Sunday, December 31, 2006

Capital One Bowl

Tomorrow's matchup between Wisconsin and Arkansas could prove to be an interesting one. Wisconsin managed to hold two good run teams to minimum yardage (Michigan and Penn State)
Despite being a theif, Jack Ikegwuonu has proved himself at DB. Joe Thomas should give the Arkansas Dline fits and allow P.J. Hill room to run. We shall have to wait and see whick McFadden shows up to play. UW also needs to remember that the Hogs have used McFadden as an effective QB (3 passing TDs) as well as a receiver. Stopping the run game isn't the only thing we need to watch out for.

Part of me feels like we should be nervous for this game, but I'm just not there yet. I was much more nervous about the Auburn team we meet last year. At the time, I feel Wisconsin was a weaker team than the one that will hit the field tomorrow and Auburn and Kenny Irons were a better team then the Hogs we're supposed to see tomorrow.

That being said, I'm not looking past this game. As with the rest of the season, special teams will play a big part in the game. If we can't get our guys to hold on to the ball or provide some decent coverage, Arkansas could be starting with crazy good field position all day long. I know we can win this game if we keep them on a long field, but putting our defense on the field over and over and giving McFadden short yardage to go could prove to make things very difficult for the Badgers.

Finally, I'm super excited to see Arkansas punter Jacob Skinner as much as humanly possible during tomorrow's game. Not only will it mean that we're holding their offense, but I can't get enough of that kid's yoga/martial arts/whatever you want to call it lining up. Makes me happy!

Some of the salient points of the bowls picks: - Arkansas 24, Wisconsin 20

"Interesting matchup of the nation's best sophomore running back (Razorbacks' Darren McFadden) against the nation's best freshman running back (Badgers' P.J. Hill). Hogs are in trouble if they have to throw, but Wisconsin remains an unconvincing 11-1."
- Wisconsin 24, Arkansas 21 This is a huge write-up and well worth the full read.

"While Arkansas is a known commodity -- a big-game-tested, run-happy power from the nation's toughest conference -- the jury is still out on Wisconsin. The Badgers finished 11-1 but played only one ranked team, Michigan (losing 27-17), and coasted through a non-conference cakewalk of Bowling Green, Western Illinois, San Diego State and Buffalo. Will Wisconsin not be ready for prime time, or will it deliver an inspired performance to prove its doubters wrong? I favor the latter. The Capital One is more of a consolation prize for the Razorbacks, who had the Sugar Bowl in their clutches, whereas for the Badgers, it's their one and only chance to validate their status among the national elite."

Stewart Mandel - Wisconsin 30, Arkansas 28

"Bret Bielema was an accomplished defensive coordinator at Kansas State and Wisconsin. The 36-year-old had the smarts to lead his team to an 11-1 record in his first season as a head coach. He's probably figured this out by now, but just in case, a helpful hint: MAKE ARKANSAS PASS."

SI On Campus - Arkansas -
multiple people pick, the number next to the pick is their confidence level. The higher the number, the more confidence they have

UW (21)

AR (3)

UW (22)

AR (6)

UW (7)
has a chart, with 3 of 5, including the computer, picking Wisconsin

JaMarcus Russell - legitimate QB

This is a pretty nice writeup from about JaMarcus Russell and his rising stock. Basically, a good performance in the Sugar Bowl could mean he'll be the #2 QB taken (Before Heisman Winner Troy Smith) - IF he decides to come out early

From infant to toddler

Or Happy First Birthday Cute Sports!

I'm actually two days late on this. I was all on the ball with this a week or so ago, right when I got the computer and I was ready and waiting to make my one year post.

Now I totally fell behind. How bad is it when you forget your own birthday?!

But seriously, it's been a year since I started this thing and I'm not sure exactly what it is I have to show for it. I guess, technically, it turned into a paying gig, since I'm now doing the exact same thing for a local newspaper's website.

Frankly, I never really imagined anyone would read any of my ramblings and despite the fact that my content is predominately about Wisconsin sports, most of my readers reside in Alabama....

But there you go, Cute Sports is a whole year old. Here's hoping we pick up some readers and some notice in '07.

If not that, let's hope the Packers try to suck less, the Badger basketball team continues their stellar run this season, the football team is able to hold on to P.J. Hill, attempt to replace John Stocco and Joe Thomas, and basically prove to everyone that this season was no fluke of scheduling. May Marquette quietly climb their way back up the standings and cement their place among Big East elite.

