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UW in South Dakota vs. St. John's? How'd we get here?

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MADISON, Wis. -- When the Badgers open the season Friday night, they will do so in atypical fashion, traveling to Sioux Falls, S.D. for a neutral-site contest with St. John's.

Wisconsin has not opened the season away from the Kohl Center since 2005 when they played in the Paradise Jam tournament in St. Thomas.

Further, UW hasn't opened against a team from one of the "Power 6" conferences since traveling to Tennessee to begin the 2000-01 season.

So how did we get here?

Two reasons: this game gives the Badgers a quality non-conference opponent on their schedule and UW gets to help out an old friend.

"This is a great RPI team," Ryan said of a St. John's team who played in the NIT last season. "They've got everybody back; they're very athletic. It's a team that's going to make some noise."

UW's opener will also mark a reunion of sorts.

Sanford Health CEO Kelby Krabbenhoft, father of former Badger Joe Krabbenhoft, was looking for two major programs to help with the grand opening of the brand-new Sanford Pentagon, which is the cornerstone of a $19-million, 162-acre sports complex.

Ryan's connection with the Krabbenhoft family made the Badgers an ideal fit to participate in the first-ever regular-season game played on the building's Heritage Court, a 3,200-seat retro-styled fieldhouse.

"There are some really neat features at the Pentagon and I'm excited to see it," Ryan added. "Plus we get to help Kelby showcase their new arena. Everybody wins."

Well, not everybody gets to win. Either Wisconsin or St. John's will return home with a loss on their ledger, but the early-season experience and resume-building contest can only help in the long run.

"I'm sure that the opponents that we're playing non-conference will give us the test that we need," Ryan concluded "And how we respond to them? We'll see."

Land of Lincoln: Badgers hit the road for Big Ten tourney

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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- The road to the 2013 NCAA tournament runs through Champaign, Ill., for many of the Big Ten's best as eight of the conference's top teams travel to the University of Illinois for the 2013 Big Ten tournament.

Follow the Badgers' journey as UWBadgers.com chronicles the team's every move from the dinner table to the locker room:

Badgers make appearance on "Wake Up Wisconsin"

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WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Although practice has yet to begin for the University of Wisconsin swimming and diving team, there was good reason to be up at 5 a.m. on Tuesday morning...and it didn't involve any type of aerobic activity.

The four Badgers (Ivy Martin, Michael Weiss, Drew teDuits & Nick Caldwell) recently named to the 2013-14 U.S. National Team, were invited to join Lindsay Veremis as guests on Wake Up Wisconsin, a daily show that appears during the mornings on WKOW.

The short trip to the west side of Madison consisted of a short stay in the main newsroom and brief tour of the WKOW studio. Below are a few tweets from the morning of the interview: 
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Well Badger fans, our regular season is well underway! We have already completed our first road trip and just finished another series against the University of Oregon as well as Oregon State. It is safe to say that the first two series were a definite success and a great start to the year with three wins and a tie.  Not only was the soccer successful, but also the traveling has been a blast with the team.

Our team has come up with a game called "What are the odds?", and it provides endless entertainment, especially while on the road.  The game is played by asking a specific player what the odds are of completing a certain crazy task, similar to a dare in the game Truth or Dare.  The player in question then responds with an odds amount, such as 1 in 10.  

At the count of three, the person who is being asked, as well as the person asking the question must say a number that falls within the two numbers that were chosen.  If the two teammates say the same number, the task must be carried through, no questions asked.  After beginning the game in preseason, we have witnessed some hilarious things, such as wild hairstyles, unusual outfits, or even jokes to be played on the coaching staff.  

The game has been an amazing team building exercise and always delivers a ton of laughs. One highlight of the game so far has been seeing freshman goalie Meghan Ledin sprint through the Madison airport pretending to miss her flight to Oregon.

Another activity that was a memorable one for the team was touring the athletic facilities at the University of Oregon.  Although there is no doubt that we consider them our enemies since we faced off this past Friday night, there is also no denying that their facilities are some of the coolest we have seen, outside UW's of course.  

