April 2013 Archives

Lucas at Large: Big Ten wise to follow lay of the land

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You didn't have to be drinking Kool-Aid from the Little Brown Jug to realize that geographical realignment was a most reasonable option for the Big Ten. And this was not about passing the Illibuck on competitive balance, even if a couple of trophy games will be taking a hit.

Competitive balance can be so fleeting.

Five short years ago, Michigan's storied football program was cycling south of the southern-most campus in the conference -- making for no stranger bedfellows than the Wolverines and Indiana Hoosiers -- while Iowa was cycling in the opposite direction.
 New Big Ten Divisional Alignment
 East  West
 Indiana
 Maryland
 Michigan
 Michigan State
 Ohio State
 Penn State
 Rutgers
 Illinois
 Iowa
 Minnesota
 Nebraska
 Northwestern
 Purdue
 Wisconsin

In 2008, Michigan finished with a 3-9 overall record, matching Indiana at the bottom of the Big Ten. At 2-6, the Wolverines were one game better than the Hoosiers in league games. In 2009, they both won just once in the conference with Michigan going 5-7 in all games. Indiana was 4-8.

Contrast and compare ...

In 2008, Iowa was one of three schools that won nine of 13 games, joining Michigan State and Northwestern. The Hawkeyes were 5-3 in the Big Ten; a springboard for 2009 when the Hawks ended up with 11 wins (as many overall as both Ohio State and Penn State) and played in the Orange Bowl.

Iowa was the seventh-best team in college football.

Michigan was the 10th-best team in the Big Ten.

That was four short years ago.

Granted, there has been a noteworthy reawakening in Ann Arbor under Ohio-bred (Dayton) head coach Brady Hoke, who has erased the taste of Rich Rodriguez's tenure and made the Wolverines dangerous again with back-to-back records of 11-2 and 8-5 (6-2 each year in the Big Ten).

By contrast, the Hawkeyes have been in need of realignment -- front wheel -- after running over potholes the last three seasons (19-19 overall). In 2012, Iowa may have bottomed out at 4-8 and 2-6 in the Big Ten; at least a beleaguered Kirk Ferentz is hoping that he has seen the worst.

Based on his track record, there's every reason to believe that Ferentz will get the Hawks back on track sooner than later -- assuming, of course, that the can keep a few running backs healthy during the grind of a long Big Ten season, which will get longer in 2016 with nine league games.

Over the last five seasons, Iowa is 39-25 (21-19) and Michigan is 34-29 (18-22).

During that same span, Northwestern is 40-25 (21-19) and Michigan State is 44-22 (27-13).

In Jim Delany's New World Order, the Hawkeyes and the Wildcats are in the Big Ten West and the Wolverines and the Spartans are in the Big Ten East. So maybe Iowa doesn't look like Michigan right now anymore than Northwestern looks like Michigan State, right? It's not as one-sided as you think.

The 'Cats are coming off a 10-3 season (and returning most of their best players) whereas Sparty is trying to bounce back from a 7-6 season (after winning 32 games over the previous three years). At the moment, there is not a significant competitive gap between these two programs.

Now consider the sum of the moving parts: Why can't the "Big 4'' in the West (Wisconsin, Nebraska, Northwestern, Iowa) compete against the "Big 4'' in the East (Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan, Michigan State), particularly with the uncertainty of the Nittany Lions' scholarship reductions?

Obviously, it's not a wash today unless you're talking about the current wild cards in the West (Minnesota, Purdue, Illinois) versus those in the East (Indiana, Maryland, Rutgers). Still, everything is subject to change on a year-to-year basis, including competitive balance in 2014.

So with the exception of a couple of trophy games that will no longer be staged annually -- the Little Brown Jug between Michigan and Minnesota and the Illibuck rivalry between Illinois and Ohio State (Rivalry? Who knew?) -- the Big Ten's geographical realignment can stand on its own merit.

The Voice: Showcase of Badgers' excellence a great wrap-up

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As sports fans, it is only natural to view a favorite team or a favorite player simply by performance in the athletic arena. Did it win or lose? How many points did so-and-so score? How many goals? How fast did he or she run?

