platteville athletic director, hired Ryan. I’d add who George’s son is now, but you know that.