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November 2010 Archives

Lucas at Large: Badgers' best on display at awards show

FB_Awards_Vote.jpgUW coach Bret Bielema has his own thoughts on what might rank as the No. 1 Play of the Year. Of course, you can also voice your opinion by voting for one of the five nominated plays.

The results will be announced during Friday night's Wisconsin Football Awards Show at the Kohl Center. The event will kick off at 7:30 p.m. and it's open to the public. There's no admission.

This will be a second chance for Badger fans to celebrate a Big Ten title since the formal championship presentation on the field was scrubbed following Saturday's win at Camp Randall.

"There will be a lot of videos and interaction with our student-athletes," Bielema said of Friday's event, "which allows the fans to get access that is unprecedented anywhere else.

"They will get to see a side of our players that they don't normally see on the football field. Plus, we're holding the event in a great venue, the Kohl Center, so more fans can take part.''

The UW awards show has been modeled after ESPN's annual ESPY Awards.

Besides announcing the team awards, including MVP, there will be on-stage interviews with Jay Valai, John Clay, Montee Ball, James White and the parents of Lance Kendricks and Blake Sorensen.

"It's not your same old postseason banquet," Bielema said, "that everyone tried to find a way to get out of when they were in high school. It's a nice change-up to the banquet format."

The Voice: Plans changed, but the celebration didn't

The_Voice_Matt_Lepay_200.jpgLast Saturday at Camp Randall Stadium, the script played out pretty well. The Badgers won big, and in the process earned piece of the Big Ten championship. Yep, that plan worked to perfection.

Another plan did not work out quite so well, but hey, stuff happens, and I believe everyone survived the blow.

Very quietly, UW officials had planned a postgame on-field ceremony to honor the team.  A Big Ten Conference representative was on hand preparing to present the team with the championship trophy. Tournament of Roses President Jeff Throop was going to deliver a message on behalf of the good folks in Pasadena. Chancellor Biddy Martin, athletics director Barry Alvarez, head coach Bret Bielema and a couple of players were going to have a chance to say a few words to the joyous crowd.

I was going to be the talking head who introduced everyone. When the clock hit zero, event staffers held the press box elevator for me to get downstairs, where another staffer driving a golf cart would take me to the field. It was then when we learned that stadium officials had a slight problem. Too many folks on the field. Way too many folks on the field, making it rather difficult to set up a stage for the ceremony.

By the time we jumped out of the cart and got down on the field, I felt like a running back (in my case, a very bad running back) following a pulling guard (my driver who did a very nice job leading me to midfield). By the time we reached the 30-yard line or so, we heard they called off the public presentation. Oh well, at least I had the chance to run into a few thousand people, including some old friends I had not seen in awhile. Trust me, it wasn't just students rushing the field.

Easiest emcee job I have ever had. And you know what?  It turned out just fine. The team had its presentation in the locker room, and the fans were able to do their thing. Sometimes spontaneity works out too. Sure, it would have been nice for everyone to hear from all the scheduled speakers, but hey, sometimes plans just blow up. As I made my way off the field and back to the press box, I did not notice anyone who seemed to be in anything but a great mood.

I would guess those who planned the event were disappointed, but in the grand scheme of things, I would hope they can look back and at least have a little laugh. Laugh and learn. As coaches say, it is better to learn after a win than after a loss.

For Badger fans everywhere, Saturday was a great day. Dare I say it was just rosy?  Postgame ceremony or not, it was quite a day to be a Badger.

Lucas at Large: Greats of the game give Badgers high marks

There can be no greater testimonial to a defensive player than an endorsement from Chris Spielman, the former Ohio State linebacker and a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.

Who's the Best of the Best in the Big Ten?

Spielman endorsed UW defensive end J.J. Watt.

When asked if Watt reminds him of anyone, Spielman said, "He reminds me of the Big Ten's Defensive Player of the Year in my eyes. That's what he reminds me of."

Spielman has great respect for Purdue's Ryan Kerrigan. "But J.J. is as good as they come," Spielman pointed out. "And I know he's well-respected around the league."

These comments came before Watt made play after play after play in Wisconsin's convincing win over Northwestern in Saturday's regular-season finale at Camp Randall Stadium.

Archived Blog: Women's Basketball vs. BYU

Allison Metcalf Chronicled all the action from the Wisconsin women's basketball team's game against BYU on Nov. 26, 2010. 

Wisconsin vs. Minnesota Duluth in pictures

No. 1 Wisconsin topped No. 4 Minnesota Duluth, 3-2 in overtime, at the Kohl Center Nov. 26, 2010. Check out pictures from the game at UWBadgers.com.

Wisconsin vs. Minnesota Duluth, Nov. 26, 2010

What is the women's hockey team thankful for?

With the Thanksgiving holiday this week, UWBadgers.com talked to the women's hockey team to find out what the Badgers are thankful for this year.

What is the men's soccer team thankful for?

With the Thanksgiving holiday this week, UWBadgers.com talked to the Badger men's soccer team to find out what the team is thankful for this year.

Blog: Badgers travel on Thanksgiving

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While most people are spending time with their friends and family on Thanksgiving, the Wisconsin women's basketball team is preparing for two games this weekend.