And may I find a job that relates to writing or sports in some way, shape, or form....

Happy New Year everyone. Have fun, watch lots of football and be safe.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Sportsmoron of the year

The sports world never fails to bring us a nice share of idiots, dolts, morons, boneheads and dumb asses and this year was no different ....

There were the repeat offenders (calling T.O. and Mike Tyson) and new tidbits to keep us shaking our heads...

So who was the Sportsmoron of the Year?

Was it T.O. and his absolutely inept PR team for the was-it-or-wasn't-it- suicide/pill overdose?

Was it the media for the absolute overkill of Barbaro injury updates?

Was it Zinedine Zidane's headbutt of Marco Materazzi that was as unbelievable and inexplicable as it was over-the-top? Remember that this was Zidane's last ever International match. (click here for video)

What about Mike Tyson? The reasons are too numerous to mention, but we can always go with the latest arrest for DUI and felony cocaine possession in which he openly admitted he's an addict.

What about the disgruntled backup punter at Northern Colorado who stabbed the starter? (and how desperate must you be to need to stab someone to be the starter and NORTHERN COLORADO?)

What about OHCO CINCO himself, Chad Johnson and his many, many hijinks?

What about Ben Roethlisberger, with the motorcycle accident, the appendicitis and the concussions?

Could it be the Houston Texans for passing on Reggie Bush and taking Mario Williams instead?.

Now I know next to nothing about the NBA, but even I know naming Isiah Thomas as head coach is a bad idea.

Finally, a homer pick, but I'd be remiss not to put the BCS on this list, for their ridiculous rules and once again having a controversy over that NC game, not to mention Wisconsin being shafted and Notre Dame getting the Sugar Bowl. It's never good when everyone's anticipating the Rose Bowl more than the NC.

So what do we think, who wins the title of Sportsmoron of the Year?
(and did I leave any deserving folks off the list?)

Badger Hockey back in action..

This weekend the Badgers host the Badger Hockey showdown. The four team tournament features #15 Clarkson, #18 Lake Superior State and Providence. At first glance of those teams, you'd think it's a puff tournament, but with both Clarkson and LSS being ranked, this is no easy skate.

Add to that Badgers Jake Skille, Blake Geoffrion and Jaime McBain will be off representing Team USA at the 2007 IIHF World Junior Championship in Sweden, and we're talking no easy feat for the Badgers to take the crown at the our tournament, as they usually do.

The thing with these holiday tournaments these days is that any team worth their mettle hosts their own tournament, thus vastly narrowing the competitive pool. The Badger Hockey Showdown used to be fairly big and it used to take place in Milwaukee. I actually went to the Showdown once or twice in high school, when I knew nothing about hockey, just because it was a big deal and it was when we were out of school.

The tournament's back in Madison now and rarely features any recognizable hockey powerhouses. In fact, I'd call it a cakewalk most years, but clearly this year could be (embarrassingly) different.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Packer Playoff Picture

First things first, if you haven't heard, your New Year's Eve plans have gone down the tubes since the Packers kickoff time has been pushed from noon to 7:15 pm CST.

Secondly, the playoff scenario is actually clearer than it was a few days ago, but still pretty complicated. The official word from the NFL says:

1. Packers victory PLUS Giants victory PLUS GB clinches strength of victory tiebreaker over NYG

2. Packers victory PLUS Giants loss or tie PLUS Rams loss or tie

3. Packers victory PLUS Giants loss or tie PLUS Panthers victory

4. Packers victory PLUS Giants loss or tie PLUS Falcons victory

5. Packers tie PLUS Giants loss PLUS Rams loss PLUS Falcons loss or tie PLUS Panthers loss or tie

Now, the trickiest part is the tie breaker that comes into play with the Giants. According to the NFL, ALL of the following have to occur in order to clinch the tiebreaker:

Arizona wins at San Diego
Detroit wins at Dallas
Miami wins at Indianapolis
Minnesota beats St. Louis
San Francisco wins at Denver
Carolina loses at New Orleans
Houston loses to Cleveland
Tampa Bay loses to Seattle

Christmas goodies

Let's see, other than the fabulousness of the new computer, Christmas was pretty chill and only moderately sports related ....

A couple of DVD's, the best being:

Also, The Devil Wears Prada and the Disney animated version of Robin Hood, Pirates of the Caribbean 2, Capote and March of the Penguins

A Marquette sweatshirt, University of Wisconsin flip flops and UW crocs.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Mini Mexico may see time against the Jets Monday night

It appears Nick Saban and the Dolphins have officially hit rock bottom, as it's being reported that Marcus Vick is scheduled to see some time at WR Monday night.

