'The Voice' with Matt Lepay

Thanks again to my wife Linda for handling last week's blog. She truly enjoys having fun at my expense, and as the saying goes, the best stories are the true stories.  I can debate nothing she wrote about last week.

Back to the task at hand.  Life in a suitcase continues as Bo Ryan's Badgers hit the road for a Wednesday game at Northwestern, followed by a Saturday night tilt in Columbus against Ohio State.  This is quite a stretch for Wisconsin, with four of five games on the road.  It certainly makes last Saturday's home victory against Purdue even bigger.

Thumbnail image for the_voice.jpgIn fact, while no doubt fans will forever remember the win against Duke, you could argue what happened three days ago is more important. The Boilermakers came to town ranked fourth in the nation (Duke was sixth), and I believe if given the choice, the Badgers' head coach will always prefer a conference victory.

The head coach also knows his team has its work cut out for it this week.  The Wisconsin-Northwestern series has been a nice little rivalry, with the teams splitting the last 10 meetings in Evanston.

Last year's matchup was all about hot shooting. The Badgers hit nearly 53 percent of their shots from the floor, but the Wildcats trumped them, knocking down 57 percent in a 66-63 victory. That game was just a few weeks after Wisconsin trounced Northwestern at the Kohl Center by 29 points. After that game, a member of Northwestern's travelling party walked by and said to me "Well, at least nobody died." Indeed, the Cats proved they were alive and well.

They remain alive and well. Coach Bill Carmody's team has done a terrific job, despite losing All-Big Ten candidate Kevin Coble, as well as Jeff Ryan to season-ending injuries. The Wildcats just keep plugging away, coming back from a 17-point deficit on Sunday to stun Michigan in Ann Arbor.

John Shurna has been a key player for the Cats, but remember the name Drew Crawford. The freshman, whose father, Danny, is a veteran NBA official, can light it up.  He dropped 25 points on the Wolverines, hitting four of five from three-point range to spark the rally.

On Saturday the Badgers have their rematch with the Buckeyes, with Evan Turner back in the lineup. When he was injured in early December, the belief was Turner would be out eight weeks. Turns out that was a worst-case scenario as he returned last Wednesday, a little more than one month after hurting his back.

After Wisconsin's New Year's Eve victory, OSU coach Thad Matta told his players they were punked. My guess is round two will be a much tougher match.

Last week certainly was interesting in the Big Ten, with three teams coming back from double-digit deficits to win on the road. As mentioned, Northwestern turned the trick against Michigan. The Wolverines did the same thing to Penn State, rallying from 15 down at the half to beat the Nittany Lions.

On Saturday night in Bloomington, Illinois spotted Indiana a 15-point lead, then came from behind to beat the Hoosiers by six.
ON WISCONSIN