Badger fans have enjoyed the opportunity to view a number of memorable performances in a variety of sports. On a yearly basis, UW teams have given fans ample reason to cheer.

For the last five years, the University of Wisconsin has had an event that celebrates the student-athletes' successes beyond the playing field. It is called The Buckinghams, and it is quite a show. The purpose is to recognize those who have excelled in the classroom and in the community. The program also gives several student-athletes the opportunity to display their unique talents, which this year ranged from tap dancing to performing an opera piece.

It truly is a showcase of excellence

The organizers, with special mention to Director of Student-Athlete Development Bridget Woodruff, somehow manage to gather student-athletes from every sport in the same room for a well-planned, entertaining evening.

In addition to the official award winners, an unofficial trophy for toughness should go to women's hockey player Katy Josephs. In addition to her gifts as a forward for Mark Johnson's hockey team, Josephs also possesses a beautiful signing voice. However, earlier in the day during rehearsal, she was feeling lousy -- as evidenced by her constant coughing.

As someone who speaks for a living, having a cold or the flu can be a nightmare. I figured she would be listed as doubtful for the event. I was wrong. The show must go on, right? So Katy sang, and she was outstanding in her rendition of "Try" by P!nk.

Never doubt the focus of a determined Badger.

*   *   *   *

Also, never doubt the loyalty of a Badger. Last Friday night, 175 former UW football players were in town to take a look at the new locker room and players' lounge, as well as the new varsity sports and football weight rooms. The word "impressive" hardly does justice to the finished product. Those who attended probably understand more than most the importance of the project. I also should add this group came away very impressed and excited about coach Gary Andersen.

During the reunion weekend, some 500 former players and their families were in attendance for Saturday's spring game. It was a treat to see players from several eras. On a personal note, I really enjoyed seeing some of the guys from my first years here in the late 1980s. Those seasons might have been difficult, but there were some very good players on those teams, and many of them were on campus last week. It was fun catching up with them.

That connection is important. Hopefully every athlete who has gone through this university understands that he or she is part of a special group. Think of the number of young boys and girls who dream of being a Badger. Yet in the grand scheme of things, only a select few get that opportunity.  You might be an ex-player, but you are never an ex-Badger. I spoke to those who have not been around very much in recent years. My message is simple -- don't be a stranger. 

In the last week, I have visited with a number of current athletes as well as those of yesteryear. Watching them perform, or listening to some old stories simply reminds me that I am very lucky to be associated with this institution. 

As the spring sports season continues, I wish all the best for a strong finish. 

Thank you for checking out my blog this season. Have a great spring and summer!

The Voice: Spring game an audition for young players

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With any luck, this Saturday's spring game at Camp Randall Stadium will unfold with actual spring weather.

Then again, since that is out of our control, why worry about it? A day in the high 40s is football weather, right?

Outdoor practices have been infrequent this spring, but on Monday, coach Gary Andersen had his team scrimmage during a steady rain. While the offense had its struggles, Andersen was encouraged with a seemingly little thing that can become a big thing.

"We didn't drop the ball in the snap," he said. "That was impressive, especially from a rookie center (redshirt freshman Dan Voltz) and a bunch of different quarterbacks. (The players) didn't say a word about the weather. That's a good thing. They go out and take care of business, which is what we would expect to have done."

During an interview this week on Madison radio station The Big 1070, Andersen talked about the development of his team in general, and of some of the younger players specifically. Players such as outside linebackers Vince Biegel and Joe Schobert, as well as defensive lineman James Adeyanju.

Regarding the young players, or the not-so-young Badgers who could be in line for bigger roles this fall, Saturday's scrimmage matters.

"They need to get out there," said Andersen. "Saturday is big for them to get out there and play in front of people. They need to get out and do more than run down on a kickoff."

The defense is developing, especially the front seven. While you will not see some of the familiar faces on Saturday, spring practice has given the team a chance to develop some depth. 

"There are a lot of kids fighting for positions," said Andersen. "There are kids who have played for two and three years here, and played at a high level and played well that are getting pushed. And that is a good thing."

Andersen seems to fit the definition of a players' coach. He has sprinkled in some fun things during spring ball, such as having a dance contest, and having his players sing "On, Wisconsin." He says the team will sing the fight song after every game, both home and away.