Thursday morning we got to practice right outside the gates of Tracktown USA and the famous Hayward Field.  Seeing the huge posters of Prefontaine was especially exciting for Kinley McNicoll, who considers him her favorite athlete of all-time.  After practice we headed to their game field to get a feel for the turf and the stadium as a whole.  Upon seeing all of the "O's" surrounding us, it was only fitting that we got a team picture in the shape of a W to show them that we had arrived and meant business. 
 
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Once we completed our walk-around of their field, we were given inside access to their team's locker room and film room.  A definite highlight of the tour was seeing the duck-shaped candy that was available in the team's locker room.  As Nicole La Petina commented on her Instagram picture, we couldn't wait to "bEAT the Ducks".  The last stop on the tour was Autzen Football Stadium, and even though it was an amazing field, in my mind there is still no competing with Camp Randall. 

After traveling from Eugene to Corvallis, we ended our stay in Portland on Sunday afternoon/evening.  Once we no longer had a game to immediately focus on, the team got the opportunity to unwind with some shopping in downtown Portland.  The Nike store was a must-see, so it was only fitting that very few girls left without a shopping bag in their hands.  With our wallets empty, we returned to the hotel for a quick night of sleep before our 5:30 am flight home.

Traveling coast-to-coast has been an amazing experience with this year's team, just like the rest of preseason has been.  Not only did we see new places and face unfamiliar opponents, but we ended the preseason undefeated, which is a huge feat for such a young group.  Although the trips have been filled with both on-field success and off-field fun, we are ready to turn the page and focus our sights on our huge game Friday night against Vanderbilt.  

The match will be our regular season home opener and also our promotional PAC the MAC game.  We can't wait to return to Madison to keep the unbeaten streak alive, and more importantly, protect our home turf.
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Hello Badgers fans! Our team certainly has been busy since the last time I was able to report on the team activities and other behind-the-scenes information. 

One highlight of the previous week was the annual Red-White game on Tuesday night. The Red-White game is an intrasquad scrimmage that we use as preparation for the season. All of the players bring both their red and white jerseys in order to switch between positions and teams so the coaches are able to get a final look at various systems of play before our first exhibition game. Although this year's game was not open to the public and was a bit of a struggle due to some tired, sore, and bruised bodies, it was amazing to be back on McClimon and playing on a larger scale.

The Red-White game was the perfect warm up for our big season opener against Marquette that occurred this past Thursday night. Although it was only an exhibition match-up and doesn't count towards our rankings for the actual season, Marquette is one of our largest rivals. The Badgers have not beaten Marquette on our home field for as long as Paula has coached here in Madison. 

In addition, Paula always stresses the importance of having the goal to "win the state of Wisconsin". Therefore, going into the game we all knew it was going to be no small task to get the win. However, one great way to get our minds off of the preseason nerves before the big game was our coveted tradition of a pre-game dance party (Video Courtesy of Cara Walls: @Caarraaa). 


More commonly referred to as simply "DP's", these dance parties occur prior to every time that we take the field, both home and away. Some dance parties are more energized and hilarious than others, and let me tell you, the Marquette DP was one for the record books. Whether it was the team-wide "Wobble" or Ke$ha karaoke, the dance party was the perfect way to gain some energy and momentum to carry into warm-ups and the game.

Once warm-ups were over and the starting eleven took the field, it was clear that the team chemistry and energy from the legendary DP was going to feed into our play. For the first time in the Paula Wilkins era at UW, we not only beat Marquette, but also played a great first game to get the result of 5-1. Although it did feel amazing to sing "Varsity" for the first time on our home turf this season, we ended the game knowing that the true work had just begun.

Following Marquette, we were rewarded with the first full day off since the beginning of preseason besides some recovery and rehab. Some spent the day napping, some spent their time shopping, and some of us even chose to spend our time crafting and creating decorations for our new apartments and dorms. After our chance to recover and rejuvenate, we were excited to take the field for a weekend of practicing in preparation for the beginning of our actual season.  

This week we will show all of our preseason work and be put to the test as we start our regular season on the road at UConn and Illinois State. Hopefully I'll have a few good stories from the road trip! On Wisconsin

- Carly

Vogel's View: Preseason heats up as team preps for Marquette

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Well several days have passed and it's safe to say that we are in the full swing of preseason! Two-a-days have definitely taken a toll on our bodies, but luckily we've had plenty of team activities to break up some of the practicing. 

