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Badgers and NHL training camps

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It's not the easiest task to keep track of all the former Badger hockey players skating in the professional ranks these days, but we attempted to bite off one piece and find out what Badgers have been in NHL training camps up to this point. So far we've counted 25 names, with a 26th on a training camp roster, but holding out as a restricted free agent. The number has slowly increased as we discovered new names on rosters. Some have already been waived, while some have been sent to AHL affiliates.

Here's the list, in no particular order

Matthew Ford - Washington Capitals
Jake Gardiner - Toronto Maple Leafs
Brian Elliott - St. Louis Blues
Joe Pavelski - San Jose Sharks
Brad Winchester - San Jose Sharks
Derek Stepan - New York Rangers
Ryan McDonagh - New York Rangers
Adam Burish - Dallas Stars
Jake Dowell - Dallas Stars
Tom Gilbert - Edmonton Oilers
Brian Fahey - Chicago Blackhawks
Blake Geoffrion - Nashville Predators
Ryan Suter - Nashville Predators
Craig Smith - Nashville Predators
Davis Drewiske - Los Angeles Kings
Dany Heatley - Minnesota Wild
Brendan Smith - Detroit Red Wings
Cody Goloubef - Columbus Blue Jackets
Andrew Joudrey - Columbus Blue Jackets
Jamie McBain - Carolina Hurricanes
Rene Bourque - Calgary Flames
Joe Piskula - Calgary Flames
Ben Street - Pittsburgh Penguins
Jack Skille - Florida Panthers
Steve Reinprecht - Florida Panthers
Kyle Turris - Phoenix Coyotes (Unsigned Restricted Free Agent)

Men's hockey opens at No. 17

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College hockey is upon us. That became more apparent on Monday when the USCHO.com and the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Polls released their first prognostication for the 2011-12 campaign.

The young (20 of 26 skaters are either sophomores or freshmen) Badgers check in at No. 17 in the USCHO.com Poll and in the receiving votes category of the USA Today Poll, which equates to No. 18. That's three spots higher than the Badgers ended the 2010-11 season in both polls.

Notre Dame comes in at No. 1 in the USCHO.com poll, while Miami tops the USA Today survey. For the WCHA, North Dakota (3/3, Denver (4/4), Colorado College (7/7), defending NCAA champion Minnesota Duluth (8/10), Nebraska Omaha (14/14) and Minnesota (19/RV), join the Badgers in the rankings.

Some context regarding preseason polls. The 2006 NCAA champion Badgers opened the season ranked No. 10, the 2010 NCAA runner-up Badgers opened at No. 13 and No. 14 and the 2003-04 Badgers opened by receiving votes, but went on a 15-game unbeaten streak early on and were within an overtime goal of the Frozen Four.

Official practice for the Badgers begins Saturday, while the Kohl Center reawakens Friday, Oct. 7 when Northern Michigan visits Madison.

Now an author, former Badger Andy Kilbride in Madison for book signing

Andy Kilbride was never cut from the Wisconsin men's basketball team. But if he was, he might have been prepared to handle the rejection.

KILBRIDE2.jpgAfter a couple firings and a lay-off in the turbulent investment world, the former UW shooting guard has penned a humorous, yet insightful advice book titled, "A Man's Guide to Getting Fired."

Kilbride will be in Madison on Friday, Sept. 30, to promote his new book. He will appear at Underground Printing (521 State Street) to sign books from 5-7 p.m.

A three-year starter for the Badgers, Kilbride (1992-95) still ranks seventh in UW history for career 3-point shooting (41.8 percent). He is now the founder of Foster Bridge Partners, LLC, a management and consulting firm, but has recently added author to his resume. Kilbride is using his new book to inspire readers to create a life centered on their passions. "A Man's Guide to Getting Fired" reveals the process he developed to push his own life and career forward.