As the team was en route to the West Coast for the Concord Hilton Thanksgiving Classic in Moraga, Calif., UWBadgers.com caught up with some of the players and coaches to find out what they are thankful for.

Discovering Disney

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Day one in Orlando for the Old Spice Classic. Lots of resting, reading (up on Manhattan), rehearsal and rides.

Wednesday, Nov. 25
9:00 a.m. ET -
Breakfast for the gang. Couple of bleary-eyed lads strolling into the Beach Club Convention Center for some fruit, eggs, pancakes, bacon and potatoes. Figuring that the players didn't get settled in until close to midnight and our body clocks think it's 8 a.m., it's not really a surprise.

9:30 a.m. - Noon ET - Free time. Activities varied from walking around the Disney Boardwalk outside of our hotel, to studying, to taking a dip in sand-bottomed pool and of course... more sleeping.

11:40 a.m. ET - While on a walk, Coach Ryan discovers there is a big waterslide at our hotel.

11:40:04 a.m. ET - Ryan hastily takes off his shirt, shoes and hat and takes the plunge on said slide.

12:30 p.m. ET - The Big Ten's best trainer Henry Perez-Guerra gets the players taped for practice. One-by-one they parade into Henry's room to get their ankles' taped. Much wise talk ensues... many of the world's problems are solved on that training table.

1:15 p.m. ET - Team bus rolls over to the Jostens Center for practice. Each team is allotted a two-hour practice window at this auxiliary gym next door to the HP Field House (formerly known as the Milkhouse) where games will be played.

1:30 p.m. ET - Practice begins with full-court passing drills. Same as every practice before it, and every one afterwards.

1:45 p.m. ET - Coach Ryan takes the Badger regulars and assistant Gary Close takes the scout team to do possessions against each other. The scout team will simulate Manhattan's system.

2:09 p.m. ET - Brett Valentyn continues his role of scout team marksman. He's been hot this year and has the green light on the scout team.

3:30 p.m. ET - Back to the hotel for a quick snack.

4:45 p.m. ET - Back to the Disney Wide World of Sports complex for the team's one-hour shoot-around in the HP Field House. Each team gets one hour to test the rims and get a feel for the new surroundings.

5:08 p.m. ET - Jon Leuer and Coach Ryan each do on-camera interviews with ESPN previewing the tournament and talking about all things Bucky. Coach Ryan opins that we were invited to this tournament because he uses Old Spice deodorant.

Our sources indicate that is coincidental.

6:05 p.m. ET - The giant Old Spice Classic decal at midcourt is bubbling and peeling up quite a bit. Coach Ryan secretly instructs freshman Ben Brust to trip and fall down over one of the big seams in the logo. Brust does his best acting job and draws laughs from his teammates. Hopefully the message was received by the Tourney and it will be fixed by tomorrow.

6:08 p.m. ET - Coach Ryan meets with the on-air talent from ESPN and ESPN 3D. They tell him that tomorrow's games will be the first-ever college basketball games done in 3D. Ryan mentions that he was also a part of Dick Vitale's first broadcast while an assistant coach at Wisconsin. He's can help be a part of history.

6:10 p.m. ET - Jordan Taylor goes on live with ESPN Radio Orlando. One of the hosts is a UW alum, so the chemistry is immediate. They talk everything from Old Spice Classic, to Badger hoops, to NFL football (Taylor is a die-hard Vikings fan), to NBA basketball (the Magic are hosting the Heat in town tonight).

6:20 p.m. ET - Bus heads back to the hotel where the team will have just enough to rest for a few minutes and get ready for the evening's reception.

8:25 p.m. ET - Team bus leaves for the Old Spice Classic welcoming reception at Disney's Hollywood Studios. They closed the park down for the teams and their families to have dinner and enjoy the theme park after hours.

8:50 p.m. ET - Thanksgiving feast! Sitting on the set for Disney's Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular, the teams enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings: carved turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberries, dressing, yams, you name it. Not quite mom's home cooking, but the pilgrims would have been proud.

9:18 p.m. ET - Teams head to the front of the stage to take team photos with Disney's most famous resident... Mickey Mouse.

9:21 p.m. ET - Players box each other out as the desert rolls in. Giant cupcakes and pumpkin pie are the hot commodities.

9:30 p.m. ET - The teams and staffs are turned loose inside Hollywood Studios. That means no lines for Tower of Terror and Aerosmith's Rock and Roll Rollercoaster.

Go on the ride, nearly lose the Thanksgiving feast, jump the line and do it again.

A few highlights: 1.) the photos taken on the rides showing various stages of terror and glee.
The sheer terror in Wquinton Smith's eyes is priceless. 2.) The Mickey Mouse ice cream bars. 3.) Watching 6-foot-10 guys fold themselves into a roller coaster seat designed probably for a 6-footer. 4.) Seeing Coach Ryan free-fall 12 stories on the Tower of Terror. 5.) The Mickey Mouse ice cream bars

10:57 p.m. ET - Bus heads back to the hotel... game is about 15 hours away.

