UW Health Sports Medicine 

The Voice: Badgers, Gophers storming into showdown

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OK, how many of you had Wisconsin holding Indiana to 3 points last Saturday?  I would guess very few, if any, expected such a shutdown performance. After all, going into the weekend, the Hoosiers had scored at least 28 points in 10 straight games.

So much for that streak.

Through ten games this season, Wisconsin has held half of its opponents without a touchdown. No matter the era, that is an impressive stat. In this day of spread-you-out, fast football, keeping five opponents out of the end zone is borderline mind-boggling.

As the Badgers get ready to face Minnesota in the annual Battle for Paul Bunyan's Axe, they know another big-boy effort is needed in all phases.

On multiple occasions, I have written and talked about the rivalry, and how much fun it is to watch every year. This time around is even better. Why? Because the Gophers are good, and the stakes are high for both programs.

While the Badgers continue a slow climb up the BCS standings (UW is 19th this week), Minnesota checks in at No. 25. Both teams are 8-2, and both teams are rolling. The Gophers have won four straight, while the Badgers have won five in a row.

Rivalry aside, how can you not appreciate what the Gophers are accomplishing as head coach Jerry Kill works to get his health back in order? There can be very little argument that to this point in the season, Minnesota has been the league's most pleasant surprise.

While not such a surprise, the Badgers deserve a ton of credit themselves. They have managed to overcome two tough losses in September. Since then, they have done nothing but win in convincing fashion. The Badgers are playing as well as anyone in the Big Ten, and to date, continue to state a case -- on the field, and not through the media -- why they should be ranked higher than 19th.

By the way, if you are going to TCF Bank Stadium, bundle up. The forecast for this Saturday calls for a game-time temperature of about 20 degrees, which would be in the top five -- or perhaps bottom five -- coldest temps at kickoff in UW football history.

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Part of what makes watching sports so enjoyable is we never know for sure what is going to happen. In the last week, Badgers football and basketball fans have witnessed history.

First, it was James White's 93-yard touchdown run against Indiana. It is the longest run from scrimmage in program history.

Tuesday night at the Kohl Center, Frank Kaminsky's 43 point effort against North Dakota set a UW single game record. Talk about efficiency -- Kaminsky needed just 19 shots. He made 16, including for 6-for-6 from 3-point range.

North Dakota's Troy Huff wasn't too bad, either. The former Brookfield Central standout dropped in 37 points. Both Huff and Kaminsky did their damage in just 28 minutes of playing time.

It was an entertaining night in what has been a fun start for Bo Ryan's team. An early-season storyline of different players stepping up is continuing. Kaminsky's historic night followed his critical contributions in the three-point victory against the Phoenix, when he scored 16 points, grabbed eight rebounds and blocked four shots.

In the last two games, Bronson Koenig 's minutes have picked up, and he is playing well. At Green Bay, Koenig scored seven points and, on Tuesday, added five more.

Yes, this group wants to be better defensively, but the Badgers have faced good teams and some special individual players. So far, so good as Wisconsin's busy stretch of non-conference games continues.

ON WISCONSIN