My guess is Badgers fans will love it.

My guess is Badgers fans also will appreciate Andersen's sometimes candid nature. Candid without calling out specific players. During the radio interview, Andersen made it clear he wants to see more punch from the offense.

"Football is a hard game to play when you have to do everything exactly right. We need to be more explosive on offense. And that is hard sometimes when you don't have Jared (Abbrederis) out there, and James (White) doesn't get as many carries as you want. 

"At the end of the day, those are just excuses. We need to be more explosive as a football team.

"We need to get some throws over 25 yards, and we need to get some runs over 15 yards consistently. When you do that, you are a good offense," he added. "Show me a good offense that just trudges down the field, you know, 12 plays, three or four times a game, and goes four or five yards at a shot -- they are not a great offense. It is impossible. There is not enough time in a game, and there are not enough quarters in a game to be able to do it that way."

Andersen acknowledges those long drives can serve a purpose in wearing down a defense. He simply would rather not have to rely solely on long, time-consuming marches. He wants to see the ball move in bigger chunks.

"We can get it done in the backfield, there is no question," said Andersen. "We have tight ends that can make some big plays. Jared can make big plays. After that, we have got to challenge ourselves as coaches, myself and players to be able to have some young men on the offensive side of the ball that can consistently make big plays down the field."

While it is one scrimmage to conclude spring practices, maybe that is something to keep an eye on. 

Hope to see you this Saturday.

Lucas at Large: Biegel grows into role in new-look defense

Originally appeared in April 11, 2013 edition of Varsity Magazine

Wisconsin's first-year defensive coordinator, Dave Aranda, wasn't kidding when he described redshirt freshman Vince Biegel as a "hungry young player.'' 

After a recent practice at Camp Randall Stadium, Biegel threw down a peanut butter-berry mix protein drink; a concoction, he explained, that was for "guys who are trying to gain weight.'' 

When the 6-foot-3 Biegel reported to training camp last season, he weighed around 217 pounds. "Right now, I'm 235,'' he said, "and my goal is to be around 245 for the season.'' 

Biegel already looks like he was sent over from central casting to play outside linebacker in Aranda's 3-4 defense, a noteworthy departure from the previous 4-3 scheme that was in place here. 

"His spot is kind of a glorified defense end,'' Aranda said. "He'll be doing some things on the line of scrimmage. But, then, he'll also be doing some things off the ball. 

"He can rush the passer, he can drop in coverage, and he can set the sideline in terms of forcing the ball back inside to all of his help. He's suited to do all of those things. 

"Plus,'' said Aranda, grinning, "he has a mentality for defense, which I love.'' 

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It comes naturally. Biegel's grandfather, Ken, was a successful high school coach in Wisconsin; his dad, Rocky, was a starting linebacker at BYU; and his uncle, T.D., also played for the Cougars. 

"They were always there for me,'' Vince Biegel said. "I've got a few numbers I can call.'' 

Cognizant of that pedigree, Aranda once again brought up Biegel's "hunger for football,'' which does not necessarily set him apart. "As a team,'' Aranda has discovered, "we have it in spades.'' 

But in the short time that he has been around Biegel -- the Gatorade Player of the Year as a high school senior in Wisconsin Rapids -- Aranda has seen Biegel in the film room more than anybody. 

"He's real eager,'' Aranda said. "There are times when you're that young and new to everything you learn by doing, whether it's the right thing or wrong thing. That has been a little bit of his path.'' 

Midway through spring practice, Aranda still sees Biegel heading in the right direction. "It's just a matter of time,'' he said, "before he crosses that line to be a full-fledged guy in our rotation.'' 

David Gilbert, Brendan Kelly and Tyler Dippel were projected for outside linebacker, but Gilbert recently left the program because of a reoccurring foot issue and Kelly and Dippel have been injured this spring. 

That has thrown open the position to a number of unproven, young players, including Biegel, Jesse Hayes (who was sidelined with an injury last fall) and Joe Schobert (a converted safety). 

Nick Hill, a fifth-year senior from Milwaukee, has been getting most of the snaps on the No. 1 defense at field 'backer opposite Biegel. Hill has made an impression despite his inexperience. 