Blog: Thanksgiving with women's soccer

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Wisconsin women's soccer players Darcy Riley, Taryn Francel and Michele Dalton gave UWBadgers.com the scoop on what they are thankful for, their Thanksgiving plans and more.

Lucas at Large: Bielema preparing to send off special class

Unlike his previous four seasons, UW head coach Bret Bielema will take a more active role in Saturday's pregame recognition of the senior class at Camp Randall Stadium.

"Usually, I've stayed out of the ceremony," he said. "But I'm going to greet each of the seniors as they come on the field and before they get introduced.

"Being able to shake their hand before sending them on to the next phase is going to be special. They all have unique stories and there have been some trials and tribulations. But they're all survivors.

"I remember the first time I met them. I remember the first time I was in their homes. I remember the first time they got their starting opportunity. I remember the hardship and heartache."

More than anything, he will likely remember their commitment and perseverance. "I didn't know if some of them would grow as much as they did off the field," Bielema said.

Wrestling staff shares Thanksgiving plans

UWBadgers.com caught up with some of the coaches and staff members of the Wisconsin wrestling program to find out what they are doing for Thanksgiving.

Wisconsin associate head coach Donny Pritzlaff, assistant coach Jared Frayer, program assistant Sandy Berndt and Wisconsin wrestling athletic training Jesse Donnenwerth shared their Thanksgiving plans, favorite traditional Thanksgiving dish and more.

Operation Orlando: Badgers arrive at Old Spice

ORLANDO, Fla. - Ten years into his coaching regime at Wisconsin, you could understand if Bo Ryan is experiencing a little déjà vu.

Ryan's first road trip as the head coach of the Badgers in November of 2001 took him to UNLV for a difficult road loss and then straight out to Hawaii for a three-game holiday tournament.

Fast forward 10 seasons to November of 2010 and Ryan is hoping that his team is painting with the same brush. Just days after a bitter 68-65 loss at UNLV, Wisconsin was on a new court preparing for a three-game holiday tournament - the Old Spice Classic in Orlando, Fla.

The 2001-02 team went 1-3 on its opening road swing and started the season 1-4 before rallying to win one of Ryan's three Big Ten regular season championships.

The Badgers are hoping that this year, the Magical Kingdom will provide a similar prophecy.

The trip began in Madison, where UW practiced at the Kohl Center Tuesday before catching a flight to Disney World.

Tuesday, Nov. 24
9:45 p.m. ET -
Touchdown Orlando International Airport. The airplane may not have been Bono's, but it was still a charter with oversized leather seats and a meal. Most importantly... it landed safely.

9:51 p.m. ET - First whiff of that warm, humid Florida air. The temperature in Madison was hovering around 35 degrees when we left. Here, it's about 74 degrees.

10:32 p.m. ET - Our date with Mickey Mouse begins as the team bus pulls up to the Disney World grounds. Sign greeting the people to the Old Spice Classic.

10:32:04 p.m. ET - First "I'm on a horse" joke.

10:37 p.m. ET - Club. It's dark, but looks nice. Big, sprawling and sandy.

10:51 p.m. ET - Bed time snack. Menu items include: salad, pizza, French dip sandwiches, ice cream sundae bar and some of the sweetest pecan pie you can imagine.

11:30 p.m. ET - Bed time... but who's kidding? Have you seen that Disney commercial where the little boy is restless in bed because he knows he's going to Disney World the next day? He turns to his parents and says, "I'm too excited the sleep." That's probably happening in rooms all over this hotel right now.

Big Ten well-represented at NCAA tournament

All five of the Big Ten Conference men's soccer teams that advanced to the 2010 NCAA Men's Soccer Championship are still alive and slated to participate in Sunday's third round. The Big Ten is the only conference with more than two teams in the final 16.

The Voice: Seniors have chance for special sign-off

The_Voice_Matt_Lepay_200.jpgSenior Day at Camp Randall Stadium is usually pretty good theatre. It is even better when a Big Ten trophy is on the line. Such is the case this Saturday when the Badgers host Northwestern.

Of course, the script calls for Penn State to beat Michigan State, and while we are at it, Michigan can go ahead and stun Ohio State. Then Wisconsin can take care of business against the Wildcats and earn the undisputed title, right?

Or, if the Spartans knock off the Nittany Lions, and Ohio State defeats Michigan, that would set the stage for a three-way tie, in which case everyone gets to wait another week to find out who is going to BCS bowls. Confused yet? Have a headache thinking of the possibilities?  

Let it go, and understand the Wildcats can be party crashers.

Badger Herald looks at Packer's physical presence

Check out a great article about UW women's hockey freshman Madison Packer that appeared in the Badger Herald last week:

"Packer doing the dirty work for women's hockey," Nov. 17, 2010

Lucas at Large: Familiar feeling for finale

There was a buzz in the air, a sense of anticipation before Wisconsin's 1998 regular-season finale against Penn State at Camp Randall Stadium. But the Badgers needed some help to realize their dream.

The week before, they had been humbled in their bid for perfection by a 27-10 loss at Michigan. That snapped a nine-game winning streak which had lifted them to a No. 8 ranking in the polls.