Felicitaciones Mini Mexico!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Brewers reach agreement with Jeff Suppan

Merry Christmas Brewers fans...


Brewers reach agreement with Suppan

Christmas came a day early for the Milwaukee Brewers and Jeff Suppan.

The Brewers reached agreement Sunday with Suppan, a free-agent right-hander, on a four-year deal plus a club option. Terms of the deal were not announced but a source told the Journal Sentinel it guaranteed Suppan $42 million.

Suppan, who will be 32 on Jan. 2, has to pass a physical later in the week for the deal to be official but that is not expected to be a problem for the workhorse pitcher.

The deal is the largest in club history, surpassing the four-year, $38.5 million contract extension the Brewers gave right-hander Ben Sheets in the spring of 2005.

Have a very Houndie Christmas!

Since I'm a hound slave, I thought I'd pass on some houndie Christmas love

Merry Christmas, ya'll.

the Cute Sports clan celebrates Christmas today, so I'll be off family-ing it up. Hope everyone has a great holiday, no matter what you celebrate!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Really late post about Packers vs. Vikings 12/21/06

Since I just got the computer yesterday, I have been remiss in my posting about the Packer game that most of you didn't see on Thursday night because it was on the NFL Network.

First off, let me just say that you didn't miss much, since the final score was Packers 9, Vikings 7.

That's not to say that the Packers didn't far out-gain the Vikings, but more that we failed to capitalize in the Red Zone - at all!

Sloppy, wet conditions led to kicker Dave Rayner (a rookie) slid and fell on one attempt and knocked one off the goalpost on another attempt.

There was that one TD, but Bubba Franks, who had a nightmare of a game, was called for holding and the Ahman Green run was called back. Earlier in the game, Franks fumbled the ball at the 1/2 yard line.

Basically, Bubba Franks should be buying Dave Rayner a new house, a new car and steak dinners for life for making sure the Franks didn't hand away Thursday's game.

Why pigs suck

Even doesn't have faith in Arkansas' chance against Wisconsin in the Capital One Bowl.

(courtesy of MZONE)

We have liftoff.

I'm finally out of the dark ages and have a nice shiny new computer sitting here. So I will welcome myself back and I promise to actually post things now!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Brewers confirm they've made an offer for Suppan

from reports:

Milwaukee Brewers general manager Doug Melvin confirmed this morning that he made a four-year offer to free-agent pitcher Jeff Suppan during a meeting earlier in the week in Los Angeles with Suppan and his agent, Scott Leventhal.

That meeting was held at the home of Brewers owner Mark Attanasio, who took part in the discussions.

Melvin wouldn't reveal details of the Brewers' offer but based on the market for free-agent pitchers this winter, it probably included yearly salaries in the $10 million neighborhood.

"I feel good about our offer," said Melvin. "I'm not saying we'll get him but I feel we made a competitive offer. We'll wait to hear back from them."

Melvin, manager Ned Yost and Attanasio met for five hours Tuesday with Suppan and Leventhal at Attanasio's house in Los Angeles. Melvin then had lunch with Leventhal on Wednesday to finalize the club's offer.

"We had a good meeting," said Melvin. "Mark, Ned and I got to know Jeff a little bit. We had dinner and everything went well."

Melvin tried to convince Leventhal and Suppan that the Brewers are focused exclusively on signing the 31-year-old right-hander who pitched for St. Louis the past three seasons. Leventhal and Suppan also met with a contingent from the New York Mets, who are trying to sign left-hander Barry Zito, considered the top pitcher on the free agent market.Suppan is believed to be Plan B for the Mets if they do not sign Zito.

Melvin said he hopes to hear back from Leventhal on Friday with a response to the club's offer. But Melvin conceded that Leventhal might wait until Zito signs, which would leave Suppan as the top pitcher on the market.

"That's probably what will happen," said Melvin. "We can't do anything about that. All we can do is make what we feel is a legitimate offer and take care of things from our end."

Suppan went 12-7 with a 4.12 ERA in 32 starts for St. Louis last season. He was named most valuable player of the NLCS after holding the Mets to one run in 15 innings in his two starts.


A source familiar with the negotiations confirmed Wednesday night that Milwaukee Brewers owner Mark Attanasio and club officials met Tuesday in Los Angeles with Scott Leventhal, the representative for free agent pitcher Jeff Suppan.