"He has all the athleticism in the world and he's talented in rushing the passer,'' Aranda said. "Right now, he's learning how to be consistent in executing whatever defense is called. 

"But he has a ton of talent. We just have to get him more consistent. He's a prototypical guy for us at outside linebacker. He just has to mature into what we're asking him to do.'' 

Biegel went through some growing pains last season. After breaking his foot during training camp, he tried to come back and play but re-aggravated the injury and wound up redshirting. 

"Obviously, it was a disappointment for me because I wanted to come here and help the team out any way I could,'' Biegel reflected. "But I'm a firm believer that everything happens for a reason.'' 

Even though he was relegated to the sideline, Biegel tried to put his time to good use by absorbing everything that he could from the college football environment and older teammates. 

"I don't think high school players realize how much of a mental game it is,'' Biegel said. "You're learning a full playbook and you're balancing school and football and your social life. 

"You have to bring it all together on your own, as well. That's the one thing I learned while looking up to guys like Mike Taylor and Chris Borland.'' It has whetted his appetite for more.

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This edition of Mike Lucas' "Lucas at Large" was featured in Varsity, the official digital magazine of Wisconsin Athletics. Subscribe to get Varsity delivered to your inbox each Thursday, download the official apps for iPhone and iPad or Android, and check out the complete Varsity archive on UWBadgers.com.

The Voice: Demise of basketball being greatly exaggerated

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Maybe I have become a bit spoiled. After all, for the last 25 years, I have had a terrific seat to watch college basketball, specifically the Badgers. They have won a lot, including this season. They have won in dramatic fashion. The Big Ten regular season was thrilling, and around here, that still matters.

Sure, it would have been fun to see the Badgers put together a run in the NCAA tournament. However, with an early exit, I actually was able to watch more tourney games than I have seen in years. It was entertaining stuff. At least it was to me.

Not everyone shares that opinion. There are some, including popular national talk show hosts such as Dan Patrick and Mike Greenberg of "Mike & Mike in the Morning" fame who were underwhelmed by this year's Big Dance.

Monday night's title game aside, Patrick told his audience that outside of Florida Gulf Coast's run to the Sweet 16 and the drama of Louisville guard Kevin Ware's injury, there was little that he viewed as compelling.

On his ESPN Radio show, Greenberg expressed disappointment at the overall quality of play. In his opinion, it simply wasn't very good.

I am sure those two have company in their critique of college basketball. I just tend to believe it is not in such dire straits.

Yes, the game could use some tweaks. There probably are several reasons why scoring is down. One-and-done players likely have hurt both the college and the NBA game. Perhaps the college game is too physical. Maybe there are too many AAU games and not enough drill work in the summer.

I can buy all of that. Yet sometimes we conveniently forget that great games do not require high scores.

Remember the 1983 title game, when Lorenzo Charles dunked at the buzzer to give North Carolina State a shocking victory against Houston? The final score was 54-52.

Or how about a year earlier, when a young player named Michael Jordan hit a jumper to give North Carolina a one-point victory against Georgetown? The final was 63-62.

Then there was three years ago, when Duke hung on to beat Butler. The Blue Devils survived only when Gordon Hayward's half court heave bounced off the glass, then the rim. Final score: 61-59

Yes, scoring is down. Yes, watching teams get up and down the floor is enjoyable to watch. But to me it doesn't define whether a game is good.

I think Wichita State made for a heck of a story. Badgers fans might remember Shockers coach Gregg Marshall, who in 2006 brought a Winthrop team to the Kohl Center and took Wisconsin to overtime. This year Marshall guided a nine-seed to the Final Four. 

LaSalle had to win a play-in game, also known as a "first round" game. A 13-seed made it through to the Sweet 16. 

Florida Gulf Coast made us aware of Dunk City.

Michigan, while falling just short of the national title, needed a stunning comeback to get past Kansas in the Sweet 16. Ohio State had two game-winners at or just before the final horn.

All in all, the Big Ten fared well in the NCAA tournament. Four teams survived the first weekend, two made the Elite 8, and Michigan, a team that went 0-2 against the Badgers, went toe-to-toe with the tourney's overall No. 1 seed.