Now they were forced to pick up the pieces with the "faint" hope that Ohio State could beat the Wolverines in Columbus - faint because Buckeyes coach John Cooper was 1-8-1 against Michigan.

"Miracles happen all the time, don't they?" posed UW defensive end Tom Burke.


On the road in Pittsburgh part two

Friday afternoon in Pittsburgh saw the Badgers earn a 7-1 win over Robert Morris at the RMU Island Sports Center. Junior Brooke Ammerman led the team with a hat trick, and Hilary Knight added two goals.

On the road in Pittsburgh part one

The Badgers have had an exciting trip to Pittsburgh for this weekend's series against Robert Morris, including plenty of fun both on and off the ice.

Archived Gameday Blog: Women's Hockey vs. Robert Morris

Mandy Hansen chronicled all the action in Wisconsin's 7-1 win over Robert Morris on Nov. 20, 2010 at the RMU Island Sports Center in Pittsburgh.


Track & Field News profiles Sisson on eve of NCAAs

With Wisconsin's Emily Sisson set to make her NCAA championship debut Monday in Terre Haute, Ind., Track & Field News has profiled the Badgers freshman.

The feature, penned by Don Kopriva, discusses Sisson's successes and struggles in her first season, with comments from Sisson and head coach Jim Stintzi:

Although Emily Sisson certainly is not favored in Monday's NCAA Cross Country, Wisconsin's prize frosh has proved she's ready to run up front.
"It's really important to have confidence in yourself when you're at this level. I used to struggle with confidence and believing in myself, but you have to have the mentality that you're going to win every race you're going into."

You can read the entire story online at www.trackandfieldnews.com.

Sisson and teammate Caitlin Comfort will race at the 2010 NCAA Championship on Monday, with the women's 6-kilometer race set to begin at 11 a.m. UWBadgers.com will have complete coverage.

Johnson and Badgers visit Penguins' practice

Head coach Mark Johnson and the Badgers attended the Pittsburgh Penguins' morning skate on Nov. 19, 2010, and Tony Jovenitti wrote a story for team's official website, www.penguins.nhl.com. Check out the full story about the Badgers' visit with the Penguins.

Badgers touch down in Vegas

Las Vegas trip photo gallery

Thumbnail image for Plane_LasVegas.jpgTaking in the first road trip of the season, the Wisconsin men's basketball team touched down at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas Friday afternoon. The Badgers will take on UNLV Saturday at 6 p.m. (CT).

The trip started on a high note as the Badgers were surprised to find out they would be flying on the plane used for U2's 360 Tour. A back injury to lead singer Bono has forced a postponement in the tour, making the plane available.

That meant extra leg room and comfort. Something UW's big men certainly appreciated.

After a 3.5-hour flight, UW held a two-hour practice at the Thomas & Mack Center on the campus of UNLV. Then it's back to the hotel for dinner and rest.

No trips to the Vegas Strip tonight... it's strictly a business trip for these guys.

Badgers touch down in Vegas

Las Vegas trip photo gallery

Plane_LasVegas.jpgTaking in the first road trip of the season, the Wisconsin men's basketball team touched down at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas Friday afternoon. The Badgers will take on UNLV Saturday at 6 p.m. (CT).

The trip started on a high note as the Badgers were surprised to find out they would be flying on the plane used for U2's 360 Tour. A back injury to lead singer Bono has forced a postponement in the tour, making the plane available.

That meant extra leg room and comfort. Something UW's big men certainly appreciated.

After a 3.5-hour flight, UW held a two-hour practice at the Thomas & Mack Center on the campus of UNLV. Then it's back to the hotel for dinner and rest.

No trips to the Vegas Strip tonight... it's strictly a business trip for these guys.

Archived Gameday Blog: Women's Hockey vs. Robert Morris

Mandy Hansen chronicled all the action in Wisconsin's 7-1 win over Robert Morris on Nov. 19, 2010 at the RMU Island Sports Center in Pittsburgh. 

Lucas at Large: To slow down Robinson, Badgers look to gang up

Finding someone to simulate Michigan's Denard Robinson on the scout team -- which operates against the No. 1 defense in practice -- can be as challenging as tackling Robinson in the open field.

"We don't have anyone who runs a 10.2 (100 meters) on our team," said UW defensive coordinator Dave Doeren.  So who got to wear Robinson's No. 16 in practice?

Jeff Lewis, a freshman tailback from Brookfield Central, who's redshirting.

"He gave us a good look because he can really run," said linebacker Blake Sorensen.

But there's Robinson's speed, and everybody else's speed.

"He's the only quarterback I know who runs a 4.3 (40)," said cornerback Antonio Fenelus, who grew up playing Little League football against Robinson in Florida.

Fenelus is from Boca Raton, and Robinson is from Deerfield Beach. But he had an aunt who worked in Boca. So he spent his summers there and attended football camps with Fenelus.

"He was always fast and had a nice arm," Fenelus said of Robinson, who earned the nickname "Shoelace" after purposely leaving his laces untied during games. Velcro is his secret.

"I usually text him after every game to see how he played or whatever," said Fenelus, who communicated with Robinson last weekend. What words were exchanged between the old friends?