"I stopped climbing the corporate ladder and made my own way," Kilbride said. "Now I can look back on my former miserable life with clarity and objectivity. I want to share with you what I have learned from my experiences - what I did right and what I did wrong."

book_cover.jpgAccording to Kilbride, there is a lack of available information on what to do after you lose your job and before you find a new one. With this in mind, he offers witty anecdotes and liberating advice intended to help men understand what they're going through, look within to recalibrate their professional goals and move on with their lives.

"A Man's Guide to Getting Fired" is available for sale online at www.andrewkilbride.com or Amazon.com.

Blue Ribbon Yearbook names Taylor preseason first-team All-American

Last season Jordan Taylor burst onto the college basketball scene with a monster year and a few signature games. For his efforts, Taylor was widely rewarded with second-team All-America honors.

Blue Ribbon 2011-12 Cover.jpgCount Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook as the first to think Taylor can make the leap to first-team All-American in 2011-12.

The annual preview magazine has included Taylor on its preseason first-team All-American list, joining Harrison Barnes (North Carolina), Terrance Jones (Kentucky), Kris Joseph (Syracuse) and Jared Sullinger (Ohio State).

Taylor enters his senior season after averaging 18.1 points per game (5th in Big Ten) and 20.1 ppg during conference play last year. A lethal shooter, Taylor shot 43% from 3-point range (7th in Big Ten) and 85% from the free throw line (4th in Big Ten). Taylor also led the nation with a 3.83 assist-to-turnover ratio.

In its 31st year of publication, the Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook is one of the most comprehensive college basketball publications in the world. On newsstands in October, Blue Ribbon gives readers thorough, up-to-date and timely evaluations of every Division I team in the country.

To pre-order your copy today, visit www.blueribbonyearbookonline.com or call 877-807-4857.

Red-White Scrimmage set for Oct. 30

The Wisconsin men's basketball team has announced preliminary details for the annual Red-White Scrimmage sponsored by the University Bookstore. Fans can get their first look at the 2011-12 Badgers on Sunday, Oct. 30, beginning at 2 p.m. at the Kohl Center.

101016MBB-1247-Fanss.jpgAdmission, as always, is free to the public and the UW coaches and players will be available following the scrimmage for a one-hour autograph signing.

Former Badger Keaton Nankivil, who is now playing professional in Germany, was the leading scorer in each of the last three Red-White Scrimmages. Who will steal the headlines this year?

Wisconsin returns a pair of starters from last season's Sweet 16 team in second-team All-American Jordan Taylor and backcourt mate Josh Gasser. Junior Mike Bruesewitz, who averaged nearly 20 minutes per game and made 13 starts a year ago, returns in 2011-12, albeit with much less hair.

The Red-White Scrimmage will also offer fans their first look at the six newcomers on the Badgers' roster. Bo Ryan's staff welcomes five freshmen and transfer Zach Bohannon into the fray in 2011-12.

Mark your calendars now for the Red-White Scrimmage on October 30 and stay tuned to UWBadgers.com for more details as the event draws near. 

Season steps off at first Hill

Leaves changing color, weekends full of football and giant men in red and white running "The Hill" at Elver Park... rites of fall in Wisconsin.

IMG_0759.JPGThe 2011-12 Wisconsin men's basketball season officially started on Sept. 7 with the year's first running of "The Hill." The time-honored tradition stepped off with eight repetitions up and down the hill that measures over 100 yards long and roughly a 35-percent grade.

The team will increase reps until reaching 22 by mid-October.

On day one, 15 of the 17 Badgers were in attendance, with only Jared Berggren and Rob Wilson absent due to a class conflict. Jordan Taylor (recovering from ankle surgery in July) and J.D. Wise (broken foot in 2010-11) were both held from running the hill, but did other strength and conditioning activities on the side.

Wearing weighted vests, Taylor and Wise took turns throwing weighted medicine balls backward up the hill and doing various other exercises.

"The foot's feeling pretty good, it's getting there," Taylor said after the workout."I'm about 70 percent right now. It should be better by the next week or two."

Truth or myth... Badgers top 10 non-conference schedule?

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Every year when schedules are announced, fans and experts alike quickly analyze the lineup of games and make judgments about the schedule's toughness.