The college game isn't perfect, but there soon could be some changes to make it better. Earlier this week, ESPN's Andy Katz reported the rules makers are looking at expanding replay in the final minute of games. Sounds good to me. 

For several years, the physical nature of games has been an issue, specifically defenders who constantly bump offensive players off course (called, oddly enough "bumping the cutters"). We will see what, if anything, is done about it.

I would guess every sport has hot topics. Basketball has its share. But overall, the product remains pretty solid to me. Perfect? No, but still very watchable.

I just hope next year I get to see more of the tournament in person.

After all, I am spoiled.

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Matt Lepay's "The Voice" is featured each week in Varsity, the official digital magazine of Wisconsin Athletics. Subscribe to get Varsity delivered to your inbox each Thursday, download the official apps for iPhone and iPad or Android, and check out the complete Varsity archive on UWBadgers.com.

Mental toughness, leadership and faith

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In today's blog, head coach Yvette Healy writes about mental toughness, leadership and most importantly, faith. 

The thought for today is faith. When you're trying to build a program into having a national presence, the trip is long and arduous. It's no easy path year to year, and within each season. The fact is we've never had an all-American in our program. We lack that legacy, that winning tradition that so many of our opponents have. When you're building a new winning tradition, it's so easy to get impatient. Yet throughout the season, you're still in the journey. Even when you play well early in the year, you're just making strides, you haven't arrived yet. 

The toughest test of mental toughness and fortitude is faith. Can you get your team and staff to truly believe in a future that they have never seen? Can you get recruits and parents to buy into a vision that is yet to exist?

We are so proud of this team, and this group of young women forging the way, battling to be a Top-25 team. Yet when you're on the road for your first 30 games, you're facing adversity and challenges more extreme than your counterparts. You're in a truly challenging situation trying to create something, when the odds are stacked against you. 

This group is fighting the good fight, playing hard, and earning every step of progress we achieve. 

Today will be a great test of mental toughness, leadership and faith. 

Minnesota memories

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Keri McGee  #5, 2B
Years Lettered: 1996-1999
Hometown: San Jose, CA

Honestly, my biggest memory of Minnesota was that it was the first place our first team in 1995 ever played! It was fall ball and it was probably the coldest day in history of UW softball... and all we had were shorts! Regardless of the weather or our uniforms, it is one of my fondest memories because it was when we really started to feel like a team. We were all in it together and definitely started creating memories that very first weekend in Minnesota Good luck to the Badgers this weekend - keep up the great season!

Amanda Berg   #24, 1B/C
Years Lettered: 1996, 1997, 1999, 2000
Hometown: Chippewa Falls, WI

I completely second Keri's comments... it was the first away game of the program's career -- that is where it started -- the score was so horrible that day that I vowed to never let that happen again to our border rival or anyone else. We realized that we had a long way to go but we were beginning something special for our school and for many women who would come after us. When you look at the pictures from that day, you will see many smiles on our faces, not because we won but because we realized what we had just begun. From then on, we continued to battle with them and even started winning the rivalry. It had to start somewhere and we may have lost that day, but the program continues almost 20 years later! Best of luck today ladies and I can't wait to read about the wins! You are making all of us alumni proud this season and we hope it continues right into a Big Ten championship and a berth to the NCAA tournament! And just be thankful you don't have to play in shorts in 30 degree weather...vour legs were so pink that day it looked like we were wearing red pants!

Athena Vasquez   #24, INF
Years Lettered: 2004-2007
Hometown: Costa Mesa, CA

I have a painful memory against the Gophers. Three cracked ribs after colliding with a runner for a force out and almost missing the Big Ten tournament back in 2005. 

If I could, here's some wisdom for each game, possibly reiterating coach Healy: One pitch, one out, one inning at a time. All your training in the off season prepared you for these coming weeks, so relax. Your muscle memory will take over.

Focus on what you can control. Be aware of your stress level. Remember to approach each inning fresh, use your positive self talk and encourage your teammates with positive affirmations. Keep each other calm and confident. 

Have fun Badgers!! 