"I told him, 'You'd better be ready' and he said, 'Ball-out and play your best.'"

The Voice: Imperfect bowl system beats the alternative

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The_Voice_Matt_Lepay_200.jpgAs the college football regular season hits the home stretch, the annual debate continues as to why the BCS stinks, and why there should be a playoff.

At the same time, if you are a Badger fan, isn't this kind of fun? At least your team is in the conversation. Yes, the average computer ranking vs. Ohio State has closed from five spots to one, but overall the Badgers remain seventh in the BCS poll, while the Buckeyes continue to be ninth.

Nationally, the talk continues whether TCU or Boise State will again be denied a shot at the national title. Who is the best one-loss team out there? Is it really LSU, or is Stanford, Nebraska, or one of the three Big Ten teams with one bump worthy of consideration?  

Playoff talk will continue until there is one. On Dan Patrick's nationally syndicated radio show last Friday, OSU coach Jim Tressel said "Within five years we will be positioned for a playoff of sorts." Badgers' Coach Bret Bielema says he loves the current bowl system, but has added he can live with the idea of a "plus one" format, which essentially is a four-team playoff.

In last week's edition of Sports Illustrated, there is a bracket for a 16-team playoff. Others have come up with ideas for an eight-, 10- or 16-team tournament. Some are well thought out, while others are just people throwing stuff against the wall to see what might stick.

If you think about it, what really happens quickly in college athletics? That is not meant as a knock, but if college football ever does get a playoff, my guess is that it would start at four teams. Then in time, it could grow to eight, then maybe 10 or 12, etc.

Look at the NCAA basketball tournament. It has grown, but it didn't jump from eight to 68 overnight.

(Note: Remember the NCAA does not run college football's postseason. Bowls work with conferences plus Notre Dame to develop what we have today. I am using the basketball tournament simply as an example of how the world of college athletics tends to work gradually.)

Lucas at Large: Wins at Big House have led to big rewards

Rose Bowl to No Bowl? Stud to Dud? That was the backdrop for a wounded Wisconsin team's appearance at the Big House on Oct. 29, 1994. Everybody had given up on the 3-3-1 Badgers.

Except the players and the coaches.

Following an emotionally-draining home loss to Minnesota, the players got together before practice that Tuesday and got everything off their chest in a "stand up and be counted" meeting.

Offensive guard Joe Rudolph stressed the importance of doing all the little things and returning to a commitment to the fundamentals, while also emphasizing team-oriented goals and expectations (Rudolph is now a Badger assistant and recruiting coordinator).

UW coach Barry Alvarez added some context to the discussion when he noted, "You get stroked after the Rose Bowl for a long period of time, and then you get kicked like a dog for a couple of weeks."

The Badgers were a big underdog to the No. 10-ranked Wolverines. Especially since Ron VanderKelen was throwing passes to Pat Richter the last time Wisconsin won in Ann Arbor.

Lucas at Large: Seniors keep focus on Saturday

Before Tuesday's practice, the seniors wanted to make sure everyone was on the same wave length. The coaches were excused from the room and quarterback Scott Tolzien delivered the message.

"Scotty T talked about how we have to take everything one day at a time," said senior wide receiver David Gilreath. "Mainly, he talked about our focus on these last three games."

That was confirmed by senior captain Culmer St. Jean.

"Scott is a strong person and he speaks how feels - he's not afraid to say things," St. Jean said. "We all have strong characteristics in our senior class. We're able to speak to each other and we're able to talk to the group in a way that everybody understands.

"What Scotty brought up needed to be said - we need to focus. That's what got us here. And that's what it's going to take in the next three games. We don't have to play out of our element. We don't need to be doing anything other than what we have been doing. That's the secret ingredient."

On Saturday, the Badgers will be returning to Camp Randall Stadium for the first time since Oct. 16 when they pulled off the upset of No. 1 ranked Ohio State. That game started off with a bang when Gilreath returned the opening kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown. Seems like forever ago.

Media previews Big Ten Tournament

No. 7 seed Wisconsin (4-12-2, 1-4-1 Big Ten) and No. 2 seed Ohio State (10-5-2, 4-2-0 Big Ten) are slated to play at 1:30 p.m. (CT) Thursday in the opening round of the 2010 Big Ten Men's Soccer Tournament at Jeffrey Field on the campus of Penn State. Read what the media is saying about the Badgers heading into the game.

Lucas at Large: Butrym transitions from pupil to teacher

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As an impressionable redshirt freshman, UW defensive tackle Patrick Butrym came under the wing of an upperclassman, Jeff Stehle, who was more than willing to serve as a mentor.

That left a lasting impression on Butrym, who has been trying to serve as a mentor this season to some of the younger linemen, including freshman Beau Allen and redshirt freshman Ethan Hemer.

"Those guys have been great for me, too, they've helped me out a lot, it's just a great relationship," acknowledged Butrym, a junior from New Berlin (Waukesha Catholic).

Whereas Butrym is the most experienced defensive tackle on the UW roster with 11 career starts, Stehle didn't get a chance for regular playing time until last season, his senior year.