On Saturday morning we got back in the weight room with Steph (our strength trainer) for some agility work and a lifting session. Immediately afterwards, we broke up into groups of four and ran from Camp Randall to Picnic Point.  For those of you who don't know, Picnic Point is a gorgeous park right along the Lakeshore bike path. A majority of the park is a peninsula that juts out into Lake Mendota for some amazing views of the water and the city of Madison. 

Once all of the groups made it to the very tip of the peninsula, our coaches Paula and Kristen were waiting for us with bags of food so we could have a team picnic for some extra bonding time. The picnic was a definite success and was a great way to get in some rest, recovery, and team building before practice in the afternoon.  

The following day (Sunday), we got to enjoy another team activity after practice in the morning.  However, instead of staying on campus, we carpooled out to McKenna Meuer's house on the west side of Madison to enjoy a home cooked meal and a movie.  The feature film of choice was Billy Madison.  

Surprisingly enough, it was the first time many of the girls had ever seen the movie. Although the movie delivered some great laughs, the obvious hit of the night was the overflowing crockpot of the Meuer's famous cheesy potatoes. Needless to say, we all left with very full and happy stomachs.

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The various team activities have been a favorite of the players, and there are many more in store. But one of my personal favorites thus far was the dance battle after practice on Thursday. Thanks to our new freshman Micaela Powers, we had a Beats by Dre speaker system to really get the music playing loudly. 

For the opening round we selected team dance phenom Marta Wangard and the outgoing freshman goalie Meghan Ledin.  Marta stole the show with her perfectly performed "Dougie", but Meghan was a tough competitor. There is no doubt that it was the perfect duo to kick off the dance battles that will take place for the rest of the season.

I hope you all stayed tuned for more behind-the-scenes info from our preseason camp!  We can't wait to finally take the field against Marquette on Thursday and I'm sure there will be plenty to report on afterwards. 

On Wisconsin!

- Carly 

Vogel's View: Wisconsin Women's Soccer All-Access

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It's that time of year again! For the 26 of us on the University of Wisconsin women's soccer team summertime has faded away and preseason is officially underway.  My name is Carly Vogel, and I am a junior defender on the team majoring in journalism. For the next couple of weeks I will be giving you an all-access pass behind-the-scenes of the Badger women's preseason.

We have finally finished our first day of practice, and there is a lot to report on! Technically, our first day of the season was Monday, August 6th, which was filled with endless meetings and medical testing for the freshmen and newcomers. We all reunited at 8:45 in the morning for our normal round-robin of meetings with members of the UW administration, student-athlete development, compliance and sports medicine staffs, among others.

Afterwards, the freshmen were whisked away to the UW hospital for medical testing. Meanwhile, us upperclassmen had the tough job of relaxing until our next meeting that started at 2:00pm. That meeting pretty much flew by since all of us were only concerned about one thing and one thing only... "Second Christmas". This would be the term that our team uses for equipment dispersal at the beginning of each season, in which we are never skimmed on some awesome gear for workouts and practices! 

Once the excitement died down, we had our first official team meeting where we reviewed all team rules and got our schedule for the preseason. The last activity of opening day was some team bonding with the Newlywed Game.  Kristen Weiss (assistant coach) hosted as we learned some very interesting facts about our new teammates and each other. Some of the highlights: Almost everyone's favorite Olympic sport besides soccer is gymnastics, and almost everyone would call their dad if their car broke down and they needed AAA. 

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The first day definitely breezed by, but Tuesday was just a little more tiring. We started the day bright and early (only 9:00am) with our first official practice of the 2013 season! We started it off with a bang, immediately jumping into speed, agility, and fitness testing on the turf of McClain. Once we all recovered and scooted out to University Bay field, it was time for some fun. 

Our first training included competitive 4v4 and 8v8. It was truly great to be back on the field with everyone and such a blast. Once the first practice was officially a wrap, we returned to Camp Randall for some recovery ice baths. Needless to say, ice baths are not a favorite of many of the players on the team. We also learned pretty quickly that the key to survival in one of the cold tubs is wearing socks. 

After that torture, we finally had some lunch and headed back to our apartments for a much needed nap. The second session of the day was equally as exhausting.  1v1's, 3v2's, and 5v5 were definitely a challenge after the intense morning session that we had already completed. But to end the day on a really high note, Paula informed us that two people would be dance battling to conclude each day of practicing this preseason! Be sure to stay tuned for a recap from Thursday's opening round!