Karla Powell  #32, 1B/DP
Years Lettered: 2009-2012
Hometown: Ashburn, VA

I remember my freshman year we played home against Minnesota.  I was up in the bottom of the 7th with two outs and Jen Krueger was on third base.  I hit the ball to the first baseman and it hit off her glove and as the second baseman grabbed the ball and was diving for first. I also dove into first and was called safe and won the game. It was one of the greatest memories playing at Goodman Diamond.

Dana Rasmussen  #10, C/UT
Years Lettered: 2008-2011
Hometown: Madison, WI

My sophomore year. We beat them the last game of the season with a walk off. With two outs, Karla Powell hit a ball to the first baseman, who booted it (not a hard shot, mind you). Karla dove into first base head first and was safe, scoring the winning run. Even though that was only our 15th win of the season and there were absolutely NO hopes of a tournament, it seriously felt like we just won the World Series.

That won't happen this season because these girls are doing great. So proud of all of them!

Broken windows

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In today's Badger Blog, head coach Yvette Healy talks about the broken window theory and fixing the broken windows on the team and in life. 

Our staff had a great discussion yesterday about the broken window theory. Actually we've been meeting with our players all week, seeking out problems and issues that have gone unsolved or unnoticed in the program up until this point. They say winning washes over a lot of problems. The only difficulty with that maximum is that nothing is being solved. An unaddressed issue doesn't disappear just because you're not forced to look at it.

One of our student-athletes left her notebook in our office after visiting yesterday. The page was flipped open to the broken window theory. The broken window theory states that in neighborhoods or communities where broken windows go unfixed, there is a higher incidence of crime and littering than in the same community where a similar broken window on a house or building gets repaired. Thus a seemingly insignificant act of fixing and maintaining a broken part has bigger implications on the psyche of the community and the choices others make.

I'm sure the broken window theory was not written to reflect culture in sport, team chemistry or personal discipline, yet our staff couldn't help but to apply this theory to our team. How many times does each of us choose to overlook small problems for the sake of not rocking the boat? How often do we let little broken windows in our lives go unfixed due to lack of time, or the seeming insignificance of the problem? Have we really taken the time to study and understand the implications of our actions, and sometimes more importantly, our inaction?

The two words that come to mind -- when I think of the broken window theory -- are neglect and vigilance. Those words are on opposite ends of the spectrum. Neglect is most closely associated with what we fail to do, the action that we choose not to take, failing our responsibility to guard and protect.  Neglect often comes when we're oblivious to problems or issues, failing to take action where needed. Conversely, vigilance is often associated with an alert and watchful eye, seeking to solve potential problems before they arise. 

Our staff has worked hard to create a positive, competitive atmosphere that encourages hard work, passion and effort. Once you've created that environment, it becomes even harder to maintain and protect that culture. Yet how often do the broken windows in our programs and on our teams go unnoticed or unfixed? 

From a cultural standpoint, small issues and problems that go unaddressed and unresolved send a message to the community. If we choose not to fix broken windows in our lives and within our team, what does that say about our values and culture?  We may be creating an environment that perpetuates laziness, bad attitudes and poor mental approaches, not by our action, but rather our inaction. When we neglect our responsibility as coaches to care for our environment and protect the culture on our team, it makes it easier for those around us to neglect responsibility and fail to take appropriate action. 

Hopefully we addressed a few problems and fixed a few broken windows this week, as we prepare for two very difficult series on the road at Minnesota and Nebraska. It's never easy to face Top-20 and Top-30 teams on the road, especially in the middle of the season. Hopefully the team's hard-work, preparation and vigilance pays off during this challenging stretch. 

Yvette Healy
University of Wisconsin Softball

The Voice: Rightfully, reason and responsibility prevail

The_Voice_Matt_Lepay_200.jpgFor sports fans, at times it can be as easy to criticize a network or even a specific announcer as it is to rip on your own team. Most of us have done it, right? It is just part of being a sports nut.

This time, rather than ranting about what is wrong with the broadcasting biz, please allow me to offer praise to those in charge at CBS Sports. Last Sunday during the NCAA basketball tournament, the network faced a very difficult situation. Just when you think television, or broadcasting in general, is all about sensationalism, CBS opted to be -- shall I say it? -- responsible.