Nonetheless, he still had an impact on the development of Butrym, who had a career-high five tackles at Purdue and was named co-Defensive Player of the Week by the UW coaching staff, along with corner Antonio Fenelus.

"Jeff was always a good player fundamentally," Butrym said. "The more he started, the more he brought me along. It's a very similar situation to what's going on with me and the younger D-tackles."

So he enjoys the mentoring?

USA Hockey catches up with Erika Lawler

USA Hockey's Dave McMahon caught up with former Badger Erika Lawler leading up to this week's Four Nations Cup. Check out the special to USAHockey.com where Lawler discusses dancing, playing hockey and competing for the U.S. national team.

UW basketball coach Bo Ryan loves filling in the blanks. He's hooked on crossword puzzles. He also loves connecting the dots. Drawing from his vast experience, he's prone to make comparisons between players from different generations based on anything from body language to shot-making.

That can draw a lot of blanks from people who have no idea who or what he's talking about.

Josh Gasser is a 6-foot-3, 185-pound freshman guard from Port Washington. Gasser's build and movements and success in multiple sports reminds Ryan of Bob Falk, a 6-2, 183-pound guard from Madison West High School who played for the Badgers in the mid-'70s.

Ben Brust is a 6-1, 190-pound freshman guard from Hawthorn Woods, Ill., (Mundelein).  Brust has a little runner or "flip shot" that reminds Ryan of Johnny Egan, a 5-11 guard from Providence College, who played 12 years in the NBA with six different teams from 1961-1972.

Bob Falk?

Some local historians can make an argument for Falk being one of the finest all-around athletes ever produced in Madison. At least he should be in the discussion after excelling in football, basketball and baseball for the Regents.

In 1972, Falk's skill as a basketball player was recognized when he was named the Player of the Year in the state of Wisconsin. Falk helped lead West to the semifinals of the WIAA tournament. But the Regents came up short against Milwaukee Hamilton after Falk went down with a knee injury.

Following his prep career - during which he was named all-state in both football and basketball - Falk spent one year at the University of Kansas before returning to Madison and enrolling at the UW where he played two seasons for John Powless and one for Bill Cofield, whose staff included Ryan.

Falk was such an outstanding high school quarterback prospect, he was talked into going out for football with the Badgers. But he made a far bigger name for himself in basketball with one timely jump-shot against Indiana at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Ind.

On Feb. 24, 1977, Falk was in the UW starting lineup along with Clyde Gaines,  James "Stretch'' Gregory, Sugar Ray Sydnor and Joe Chrnelich. The Badgers caught a break because the Hoosiers were playing without their All-American center Kent Benson, who was sidelined with a back injury.

With three seconds remaining, Falk knocked down his jumper from the deep right corner to lift the Badgers to an improbable 66-64 victory over the Hoosiers. Falk finished with a game-high 19 points.  Ryan was on the bench that night and, fittingly, he was on the bench - as UW's first-year head coach - when the Badgers snapped a 22-game losing streak in Assembly Hall by beating the Hoosiers in 2002.

Oh, that Bob Falk.

But what about Johnny Egan?

As a New England schoolboy phenom, Egan was predicted to have great success at Providence College for coach Joe Mullaney. And he lived up those expectations while teaming in the backcourt with Lenny Wilkens. Together, they carried the Friars to an NIT championship in 1961.

Egan, a two-time All-American, averaged 17.9 points and ended up with 1,434 career points. A first-round draft pick of the Detroit Pistons, he also played for the Knicks, the Bullets, the Lakers, the Cavs and the Rockets. After his playing days were over, Egan replaced Tex Winter and coached the Rockets for four years before being replaced himself by Tom Nissalke.

 In 2008, Providence retired Egan's No. 34 adding his name to a short of list Friars who have their numbers hanging from the rafters: Wilkens, Jimmy Walker, Ernie DeGregorio and Marvin Barnes.

Oh, that Johnny Egan.

 Now that's old school.

To this end, Ryan, like many coaches, has named different post moves after former NBA legends for the sake of identification and instant recognition. In practice, for example, he might tell a player, "I want you to Bernie into a McHale."

Translation: Ryan wants the player to use a shoulder fake one way and as he's turning to shoot the other way - drawing a defender - he wants him to use a little jump hook.

The Bernie is named after Bernard King who played 11 seasons in the NBA. The McHale is named after Kevin McHale, the former Minnesota Gopher, who went on to stardom with the Boston Celtics.

The other post moves honor Moses Malone (a drop step and power move); Dominique Wilkins (an up and under move); and Jack Sikma (a reverse pivot where you open up to the basket).

Ryan was asked if he has given any thought to updating the post moves to reflect more contemporary players. Maybe the Kobe? The LeBron? The D-Wade? The Durant? The CP3?

Might he consider changing?

"Not really," Ryan said. "Not as long as the guys I'm coaching know what they are."

Former Badgers shine at NYC Marathon

The buildup to Sunday's New York City Marathon focused on the debuts of rookies -- and former University of Wisconsin All-Americans -- Simon Bairu and Tim Nelson.