Neither Attanasio, who lives and works in Los Angeles, nor general manager Doug Melvin was available for comment Wednesday night. Tyler Barnes, the club's vice president for communications, said he could not comment on whether the meeting took place.

Melvin, who originally stated his interest in Suppan last week, said on Monday he was contemplating putting an offer together for Suppan, a veteran right-hander who pitched the past three seasons for the St. Louis Cardinals.

The fact that Attanasio took part in the meeting with Leventhal indicates the Brewers are serious about signing Suppan. In all likelihood, the club made its initial offer at that meeting. reported that Suppan has two four-year offers on the table - one from the Brewers and another from an undisclosed club. That club could be Pittsburgh, which has stated strong interest in Suppan, but the San Francisco Giants, Houston Astros, Colorado Rockies, Kansas City Royals and New York Mets also are in the picture. also reported that Levanthal met in Southern California with a front-office contingent from the Mets. That group included team president Jeff Wilpon and general manager Omar Minaya.

The Mets' contingent originally traveled to California to meet with Scott Boras, the representative for left-hander Barry Zito, considered the top free agent pitcher on the market. The Mets are making a strong push to sign Zito but apparently have interest in Suppan as Plan B.
Levanthal told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch last week he didn't think Suppan would sign until Zito strikes a deal, leaving Suppan as the top pitcher on the free agent market.

Suppan, who will be 32 on Jan. 2, was 12-7 with a 4.12 ERA in 32 starts for the Cardinals last season. He allowed one run in 15 innings in two starts against the Mets in the NLCS, including the decisive Game 7, and was named most valuable player in that series.
Leventhal did not return telephone messages but is believed to be seeking a deal for at least four years for Suppan. Taking into account contracts signed by free agent pitchers Gil Meche (five years, $55 million with Kansas City) and Ted Lilly (four years, $40 million with the Chicago Cubs), Suppan probably will command a yearly salary in the neighborhood of $10 million.
The Brewers have an open spot in their starting rotation behind Ben Sheets, Chris Capuano, Dave Bush and Claudio Vargas. Suppan compiled a 44-26 record over the past three years and has averaged 203 innings per season since 1999.
Melvin said in his early discussions with Leventhal that Suppan was receptive to coming to Milwaukee.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Packers Offensive Coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski to become Boston College coach


Green Bay - Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski has been offered the head coaching job at the Boston College, and is expected to be announced as the team's head coach on Wednesday.The Boston Globe and Boston Herald both reported today that school sources indicated Jagodzinski was offered the job in the last 24 hours and the school was prepared to introduce him as successor to former Eagles coach Tom O'Brien.

Packers coach Mike McCarthy refused to confirm Jagodzinski was offered or had accepted the job. He said Jagodzinski was in the Packers' offices "all day" and would be there through the team's game Thursday night against Minnesota at Lambeau Field.

Jagodzinski, who worked on O'Brien's staff before becoming an NFL assistant with the Packers in 1999, interviewed for the position at BC last week. The other top candidate was Pittsburgh Steelers quarterbacks coach Mark Whipple, who also interviewed last week.

Jagodzinski has yet to make his committment to the school official, according to the two newspapers, but it appears it is just a formality. Neither Jagodzinski nor Packers coach Mike McCarthy were available for comment, but McCarthy has a news conference scheduled for 3:45 p.m.

If Jagodzinski leaves as expected, the Packers will be in the market for a new offensive coordinator who can continue to direct the zone blocking system Jagodzinski brought with him from the Atlanta Falcons. Jagodzinski is expected to finish out the season with the Packers, but if the team does make the playoffs he might have to take part in some recruiting calls.

Jagodzinski will also have to start assembling his staff. It's unlikely he'll take any full-time assistants from the Packers.It's unclear if McCarthy will promote from within for the offensive coordinator's position - possibly offensive line coach Joe Philbin -- or if he'll hire from outside. Philbin has experience in the zone-blocking system and has worked closely with Jagodzinski on its implementation in Green Bay.

Brewers trade Cirillo

I'm a bit late on this, but it was reported on the 11th that the Brewers traded Jeff Cirillo to the Minnesota Twins to open up some more room in the infield.

This article said that GM Doug Melvin told Cirillo that he couldn't guarantee how much actual playing time Rillo would receive.

Interesting because if he wasn't getting time on a mediocre team like the Brewers, I wonder what he'll do with the Twinkies.