I can't wait to keep you all updated on all of the latest behind-the-scenes Badgers preseason highlights! On Wisconsin!

-Carly

Blog: Packer's Perspective

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Hey hockey fans! My name is Madison Packer and I am a senior on the Badgers women's hockey team. I am an English and creative writing major here at Wisconsin, and one of my passions along with hockey, is writing. This season I am teaming up with our athletic communications staff and my fellow Badgers to bring you a look at life as a member of the women's hockey team. I will be posting a blog, to keep fans and followers in the loop about games, activities and life in general for myself and my teammates. The blog will consist of game and practice information, behind the scenes experiences, and video interviews with my teammates on aspects related to our season and life away from the rink.

My intention with this blog is to inform fans about the players, and give you a look at the girl behind the mask. There will be opportunities for you to post to my blog and have questions answered by a Badger, updates about life on the road, and first hand reflections post game from the point of view of a player. The blog will be monitored and updated every week, several times, and will be the most accurate and reliable way to keep up with the team. I am looking forward to this opportunity and reaching out to the fans who have been supportive of our program over the years!

Stay tuned for the first official post, as I will report on the summer life we have been living these last eight weeks in Madison! The first blog will be packed with information from over the summer, and is something you won't want to miss. On Wisconsin!

Landry, Butch fall in Elite Eight of tournament play

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Following the Orlando Summer League (July 7-12), which featured recent graduates Ryan Evans (Detroit Pistons) and Jared Berggren (Orlando Magic), the focus of GMs, scouts and fans shifts to Las Vegas where the 2013 NBA Summer League continues play from July 12-22. 

Former Badgers Jordan Taylor (Toronto Raptors), Marcus Landry (LA Lakers), Brian Butch (NBA D-League Select), Mike Bruesewitz (Milwaukee Bucks) and Jon Leuer (Memphis Grizzlies) are all looking to earn their stripes in the Vegas summer league and solidify a spot in a teams' rotation or in the case of some, an invite to an NBA squad's fall camp. The Las Vegas Summer League, held at the Thomas & Mack Center and COX Pavilion, will tip off July 12 and concludes with the first-ever summer league championship game on Monday, July 22. 


Brian Butch (2004-08) - NBA D-League Select Team
Butch displayed a bevy of solid performances during his time with the D-League select team, including a double-double (18 pts, 11 reb) in a tournament play win over the Minnesota T'Wolves. Despite a quiet outing in the D-League's Elite Eight loss to Charlotte, Butch finished with averages of 8.2 points and 4.8 rebounds per game it will be tough for GMs and scouts not to take a second and third look at Butch when evaluating and deciding on bigs to invite to fall camp this upcoming season.

Schedule (All times CT)
Saturday, July 13: NBA D-League 83, Minnesota 81 - 18 mins, 4 pts, 3 ast, 3 stl
Sunday, July 14: NBA D-League 81, LA Clippers 77 - 23 mins, 8 pts (2-6 FG, 4-4 FT), 2 reb 
Tuesday, July 16: NBA D-League 82, Dallas 75 - 16 mins, 8 pts (3-4 FG, 2-2 FT), 6 reb

Tournament Play (All times CT)
Thursday, July 18: NBA D-League 83, Minnesota 75 - 28 mins, 18 pts (6-9 FG, 2-4 3FG, 4-6 FT), 11 reb
Saturday, July 20: Charlotte 85, NBA D-League 75 - 17 mins, 3 pts (1-4 FG, 1-3 3FG), 4 reb
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Mike Bruesewitz (2010-13) - Milwaukee Bucks
Bruesewitz's summer league experience concluded on Friday with a 90-80 loss to the San Antonio Spurs. Despite only playing five minutes combined in the previous four games, Bruesewitz was a spark off the bench for the Bucks in their finale, earning 16 minutes and scoring five points on 2-for-3 shooting.

After a career in which he earned the label of the "Ultimate Glue Guy", Bruesewitz will take that same mindset and persona and attempt to turn it into a professional basketball career. That journey begins in the NBA Summer League for the St. Paul, Minn., native who is teaming up with the Milwaukee Bucks, where he will look to impress coaches, scouts and GMs alike, with his tenacity and passion, along with his fearlessness around the basket and his defensive intensity. 

