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The Voice: Easy to enjoy UW's success with teams like this

The_Voice_Matt_Lepay_200.jpgSome random thoughts while my wife Linda keeps asking me "What are you doing here? Isn't there a road game coming up? Get out of the house already!"

Not a bad time to be a Badgers fan, eh? The football team returns to the Rose Bowl, the men's basketball team surprises again with a strong season, which included a run to the Sweet 16, while the women's hockey team under the direction of Mark Johnson wins yet another national championship.

Of course, there have been other exceptional performances on campus, but those three come to mind right away.

All of this happens while it appears an already understaffed NCAA infractions committee has work that keeps piling up. High-profile headaches at Tennessee and Ohio State and the ongoing questions at Auburn have some wondering what is next.  

My personal philosophy on these matters is simple -- when it happens to your school, it's a witch hunt. When it happens to another school, especially a rival, the defendant usually is considered guilty until proven innocent.

Easy as it can be to do otherwise, I try to refrain from laughing too hard when the other guy gets the NCAA inquiry. Over the years, Wisconsin has had a few of those unpleasant experiences. Fortunately, it has been awhile.

The stories coming out these days should make Badger fans feel grateful that success is coming while the teams follow the rules. I'm not claiming Wisconsin is perfect, but I do believe there is a commitment to doing things the right way around here, and that commitment is much more than lip service.

Will the Badgers win a national title in football or basketball? Who knows? But I will take what they are doing right now, and how they are going about their business. To me, that beats winning even bigger, only to have it all questioned by NCAA violations.

Onto football, and while spring drills roll on, a few younger players appear to be taking advantage of increased repetitions. As linebackers Chris Borland and Ethan Armstrong work their way back from injuries, redshirt freshman Marcus Trotter's play at mike backer has been encouraging. Maybe in a perfect world, Borland and Armstrong are out there as well, but Trotter could very well be improving the depth of the linebacking corps.

Keeping in mind the old saying that you never can have too many tailbacks, keep the name Jeff Lewis in mind. Since last fall, coach Bret Bielema has been intrigued with the redshirt freshman from Brookfield. So far this spring Lewis, while still learning the position, is showing why.

Meanwhile, fifth-year senior Zach Brown also is battling for playing time behind regulars Montee Ball and James White. This fall, the highly-touted back Melvin Gordon joins the party.  
Like I said, you never can have enough tailbacks.  

Finally, next Tuesday, Bo Ryan's basketball team has its annual postseason reception at the Kohl Center. There is much to celebrate, including a good NCAA tournament run, a 25-win season and a perfect home record.  

There are many other notable statistics, but one of the better assists I have seen lately came from Mike Bruesewitz, who last week had teammate Jon Leuer shave the Bruiser's long red hair to raise money to fight multiple sclerosis. So far, Mike's buzz cut has helped generate more than $5,000 for the Wisconsin Chapter of the National MS Society.

And you thought that 3-pointer he hit in the Kansas State game was big. It is just another reason why this team is easy to like.