In other Brewers news I missed, we did absolutely nothing at MLB meetings held at the Disney resorts earlier this month. This article reports: "We didn't necessarily get accomplished what we wanted to," said Melvin, who hoped to trade one or both of two outfielders, Kevin Mench and Geoff Jenkins, for starting pitching, before the meetings ended Thursday.
"But we got enough information to know what can and can't be done. I thought there would have been more activity but I think the problem is the free agency thing still dragged on."

Badger Basketball garnering lots of attention

Check here to see Alando Tucker named Player of the Week and Brian Butch named Five You Should Know.

Wisconsin is named team of the week.

This is a College Basketball front page story and the intro blurb said "Despite a light schedule, last week offered a lot. But even with a 47-point game, Greg Oden's homecoming and Butler doing it again, nothing could keep Wisconsin from more top billing"

Way to go, guys!

Capital Bowl "one to watch"

So I heard this on the radio this morning, but I couldn't find the link, so technically it's heresay.

But apparently MSNBC (clearly the foremost thought on College Football) broke down the whole bowl schedule into what to watch and what to merely have on as background noise, among others.

But, according to them, the top 5 bowls to watch this season are

1. The Rose Bowl - Michigan v. USC
2. The National Championship
3. The Hawaii Bowl - Hawaii v. Arizona State - likely to be a big shootout
4. The Fiesta Bowl - Oklahoma v. Boise State
5. The Capital One Bowl - Wisconsin v. Arkansas

At least we're getting some respect now.....

Monday, December 18, 2006

#7 Wisconsin 89, #2 Pitt 75

In a span of a week, the Badgers rolled over Marquette, easily downed UWM and then schooled the number 2 team in the country in Pittsburgh.

Not a bad week's work.

Thanks to their efforts, the Badgers have reached their highest ever ranking, coming in at #4 in today's just released polls.

Alando Tucker and Brian Butch had career games and put up amazing numbers.

Tucker was 10-17 on FGs with 32 points and 10 rebounds. That performance is becoming normal for Tucker, but Brian Butch put up numbers we may never see from him again in his lifetime, scoring 27 points and nabbing 11 boards.

Kammron Taylor got hot in the second half, helping UW to pull comfortably away from a Pitt team that allowed a few streaks, but mostly kept the game close in the first half.

"It was an across-the-board victory for Wisconsin, which led by as many as 18 points. The Badgers shot a higher percentage, especially from three-point range, where the Badgers were 8 for 16 (50%) and Pitt was 6 for 18 (33.3%). They out-rebounded Pittsburgh, 41-31. They got to the free-throw line a season-high 44 times, and with their 31 free throws made one more than the Panthers attempted. Wisconsin also posted more assists (14-12) and fewer turnovers (8-10)."

A Packers comeback?

Ok, I'm the first to admit that this is a mediocre team at best. But I'm also the first to defend them around the office because, well, they suck a lot less than they did last year. A LOT LESS!

Plus, it's a young, young team. If they media hype is to be believed, we're already on our way back up and in a year or two, these young guys are taking this team somewhere. One or two years of down time is nothing. Do you all remember the 80s? Do you remember "The Magic Man" Don Majikowski?

So clearly I'm a Packer optimist.

But all during yesterday's game and the subsequent local newscasts, the Packer hype was unbearable.

Doncha know that all we have to do it win out to make it to the playoffs? (This is the part where they fail to mention that to win out we have to beat Minnesota and Chicago.)

Basically, I'm sayin' don't hold your breath. And also, I'm wondering why everyone is so keen on making the playoffs. Our first round loss would be embarassing and it's really just one more week in which key players could become seriously injured. I refuse to believe that anyone is enough of a crazy, homer, optmistic Packer fan that they think we could actually get somewhere in the playoffs. In which case, what's the point?

I feel like we should be happy with the season we pulled out. It's a big step up from lest season, which everyone is so quick to forget.

Last season at this time, Favre had thrown 10 more interceptions than he has this year.

People, this has been a successful season, relatively. Let's be happy with what we have, instead of risking Charles Woodson's shoulder, among other things, against some team that will walk all over us.


Todd just said he heard Bret Bielema's name was being listed among the candidates for the Alabama job.

I know 784,687 people have been talked about for this job, but has anyone heard anything more about this rumor?

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Joe Thomas is the man

Last week he won the Outland Trophy as the nation's best interior lineman.

This week, he's named an AP All-American.

Congrats, Joe!

UW vs. UWM

Last night's game wasn't as much of a blood bath as I would have predicted, but a 19 point defeat is never a good thing.