Schedule (All times CT):
Saturday, July 13: Milwaukee 88, Denver 74 - DNP
Sunday, July 14: Milwaukee 69, New Orleans 61 - DNP
Tuesday, July 16: Golden State 84, Milwaukee 72 - 5 mins, 6 pts (2-2 3FG), 1 reb, 1 stl

Tournament Play (All times CT)
Thursday, July 18: LA Lakers 72, Milwaukee 68 - DNP
Friday, July 19: San Antonio 90, Milwaukee 80 - 16 mins, 5 pts (2-3 FG, 1-2 3FG), 1 reb, 1 ast

Related Links:
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Bruesewitz holds court after on-court session 
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Marcus Landry (2006-09) - LA Lakers 
Due to his old school personality and experienced mentality both on and off the court, Landry has and always will be known as an elder statesman, regardless of where he plays. His play in the 2013 Las Vegas Summer League was on par with that persona as his numbers mirrored that of an experienced NBA role player. 

Landry ended his summer league experience in the top-20 among all NBA summer league participants in scoring (15.2 ppg), while grabbing 4.7 rebounds per game for a LA Lakers squad that fell to top-seeded Golden State in the Elite Eight. Landry has already been tabbed by some as a definite to be invited to the Lakers' fall camp and the relationship between LA head coach Mike D'Antoni and Landry, dating back to their time in New York, only improves those chances.

Schedule (All times CT):
Friday, July 12: Cleveland 70, LA Lakers 62 - 18 mins, 14 pts (3-8 FG, 5-7 FT), 2 reb, 1 stl, 1 blk
Sunday, July 14: LA Lakers 81, Portland 63 - 25 mins, 14 pts (5-14 FG, 2-7 3FG), 5 reb, 2 ast, 1 stl 
Monday, July 15: LA Lakers 77, LA Clippers 65 - 29 mins, 16 pts (6-12 FG, 2-8 3FG), 6 reb, 2 blk, 1 stl

Tournament Play (All times CT)
Thursday, July 18: LA Lakers 72, Milwaukee 68 - 28 mins, 18 pts (5-13 FG, 3-7 3FG, 5-7 FT), 6 reb
Saturday, July 20: Golden State 83, LA Lakers 77 - 32 mins, 14 pts (5-10 FG, 3-5 3FG, 1-2 FT), 2 reb, 2 ast, 1 stl

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Jordan Taylor (2009-12) - Toronto Raptors
Taylor garnered starts in two of Toronto's three summer league contests, but his minutes took a hit with the addition of former Marquette grad Dwight Buycks, who inked a deal with Toronto as a back-up PG for the 2013-14 season following the Orlando Summer League. 

Schedule (All times CT):
Saturday, July 13: Miami 81, Toronto 72 - 21 mins, 5 pts, 2 ast, 1 reb
Sunday, July 14: Toronto 82, San Antonio 76 - 18 mins, 0 pts, 1 reb, 1 stl
Tuesday, July 16: Toronto 81, Sacramento 70 - 4 mins, 0 pts, 1 stl

Tournament Play (All times CT)
Thursday, July 18: Toronto 95, Denver 78 - 8 mins, 0 pts, 1 reb
Saturday, July 20: Phoenix 103, Toronto 98 - 2 mins, 0 pts
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Jared Berggren (2009-13) - Cleveland Cavaliers/Orlando Magic
Berggren played sparingly for the Cleveland Cavaliers during the Las Vegas summer league. He tallied a rebound in nine minutes of action during the Cavs' final summer league contest, an 82-76 loss at the hands of the Miami Heat.

Garnering the start in his 2013 NBA Orlando Summer League finale, Berggren chipped in five points and four rebounds. The Princeton, Minn., native saw action in just two games for the Magic, earning the starting nod in his finale.

Although it wasn't enough to garner the win or go a long way in solidifying him a roster spot come fall, his final showing will hopefully give the former second-team All-Big Ten honoree something to build on heading into the latter part of the summer.