It's a natural reaction and we all do it. We go down the list game-by-game and say: "easy win, tough game, easy win, easy win, tough game, toss-up, no chance, easy win, etc."

081223MBB-6210-30_sm.jpgWe all try to determine whether the schedule is easy, hard or somewhere in the middle. That's how we pass the time and fill our water cooler discussions when we're still two months from tip-off.

The thing that often goes unrecognized, is that this preseason ritual is based off of the previous' results and hype surrounding each opponent. The real measure of a schedule should be done after the season when you can analyze how each opponent performed instead of how each opponent was supposed to perform.

"Schools can never really be sure how their non-league opponents will fare in a given season," ESPN.com's Joe Lunardi wrote recently. "Teams can schedule so-called "up" games in tournaments, home-and-home series, one-way road trips, etc., and said opponents can underachieve for any number of reasons."

Using Wisconsin as an example, last season provided two terrific examples of how unpredictable scheduling can be. At the time UW faced Notre Dame in the championship game of the Old Spice Classic, the Irish were not even receiving votes in the AP poll and were largely predicted to finish anywhere from seventh to 10th in the Big East. Notre Dame went on to go 27-7 and finish second in the rugged conference.

On the flip side, UW's dance partner in the 2010 Big Ten/ACC Challenge was NC State, an up-and-coming team that entered the season with a returning all-conference pick, a top-ranked recruiting class and as a lock for a top-half finish in the ACC. Instead, the season unraveled quickly (including an 87-48 loss at the Kohl Center) and led to head coach Sidney Lowe's resignation and a 15-16 record.

Notre Dame or NC State from 2011 illustrate that predicting the future is a difficult exercise. The real analysis of a schedule should come when the nets are being cut down at the Final Four.

With that in mind, Lunardi recently examined the schedules of every BCS team over the last four seasons based on results, not predictions. He ranked the schools that have played the toughest non-conference schedules over that span and revealed that Wisconsin has played the ninth-toughest slate on that list.

So... truth or myth, Wisconsin plays weak non-conference schedules? The proof is in the numbers:

Nonconference SOS (Last four seasons)

School (Avg Rank) 2011 2010 2009 2008
1. Tennessee 19.50 3 71 1 3
2. Georgetown 33.50 2 4 7 121
3. Arizona 36.75 46 20 77 4
4. Duke 44.50 47 42 50 39
5. Michigan State 47.50 17 105 22 46
6. Connecticut 52.00 38 6 105 59
7. Syracuse 52.00 126 34 28 20
8. Michigan 55.75 52 103 53 15
9. Wisconsin 59.00 111 29 42 54
10. Pittsburgh 61.50 94 47 15 90
West Virginia 61.50 4 26 60 156

Cradle of All-Americans: Kansas, Kentucky... Wisconsin?

Quick... which schools have had the most All-Americans in college basketball history?

Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina... yep, those are no brainers. What about Duke? Sure. UCLA? Of course. Wisconsin?
That's right, Wisconsin. While adding Jordan Taylor (AP second-team) to the All-American section of the Wisconsin men's basketball record book, I unearthed some information that, quite simply, blew me away. Try this on for size.

Only Kansas and Kentucky have had more men's basketball All-Americans than Wisconsin.

According the NCAA Official Record Book, Wisconsin has had 17 individuals earn a total of 20 consensus first-team All-America honors. UW's 17 All-Americans ranks third among all Div. I schools and the Badgers' 20 All-America honors ranks seventh all-time.