It looks like young teams with a "just you wait" attitude are de rigeur around Wisconsin this year, as that's all the announcers could say about UWM last night. First the Packers, now the Panthers.

It will be interesting to see how the "new" UWM pans out. The team last year was still left over from Bruce Pearl. This new group are the guys that Rob Jeter recruited himself. It seems the next two years will really be setting the tone for his tenure and likely decide whether or not he has a tenure for very long.

I stopped paying complete attention to the game pretty early, so I'm not sure if the third and fourth stringers were in, but turnovers continued to be a big problem for UW. If they can't hold on to the ball against a 2-10 team, how are they going to fare this Saturday against #2 ranked Pitt?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Drrrrty South Cute Sports

I've officially harkened back to my days living in the Deep South, as I now drive a pick-up truck similar to this one.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Marquette vs. Wisconsin

There's a lot I want to say about this and I don't have much time, so don't be surprised if there are more posts on this game.

In fact, today, let's just go with quick thoughts:

* Marquette's focus on stealing the ball and playing "playground" ball really gave UW fits. UW averages a high 9 turnovers a game - in Saturday's game, they had 9 turnovers at half.

*UW can pass the ball like no other team I've ever seen live. They were squeezing passes through tight spaces and created a bunch of points based purely on being able to get the ball to the guy on the post. I was extremely impressed.

*Neither team looked particularly good and they're both lucky that the other team played sub-par as well.

*In both the Marquette games I've been to, it has seemed like Marquette is getting good looks and the ball just refuses to fall. If this continues, I'll begin to wonder about the shots their taking, but for now, it just seems absolutely unlucky.

*The refs controlled entirely too much of the game. Fortunately for the teams, the players figured it out quickly and they took advantage and I don't think you can fault them for that. I applaud the refs for wanting to keep the players in check, but they took too much control. There were dives galore and bad calls all around.

Resurgent UW Men's Hockey team

This past weekend the Badgers swept the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux 4-3, 4-2. The sweep marks the first time in program that the Badgers swept the Sioux in Grand Forks in consecutive years.

Jake Dowell and Ross Carlson really stepped up on Saturday, scoring two goals apiece. Carlson also assissted each of Dowell's goals, giving him a four point night.

The games give the Badgers a three game winning streak heading into the semester/holiday break. The boys usually perform well in the oft-padded schedule that comes with the Badger Hockey Showdown, so we could looking at a team with a legitimate winning streak heading into the new year.

CuteSports MIA

Ok, so my computer finally gave up the ghost. I'm going to try to do some posting from work, but I'm not sure how long I'll be able to that.

The most fabulous boyfriend(tm) has already let the cat out of the bag that he's getting me a computer for Christmas, so with all hope, this is a short term problem.

So never fear, you four readers, I haven't abandoned you. My computer abandoned me. But we'll get through this, I promise!

Monday, December 04, 2006

UW Men's Bball

Career Night From Flowers Lifts UW Past Winthrop

Wisconsin guard Michael Flowers scored a career-high 21 points, including the field goal that forced overtime, as the 11th-ranked Badgers beat Winthrop 82-79 Monday at the Kohl Center.

Alando Tucker also scored 21 points for Wisconsin, who survived a Kohl Center-record 15 3-pointers from the Eagles and a 31-point performance by Torrell Martin.

The Badgers (8-1) have won four in a row and improved to 4-2 in overtime games under head coach Bo Ryan. They also became the first team to score more than 73 points against Winthrop this season. The Eagles (6-3) were only allowing 56 points per game heading into tonight’s contest.

Flowers hit two free throws with 6:52 remaining in the second half to give Wisconsin a 57-46 lead. But Winthrop hit five 3-pointers down the stretch to close the gap. Michael Jenkins hit three of his five 3-pointers in the final six minutes of regulation. His third gave Winthrop a 65-63 lead with 54 seconds remaining.

Wisconsin guard Kammron Taylor missed a 3 with 33 seconds left, but the ball bounced off a Winthrop player and rolled out-of-bounds. Tucker had two open looks to tie the game, but missed. Flowers rebounded Tucker’s second attempt in the lane and scored high off the glass with his left hand to tie the game at 65-65.

Martin had a wide-open look from outside the three-point line as time expired, but his attempt bounced off the front of the rim.

Flowers hit a 3 on UW’s opening possession of overtime to give Wisconsin a two-point lead. Brian Butch hit a jumper and Tucker hit a 3 from the corner that extended the lead to 73-67 with two minutes left to play.