Schedule (All times CT):
Sunday, July 7: Orlando 95, Boston 88 - 2 mins, 0 pts, 0 rebs
Monday, July 8: OKC 79, Orlando 78 - DNP
Tuesday, July 9: Miami 94, Orlando 80 - DNP
Thursday, July 11: Orlando 90, Philadelphia 89 - DNP
Friday, July 12: Boston 102, Orlando 83 - 20 mins, 5 pts, 4 reb, 1 blk, 1 ast

Tournament Play (All times CT)
Las Vegas
Thursday, July 18: Cleveland 72, San Antonio 66 - 4 mins, 2 pts, 1 reb
Saturday, July 20: Miami 82, Cleveland 76 - 9 mins, 0 pts, 1 reb

Related Links:
Wisconsin State Journal: Berggren got sound advice 
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Ryan Evans (2009-13) - Detroit Pistons
In his 2013 NBA Summer League finale, Evans not only garnered the start at shooting guard, but he also exploded for 19 points on 7-for-15 (.460) shooting from the field and a 3-for-4 (.750) performance from the free throw stripe. Unfortunately, his efforts weren't enough as Detroit fell to the Miami Heat in tournament play.

Evans ended his 2013 NBA Summer League experience with averages of 7.5 points and 3.0 rebounds per game and although his numbers aren't eye-popping, he definitely left NBA scouts and GMs in attendance at the Amway Center on Friday morning with something to salivate over.

Schedule (All times CT):
Sunday, July 7: Detroit 76, Brooklyn 67 - DNP 
Monday, July 8: Boston 93, Detroit 63 - 19 mins, 6 pts (2-7 FG, 1-4 3FG), 3 reb, 2 stl, 1 blk
Tuesday, July 9: OKC 79, Detroit 75 - 11 mins, 2 pts (1-3 FG), 2 reb, 1 ast
Thursday, July 11: Detroit 78, Miami 77 - 6 mins, 2 pts (1-2 FG), 2 reb
Friday, July 12: Miami 90, Detroit 85 - 30 mins, 19 pts (7-15 FG, 2-7 3FG, 3-4 FT), 5 reb, 2 stl, 1 ast

Related Links:
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Jon Leuer (2008-11) - Memphis Grizzlies
Leuer, who recently signed a three-year contract to rejoin the Grizzlies beginning in 2013-14, was expected to compete for valuable minutes off of the bench next season. After spraining an ankle during the first practice in Las Vegas, it is doubtful Leuer will have an opportunity to begin that quest during the NBA Summer League.

Leuer did not appear in any of the Grizzlies' six summer league games due to the injury.

Schedule (All times CT)
Saturday, July 13: Chicago 81, Memphis 67 - DNP 
Sunday, July 14: Cleveland 69, Memphis 58 - DNP
Tuesday, July 16: Phoenix 100, Memphis 88 - DNP

Tournament Play (All times CT)
Wednesday, July 17: Memphis 90 vs. Washington 83 - DNP
Thursday, July 18: Charlotte 92, Memphis 84 - DNP
Friday, July 19: Memphis 91, Denver 84 - DNP

Related Links:

Lucas at Large: Brust gets NASCAR job for a day

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Ben Brust was shown a map of the Road America track at Elkhart Lake and prodded to pinpoint his location during last Saturday's NASCAR Nationwide Series race, the Johnsonville Sausage 200.

Using a pen to identify where he was standing on the winding 14-turn, 4-mile circuit that winds through scenic Kettle Moraine, he jabbed at the map and said, "I'm near a hamburger stand right here."

X marked the spot -- or in this case -- the spotter, who just happened to be the leading scorer on last season's Wisconsin basketball team. That would be Brust, a passionate NASCAR devotee.

Brust was spotting for Brendan Gaughan, a 37-year-old driver for Richard Childress Racing and a former walk-on basketball player at Georgetown University.

"Boom, right there," said Brust, pointing to the Road America map, "I had him (Gaughan) coming out of (turn) 6, the slight right at 7 and then I had a really good view of 8 from my angle."

If necessary, he could also partially follow the No. 26 car (Gaughan's car) through turns 9 and 10, otherwise known as the "Carousel" -- a lengthy tight-turning stretch that curves into a straightaway.

Whereas one full-time spotter is standard for oval racing, multiple spotters are necessary on a road course to see everything. Brust, a volunteer, was one of Gaughan's three spotters at Elkhart Lake.