In the end, it was Nelson and the much-less publicized Matt Downin that proudly carried the flag for the Badgers. Nelson was 13th overall in 2 hours, 15 minutes, 6 seconds -- a time that placed him an impressive fourth among U.S. finishers.

The 33-year-old Downin wasn't far back in 18th, finishing the 26.2-mile course in 2:20:41 to place seventh among Americans. During his time at UW, Downin was a four-time All-American and two-time Big Ten cross country champion.

Bairu won a pair of NCAA cross country titles for the Badgers, but did not find as much success in his marathon debut. The Canadian national record-holder at 10,000 meters dropped out of the race after 23 miles.

Gebre Gebremariam of Ethiopia won the race in 2:08.14.

Chris Solinsky, a training partner of fellow former Badger teammates Bairu and Nelson, is expected to eventually make the transition to marathons but was driven around the route of this year's NYC event by organizers in a truck.

Considered the "future" of the event by the race's director, Solinsky's experience was chronicled by George Vecsey of the New York Times.

Bairu and Nelson, meanwhile, had plenty of coverage of their preparation for the marathon. Follow the links below for the 'Rookies vs. the World' video series on the duo and training partner Shalane Flanagan, as well as Bairu's blog for the New York Times and both athletes' take on Twitter.

- Complete Results: New York City Marathon
- Rookies vs. the World video series
- Bairu's New York Times blog
- Twitter: Bairu (@SimonBairu)  |  Nelson (@ThatRunnerGuy)

The Voice: Story of season could come down to style points

The_Voice_Matt_Lepay_200.jpgFans of both the Wisconsin Badgers and the Green Bay Packers might have needed two television sets in their living rooms Sunday night. As the Packers were about to begin their beatdown of the Dallas Cowboys, ESPN was airing its weekly BCS Countdown show.

Anyone who has lived in this state longer than five minutes knows about the popularity of the Packers. When they play, much of our world stops. I'm just not sure how many fans figured that a show about the BCS rankings would be appointment viewing.

As the regular season heads into the stretch drive, the seventh-ranked Badgers remain the Big Ten's highest-rated team in the BCS standings, two notches ahead of Ohio State. In a potential three-team tie-breaker scenario, that is very significant.

Who knows how the final few weeks of the regular season will play out, but one possibility would be a dead heat featuring Wisconsin, Michigan State and Ohio State. In that specific case, the highest-ranked team would be the conference representative in the Rose Bowl.

That raises an interesting issue for head coach Bret Bielema.

WCHA standings format for league play clarified

The Western Collegiate Hockey Association is continuing to use shootouts for the 2010-11 women's hockey season and has also implemented a three-point system in women's league play.

Jentsch honored by College Soccer News

Freshman goalkeeper Max Jentsch (Hartland, Wis.) has been selected to the College Soccer News National Team of the Week for the week ending Nov. 7, 2010.

Lucas at Large: Bruesewitz raises his hair and his game

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UW basketball forward Mike Bruesewitz knows what you're thinking, and he's fine with it. Bruesewitz knows that you're thinking "What in the world was he thinking'' when he grew out his hair into a curly, red Afro that conjures up images of comedian Scott Thompson (aka Carrot Top).

"Every once in awhile you have to have a change of pace,'' Bruesewitz said.

At  Saturday night's exhibition between the Badgers and UW-La Crosse, the "Bruesewitz Hair Cam'' made its debut on the scoreboard at the Kohl Center. Some unsuspecting fans were spotlighted on the giant screen and "fitted'' with a computer-generated facsimile of the Bruesewitz mop.

Bruesewitz was in a team huddle during the timeout and didn't see it. "But I found out a couple of days ago that they're selling wigs at Bucky's Locker Room,'' he said.

So, what in the world was he thinking?

Well, he was thinking he wanted to be like his big brother. And if you think the 6-foot-6, 220-pound Bruesewitz is big, you should see his big brother, Robert Bruesewitz, a 6-9, 265-pound giant who played offensive tackle for the Princeton University football team.

"I was in the eighth or ninth grade when he came home at Christmas during his sophomore year of college,'' Mike said." My mom usually cut his hair, but he was too cheap to get a haircut on the East Coast because they were expensive. So he had this big, bushy red Afro and I was really jealous.''

Following his freshman season with the Badgers - during which he appeared in 28 games as a backup and won over the fan base with his hustle and energy - Mike Bruesewitz decided to come back with a new look Afro for his sophomore year. What was the reaction of his UW teammates?

"Sometimes it's a topic of discussion, but they really don't remember what I looked like with the crew cut,'' said Bruesewitz, whose family moved from Litchfield, Minn. to St. Paul after his sophomore year of high school. His older brother Bob was on two state championship basketball teams at Litchfield.

Mike Bruesewitz twice led Henry Sibley High School to the state tournament, including the Class 4A title game when he was a junior. He was the Gatorade Player of the Year in Minnesota as a senior.

Bruesewitz anticipates that he will be the target of opposing Big Ten fans on the road.

Some things never change.