The Badgers led by nine with 45 seconds left and held on in the closing seconds to secure the win.

Winthrop finished 15-of-25 from 3-point range, but were outrebounded 40-18 in the contest. Wisconsin was 24-of-34 from the free-throw line to counter the Eagles’ long-range attack. Winthrop was only 6-of-10.

Martin scored the first 11 points scored by Winthrop and finished one point shy of his career high of 32 set against Liberty last season. He was 11-of-18 from the field, including 7-of-11 from beyond the arc.

Butch finished one rebound shy of his fifth career double-double. He had 17 points. Wisconsin made five of its six field goals in overtime and shot 64 percent from inside the arc. The Badgers were 6-of-25 from three-point range.

Post-Game Notes
•This was the first meeting between the two schools.
•Tonight’s attendance was 17,190 – the 59th consecutive sellout crowd at the Kohl Center.
•Winthrop is the first team to ever hit 15 3-pointers against Wisconsin. The Eagles set a new Kohl Center record and Torrell Martin tied the Kohl Center individual mark by hitting seven 3-pointers.
•Wisconsin is the first team to score more than 73 points against Winthrop this season.
•Wisconsin played overtime for the first time since Nov. 19, 2005, when UW beat Eastern Kentucky 95-89 in double overtime of the championship game of the Paradise Jam.
•Wisconsin is 4-2 in overtime under Bo Ryan
•Torrell Martin scored Winthrop’s first 11 points and had 18 in the first half. He finished with a season-high 31 points, one shy of his career high set against Liberty Feb. 20, 2006.
•UW led 34-31 at halftime, the eighth time Wisconsin has led at the half this season (nine games).
•Wisconsin scored on its first six possessions of the second half, outscoring Winthrop 12-2.
•Alando Tucker scored 10 or more points for the 31st time in his last 32 games. He’s scored 20 or more points 33 times in his career.
•Tucker recorded his 600th career field goal. He has 604 total, good for fifth all-time at Wisconsin.
•Brian Butch picked up his 300th career rebound. He has 307 for his career.
•Michael Flowers scored his 300th career point. He has 310 for his career.
•UW has won 10 consecutive games at home dating back to last season and is 79-5 at the Kohl Center since 2001.
•Wisconsin made more free throws (24) than its opponent attempted (10) for the fifth time this season.
•Wisconsin is 4-0 against teams currently in the Big South Conference.
•Winthrop has made six NCAA tournament appearances in eight seasons under head coach Gregg Marshall.

Wisconsin Head Coach Bo Ryan Post-Game Quotes

On Michael Flowers’ shot with 10.6 seconds left in regulation: “It wasn’t just that one, in order for him to get that opportunity we had to fight for the other ones. They were scrapping, we were scrapping, we get a couple offensive rebounds, one ball goes off of them last, he gets the opportunity. He’s an opportunistic young man. Plays hard, plays smart, he’s improved every year and we think he’s got a lot more improvement coming.”

On overcoming a poor shooting percentage: “I tried to say this last year at the North Dakota State game for example. We shoot 20-some percent but we get hustle opportunities. What won that game tonight, was not field goal percentage but hustle opportunities. We touched the post, off of those offensive rebounds, how many foul shots did we get? And if you can get to the line that many times by hustle … What are you going to do if the shots aren’t going down? We had some pretty good looks against that zone, then we started missing, then it compounds itself but we continued to make them have to play defense so that they didn’t get away with playing the zone, not working and then having a lot of legs down at the other end. If we’d have been taking quick, bad shots, they would have beaten us by 20. But by us being patient, changing sides of the floor, they were packing it in, taking some passing lanes away and they were doing exactly what they needed to do. And we needed to hit some outside shots if they were going to stay that tight but we still touched the post. We still attacked and that’s the only way you get to the free-throw line. I coached at other places where people are always complaining about how many free throws we shot, and the other teams are taking more jump shots than us. We touch the paint, we try to. If you touch the paint, that’s how you can get to the free throw line. But they have such good three-point shooters, they can sting. They had a couple runs where we tried to give ourselves some space, but they come right back and get them. That’s 45 points on 25 shots. That’s pretty good points per possession.”

On his expectations of Winthrop: “You can tell by the way both teams were playing, there wasn’t any lack of respect for one another. That was a hard-fought, toe-to-toe, December game that hopefully for both of us, will help us in conference play.”