By now, we all know the story. Duke and Louisville in the Midwest Regional final. An intense, high stakes game featuring two tradition-rich programs. Suddenly, the game itself took a backseat to a terrible moment. Louisville's Kevin Ware, running out to the right wing in an attempt to block a shot, landed the wrong way. He also landed near his team's bench.

Ware suffered a compound fracture that was so ghastly, several of his teammates collapsed in shock and horror. Coach Rick Pitino admitted he nearly vomited when he looked at Ware's leg.

Within a minute or so of the injury, CBS showed two replays. The rest of the coverage focused on the reaction of the players and coaches. We could see the concern from the Duke players as well as coach Mike Krzyzewski. We could see the tears from Pitino, and the look of fear and genuine sadness from Ware's teammates.

The injury to Ware reminded me of a Badgers-Manhattan NIT game at the Field House in 1996, when  Mosezell Peterson suffered an awful knee injury. Because they had an up-close view of what happened, some fans seated near the floor became ill. From our broadcast position in the upper level, I knew it was bad, but we did not have a monitor to see a replay. The following day I took at look, not from the TV copy, but rather the team's video. I didn't need to see it again.

I suppose there are some who wanted CBS to show a few more replays. They recall the 1985 Monday Night Football game when Joe Theismann's leg injury was so bad that it frightened New York Giants hall of fame linebacker Lawrence Taylor. Or closer to home, when former Badgers great Tim Krumrie broke his leg in Super Bowl XXIII.

And let's face it, there are some viewers who just HAVE to see it. And there are some TV producers and other executives who are more than willing to please, all in the name of higher ratings.

Not this time, and for that CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus deserves credit.

We don't live in the 1980s or '90s anymore, so McManus allowed modern technology and common sense to rule the day.

The Huffington Post quotes McManus as saying "If people want to go watch the footage for whatever reason, they have the right to do so. I just didn't think we had any obligation to be the facilitator of putting that footage back on the screen. We documented it, we described it and we showed it, and I think that was enough."

It was enough.

To be clear, other networks have shown restraint, but it was CBS taking the lead. Anyone who wants to see the replay can do so at his or her convenience. On Sunday afternoon, some wise decision makers in a production room chose to spare us from taking one more look at a stomach-turning moment. We knew it was bad, and there was no need to show it again and again.

At least in this instance, responsibility prevailed.

Words of wisdom

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In this week's Badger Blog, we caught up with four former Badgers to get their words of wisdom for the team. 

Anastasia (Ana) Austin  #16, UT/OF
Years Lettered: 2002-2005
Hometown: Elburn, Ill.

1. Have fun! Keep things in perspective. Softball is a game, not life or death. If you mess up, do better next time and don't dwell on it. 
2. Play for those who can't play. There are women and children out there battling disease, injuries, abuse, neglect, poverty, etc. who would love to be on a field right now but can't. You are lucky to be where you are. Play for yourself, for those who helped you get there, and for those who wish they could be there. Honor all of them by playing your best. 
3. Remember, bad days happen. It's how you respond to them and move forward that define you as a player.

Courtney Coleman  #21, 3B/OF
Years Lettered: 1996-1998
Hometown: Carmichael, Calif.

Coaches not only help us with the technical, mental and physical aspects of the game, they also inspire and motivate us. Much of our ability to compete and win is due to mental prowess followed by physical skill. I feel the most important thing to remember as a player is that you are part of an elite group of women, competing at a level many only dream to achieve. Love every minute of it, especially when it's hard; and have FUN!

Amanda Berg   #24, 1B/C
Years Lettered: 1996, 1997, 1999, 2000
Hometown: Chippewa Falls, Wis.

My advice would be to just remember how lucky you are to get the opportunity to play the game of softball and how much fun the game truly is ... plus if they still have it, it feels incredible to hit the ball over that black fence :)

Lindy Barth DesJarlais   #10, OF/1B 
Years Lettered: 1998-2001
Hometown: Brighton, Mich.

My advice would be to simply have fun and enjoy every moment. Worrying about winning or losing or stats or hits or errors or playing time is not why you fell in love with this sport. Play to enjoy and play like you are a kid again. Once you are old and out of the game you will remember and appreciate the memories of good times with wonderful teammates and coaches, specific wins and losses will not define your time at Wisconsin. 

ON WISCONSIN