Here are the numbers:
Team                   Individuals
1. Kansas                   20
2. Kentucky                18
3. Wisconsin              17
4. North Carolina          16
    Purdue                    16
6. Duke                       15
7. Penn                       14
    UCLA                      14
9. Columbia                 13
    Notre Dame             13

Team                All-Americans
1. Kansas                   27
2. North Carolina         25
3. Purdue                   24
    Penn                      24
5. Kentucky                23
6. Notre Dame             22
7. Wisconsin               20
    UCLA                     20
9. Columbia                19
10. Duke                    18

Granted, most of UW's All-Americans came in the early 1900s, but still... an All-American is an All-American. If UW ever decides to hang jerseys in the rafters, it would get pretty crowded in the Kohl Center. Here is the honor roll:

1905 - C.D. McLees, Chris Steinmetz, Sr.*
1907 - Frank Arthur
1908 - Hugh Harper, Helmer Swenholt
1909 - Helmer Swenholt
1911 - Walter Scoville
1912 - Otto Stangel*
1913 - Allen Johnson
1914 - Carl Harper, Eugene Van Gent
1915 - George Levis
1916 - William Chandler, George Levis*
1917 - Harold Olsen
1918 - William Chandler*, Eber Simpson
1941 - Gene Englund
1942 - John Kotz
2007 - Alando Tucker

* Helms Foundation National Player of the Year

Former Badger Markolf lands at UIW

MBB_110816_Markolf_Ian.jpgCame across this article in my news feed recently about former Wisconsin big-man Ian Markolf. The 7-foot center from San Antonio has apparently decided to return to basketball and will play for NCAA Division II school Incarnate Word in San Antonio.

Markolf spent two seasons on the Badger hoops team (2009 and '10) before leaving the program. He remained in school at UW during the 2010-11 academic year, but has now transferred closer to home.

"I just got the itch to play basketball and Incarnate Word seemed like the perfect fit for me," Markolf told television KENS in Texas. "I grew up playing with some of the guys on the team, and I started talking to them this spring about maybe transferring here.
"It turned out to be a pretty simple process. Incarnate Word has a great academic program, and I think I'll have a chance at some great business opportunities when I graduate. I'm also going to get the chance to play basketball with a great group of guys."

Badgers to play finale headliner of Big Ten/ACC Challenge

ESPN has finalized the network and time assignments for the 13th annual Big Ten/ACC Challenge Presented by DICK'S Sporting Goods to be played Nov. 29-30. Wisconsin will play in the final game of the challenge when it travels to North Carolina on Wed. Nov. 30. The game is scheduled to start at 8:30 p.m (CT) and will be televised on ESPN.

BIG TEN ACC CHALLENGE LOGO.jpgThe 2011 Challenge involves six teams ranked in an early preseason top 25 by ESPN.com senior college basketball writer Andy Katz, including three in the top five: No. 1 North Carolina, No. 3 Ohio State, No. 5 Duke, No. 11 Wisconsin, No. 21 Florida State and No. 23 Michigan.

The Big Ten won the Commissioner's Cup for the second consecutive year while the ACC won the previous 10 Challenges. In the event of a 6-6 tie this year, the Commissioner's Cup will remain with the conference that won the previous year.

The Badgers own the most wins of any Big Ten team in the Challenge with six and share the top winning percentage (6-6, .500) with Ohio State (5-5, .500) in Challenge games.

2011 Big Ten/ACC Challenge schedule:

Date                 Time (ET)  Game                                                         Network
Tue, Nov 29       7 p.m.        No. 23 Michigan at Virginia                            ESPN2
                        7:15 p.m.    Northwestern at Georgia Tech                        ESPNU
                        7:30 p.m.    Illinois at Maryland                                        ESPN
                        9 p.m.        Miami at Purdue                                            ESPN2
                        9:15 p.m.    Clemson at Iowa                                           ESPNU
                        9:30 p.m.    No. 5 Duke at No. 3 Ohio State                      ESPN
Wed, Nov 30     7:15 p.m.    Indiana at North Carolina State                        ESPN2
                        7:15 p.m.    Penn State at Boston College                         ESPNU
                        7:30 p.m.    No. 21 Florida St. at Michigan St.                   ESPN
                        9:15 p.m.    Virginia Tech at Minnesota                              ESPN2
                        9:15 p.m.     Wake Forest at Nebraska                              ESPNU
                        9:30 p.m.    No. 11 Wisconsin at No. 1 North Carolina    ESPN