"Being a redheaded kid, you hear about your hair everywhere you go,'' he said. "I got it bad in high school and I got it bad last year. During warm-ups, a lot of times 'Ginger' would be thrown out. It comes with the territory of being redheaded, but it's all right. I expect to hear it, and I don't mind it.''

Bruesewitz is hoping that people will recognize that his game has a new look, too. He has spent the off-season working on his jump shot. His tutor has been UW assistant coach Gary Close.

"Coach Close is the shot doctor on the team and he has helped me a lot,'' Bruesewitz said. "We've made some minor tweaks here and there. Mechanically, it was nothing major. We've just tried to make it more compact and more consistent. Sometimes I'd shoot on my way and I'd be short.''

Although he received limited minutes as a freshman, he understood his role. "I tried to bring energy to the team,'' Bruesewitz said. "Whether it was getting rebounds, getting on the floor, scrapping in the post, or stuff like that, I tried to bring something to the team that needs to be done every game.

"Sometimes it would be getting an offensive rebound. Sometimes it would be sticking a guy on defense. Hopefully this season, I can help carry the load a little bit more offensively. My confidence is a little bit higher. This is my second year in the program, and I kind of know what's expected of me.''

So, what is expected of Mike Bruesewitz?

"Making better reads, making better decisions, especially when I have the ball,'' he said. "Defensively, making sure I'm better off the ball, and on the ball.''

Saturday night, Bruesewitz played 17 minutes and had eight points (4-of-5), four rebounds, one assist, one steal, and one Hair Cam moment (one more than anyone else in college basketball).

Wisconsin vs. Minnesota in pictures

No. 1 Wisconsin split a series with No. 8 Minnesota at Ridder Arena in Minneapolis, Minn., Nov. 5-6, 2010, dropping a 7-5 decision on Friday before earning a 5-0 shutout win on Saturday. Check out photos from the series at UWBadgers.com.

Wisconsin vs. Minnesota, Nov. 5-6, 2010

Archived Gameday Blog: Men's Soccer vs. Penn State

Cristin Fitzpatrick chronicled all the action in Wisconsin's 1-0 win over Penn State on Nov. 6, 2010 at the McClimon Complex.

Archived Gameday Blog: Women's Hockey vs. Minnesota

Mandy Hansen chronicled all the action in Wisconsin's 5-0 win over Minnesota on Nov. 6, 2010 at Ridder Arena in Minneapolis, Minn.

Archived Gameday Blog: Women's Hockey vs. Minnesota

Mandy Hansen chronicled all the action in Wisconsin's 7-5 loss to Minnesota on Nov. 5, 2010 at Ridder Arena in Minneapolis, Minn.


What they are saying

Wisconsin (3-12-2, 0-4-1 Big Ten) hosts its final regular season game of the season against No. 22 Penn State (11-5-1, 2-2-1 Big Ten) at 7 p.m. Saturday. Read what they are saying about the Badgers' recent success as UW prepares to face the Nittany Lions.

What they are saying

No. 1 Wisconsin (8-0-0, 6-0-0 WCHA) travels to No. 8 Minnesota (5-4-0, 2-4-0 WCHA) this weekend. Read what they are saying about the Badgers' recent success and the team's goaltending duo as the team heads into its first road series of the 2010-11 season.

Archived Gameday Blog: Men's Soccer vs. UIC

Cristin Fitzpatrick chronicled all the action in Wisconsin's 1-0 overtime win over UIC on Nov. 3, 2010 at the McClimon Complex.

Two Badgers join century club

Two Badgers recently reached 100 career points as junior Brooke Ammerman and senior Mallory Deluce joined senior Meghan Duggan and junior Hilary Knight as the four active Badgers with 100 career points.

The Voice: Badgers keep cooking without sizzle

The_Voice_Matt_Lepay_200.jpgSo what does a person who covers sports for a living do during a free weekend? He sits on the couch and watches sports, right?

With the Wisconsin football team idle last weekend, it was fun just to be a fan. From all the pomp and circumstance of the NBA's opening week, which included the home opener for the Miami Heat (and that guy named LeBron), to the World Series (see what happens when you get some pitching, Brewers fans?), to the latest in the Brett Favre Saga, this past weekend had plenty to offer.

Oh yeah, there was plenty of college football to take in as well. It was a good chance to take in some of the craziness that is making for a truly wild season. Who knew that Iowa would put that type of a beat down on Michigan State? How 'bout Oregon's seemingly unstoppable offense? Auburn quarterback Cam Newton's Heisman campaign continued as he passed for two touchdowns and caught one as well.

Nebraska did not look half bad, and it was not freshman sensation Taylor Martinez who stole the show, but rather running back Roy Helu, who rushed for 307 yards and three touchdowns as the Cornhuskers knocked off Missouri.

It seems just about every team in the top 10 has a fair amount of sizzle. From high-octane offenses featuring dazzling quarterbacks, to a coach nicknamed "Mad Hatter," and another coach who names plays after ESPN personalities. Yes, there seems to be lots of sizzle in college football's high-rent district.

Then you have the Badgers.

Archived Blog: Women's soccer v. Northwestern

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Krista Lundgren chronicled all the action from the Badgers' 3-0 win over Northwestern on Nov. 1, 2010.