Armed with a two-way radio, he might alert Gaughan to a driver that had spun out ahead of him by merely saying, "Spin in front, spin in front. Check up, check up. All clear, no pressure."

Short is sweet for Brust who has had some experience as a race fan monitoring scanners. "It's got to be precise and to the point," he said, "to make sure he (Gaughan) knows what's going on."

Less can be more. As such, there were some situations where Brust had to use his best judgment on what to say or not say. "Brendan trusted me," he said. "He knew I'd be able to handle it."

Brust and Gaughan were brought together by fate, resolve and racing.

A couple of years ago, ESPN basketball analyst Steven Bardo alerted Brust to Gaughan.

"He (Bardo) said, 'Hey, I heard you're into NASCAR, if you get a chance, you should check out Brendan,'" Brust recounted. "He put the name into my head and I went on Twitter and looked him up."

Brust learned that Gaughan, a Las Vegas native, was a 5-foot-9 walk-on guard at Georgetown; a practice player that wound up befriending Allen Iverson and seeing action in 25 career games.

Gaughan was also a placekicker on the Hoyas' football team, which competes within the NCAA's Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). In 1994, he converted on 39 of 40 extra points.

As a driver, Gaughan has steadily evolved from off-road to NASCAR. There had been some Twitter dialogue between Brust and Gaughan before meeting at the Chicagoland Speedway last year.

"I got a chance to talk with him," Brust said, "and hang out with him a little bit."

Following the UW's elimination from the NCAA tournament, Brust and two of his teammates, Jared Berggren and Dan Fahey, headed to Las Vegas, where Brust again crossed paths with Gaughan.

The Gaughan family has strong Vegas roots and resources, including the South Point Hotel and Casino, a sponsor for Brendan Gaughan, a veteran of the Sprint Cup and Nationwide series.

When Brust was at Road America last year, he was talking with one of Elliott Sadler's spotters, who suggested that if he had the time next year that he might look into spotting for a driver.

"It was kind of joking, kind of serious," Brust said. "But it gave me the idea."

Brust ran it past Gaughan during spring break in Las Vegas.

"When it came up," Brust related, "he said, 'Do you want to do it?' I said, 'Of course.' As it got closer (to the Elkhart Lake event), he texted, 'Still want to do it?' And I replied, 'Yeah, of course.'"

Gaughan made it happen. "Spotting isn't athletic," Gaughan told The Sporting News, "but you have to use your brain, you have to make decisions on the fly, which he (Brust) is used to (doing)."

Brust admitted to having some pre-race anxiety, not unlike the feeling prior to an opening tipoff.

"I was a little nervous," he said. "A nervous excitement, because I knew that I could do it. It's the same type of thing (in basketball); I'm there to help the team be successful.

"So I wanted to do my job and do it right."

As part of his pre-race preparation, Brust viewed a YouTube video featuring a road course driver, Ron Fellows, whose on-board camera taped laps 13-34 during a Road America event.

"I used it to memorize the track -- it's braking points and what are good passing zones -- just to give me some familiarity," said Brust, who had previously watched the race as a spectator from turn 5.

"That's where a lot of the action was, but I didn't know the whole track."

Brust arrived over an hour before the race to get his spotting directions from Team Gaughan and stake out his territory. He estimated that there were nearly 30 spotters in the same area.

"Everybody minds their own business and does their job," said Brust, who was originally scheduled to work out of the "Canada Corner" before a change in assignments.

Late in the race, when Gaughan encountered some difficulty in that corner, Brust fielded some disparaging tweets on Twitter from fans who mistakenly thought that he was responsible.

It was nothing that he couldn't handle; after all, he has played in Big Ten road venues.

Although none of the Childress cars were exceptional last Saturday -- Gaughan finished 11th -- Brust sounded like he was truly in his element. "I would do it again in a heartbeat," he said.

But that will have to wait.

"Right now, I have to focus on what's ahead," said Brust, whose eyes are fixed on his senior year at Wisconsin and the summer training phase in Madison. "I'm here to lift, get stronger and get better.

"Getting better in every category possible is one of my goals every year. We have a lot of young guys (six freshmen) so it's my job to set a good example for them and help them get better each day."

The thought of another Big Ten season, his final one, had his heart racing, as you might expect.

ON WISCONSIN