Winthrop Head Coach Gregg Marshall Post-Game Quotes

On whether the loss stings more knowing Torrell Martin and Michael Jenkins combined to score 58 points: “Oh it stings. It stings. Torrell Martin, I thought, was the best player on the floor tonight. He just was terrific. Michael Jenkins really shot it beautifully. Craig Bradshaw did not play well and he knows that. He can play much better, so I mean 10 points for him in 39 minutes in not that good. He can play better. But those three guys scoring the points is insignificant. It’s just the fact that I thought we played very well, and had every right to win the game.”

On the rebound disparity: “That’s the part that we’ve got to work on. That’s the part that disappoints me the most. I’m certainly not upset with my team, but if there was anything that I could go back to change and win the game going away, we’d rebound better. We didn’t rebound well for most of the night. And our bigs have to do better. Our guards in the zone have to find guys and rebound better. But still, we will pick that apart and will coach the crap out of them when we get back. The bottom line is I’m not going to in any way, right now, diminish the effort and the poise and just the overall game that we played. And that would be something that would lend itself to some criticism, and I will certainly get into that at the appropriate time.”

On the end of the game when Wisconsin got three shots off: “We just couldn’t get a rebound. We couldn’t get a rebound and the ball hit the floor a couple times and they kept coming up with it, so a credit to them. That was a big-time effort by them and they got the shot that they needed and finally put it in the basket.”

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Florida and LSU in BCS, so we get the Hogs...

Razorbacks, Badgers to meet for first time since 1912
Associated Press
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Arkansas received a bid to the Capital One Bowl on Sunday, a day after losing the Southeastern Conference championship game 38-28 to Florida.
The No. 12 Razorbacks will face No. 6 Wisconsin on Jan. 1 in Orlando, Fla.
The Capital One Bowl has first pick among SEC teams not in a BCS bowl. Arkansas (10-3) won the SEC West this year, but there was speculation the Razorbacks could fall to the Cotton Bowl.
Instead, they were picked to play in the Capital One Bowl. Arkansas last appeared in that game in 1999, when it was still called the Citrus Bowl. The Razorbacks lost to Tom Brady and Michigan 45-31.
Arkansas has played Wisconsin (11-1) once before. The Razorbacks lost 64-7 at Wisconsin in 1912.
Arkansas hasn't played in a bowl since beating Missouri in the Independence Bowl in December 2003. The Razorbacks haven't played in a New Year's Day bowl since losing to Oklahoma in the 2002 Cotton Bowl.

Wisconsin shafted, as we all knew we would be

Ok, I've refrained from discussing Wisconsin's place in the polls and a lack of BCS bid, because, for the most part, I understand. And I'm actually not too bitter. We weren't expecting anything out of this season, so really, anything after 3 wins was a bonus.

But I do think that we got held back by a really punitive rule. I'm not sure what purpose the rule preventing more than 2 teams per conference is meant to accomplish in terms of making the BCS seem valid.

Yes, some years the SEC or the Big Ten or the Big 12 might be holding half the spots in the BCS, but if the BCS is touted as having the best teams in the land, I'm not sure how you can validate holding teams out.

How does it make sense to punish a team who's conference is exceptionally talented that year? I'm actually quite surprised that this rule hasn't become an issue before.

For that matter, if the BCS is as exhalted as they'd like us to believe, I'm unsure how there can ever be a question. Shouldn't we have 1 v. 2, 3 v. 4, 5 v. 6 and 7 v. 8? Done and done?

I'm sure this sounds like sour grapes, but really, I guess I just don't understand the point of all the voting, calculating, etc... if in the end, the final rankings do not matter.

Is Wisconsin a better team then Notre Dame? I honestly don't know. I know that they're a two loss team, including a big loss (20+ point) at home to Michigan and that near implosion at Michigan State (Michigan State!?!?)

I guess in the end I'm just disappointed because a final ranking of #7 isn't run-of-the-mill for Wisconsin. A final ranking that high should be reason to celebrate. Instead, we're heading to the ho-hum Capital One Bowl (again).

And I'm not the only one who thinks we got a little screwed on details. This Fox Sports columnist thinks so too, though he's not so articulate about it.

My new favorite team

Eat it, USC.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Go bama?

So I'm driving home from work earlier this week and it's pouring rain. I'm heading right into downtown and get cut off by this monstrosity of a big white conversion van. An ugly, ugly vehicle. I'm about to beep at this guy when I realize there are big, sparkly gothic style letters in his back back window that say "ROLL TIDE"

Stay classy, Alabama