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Looking back, Mike Bruesewitz was a "4" playing like a "3" which added up to a "2."

Two rebounds in three games.

What wasn't he doing? "I wasn't beating people up inside," he said.

Moving forward, Jared Berggren wants to play like a starter as a backup.

Despite coming off his first career start.

Berggren_2011_MSU.jpgWhat does he need to be doing? "I need to be more consistent," he said.

Bruesewitz and Berggren have identified their roles and what they have to do to earn more minutes for the Badgers. Now they have to go out and do it starting Thursday night against Indiana at the Kohl Center. They both know that has to be the blue print whether they're starting or not.

"I've got to do a lot of the little things that kind of got away from me there for a couple of games," said Bruesewitz, a sophomore from St. Paul, Minn. "I was kind of floating on the perimeter a little bit - not being tough and physical inside - which has kind of been my staple.

"Since I've been here, I've been able to get inside and knock a few people around and make bodies fly a little bit and get some offensive rebounds. That's what got me minutes last year - being a tough kid inside, beating people up, stuff like that. I have to get back to that a little bit more."

As a freshman, Bruesewitz had rebounding spurts where he would come off the bench and trigger a run with his energy and tenacity. He had five rebounds in four minutes at Michigan State. He had five rebounds in six minutes against Purdue. He had seven rebounds against Arizona and Indiana.

Through this season's first three Big Ten games - combined - he had two rebounds; both in a loss at Illinois. He was blanked on the glass against Minnesota (16 minutes) and Michigan (13 minutes). He had two rebounds at Michigan State but he played a season-low 12 minutes.

Bruesewitz_2011_Illinois.jpg"I stepped back and looked (at what I was doing) and talked to a couple of the coaches," Bruesewitz said. "My minutes went down and we had conversations. And they said one thing you're really not doing is rebounding the ball as well as you can, and should be. That was an eye-opener."

In the UW's win over Illinois, he had four rebounds in 20 minutes. "I felt like I was getting back to more what I know I'm really good at doing," Bruesewitz said. "I really wasn't getting on the glass as much as I should have and or I'm capable of. That's one big area I've tried to emphasize."

After 13 straight starts, he has been coming off the bench the last three games. That has allowed him to get more of a feel for the tempo or the flow before stepping on the floor. Lately, he also has been utilized more as a "4" (power forward) than a "3" (small forward).

"Because I was playing the "3" so much," he said, "and we were playing some teams that were trying to push the ball more, I was making sure I was getting back on defense for the shooters."

 Bruesewitz added that if he couldn't get a "two-handed" rebound he was sprinting back to the other end because "we're better five-on-five than we are in a transition defense, three-on-two."

Upon further review, he knows what he has to do to be a more consistent and effective contributor. Beyond the staples - beating people up inside and making bodies fly - it revolves around "knocking down an open shot when I have one, getting on the boards and playing defense."

Over the last few weeks, Berggren has learned more about himself, too. After playing just three minutes against Michigan and six minutes against Michigan State, he got his first career start last Saturday against Illinois. He had two points, four rebounds, an assist and a block in 15 minutes.

Berggren didn't make a big deal out of his first start. Not to the degree that his family and friends did. "Obviously, I was happy to be starting," he said. "The thing I liked about it most was I knew when I'd be playing. Sitting on the bench, you have that excitement or anxiety waiting to check in."

Berggren, a redshirt sophomore from Princeton, Minn., has played 10 or more minutes only six times. "When I do get an opportunity to come into the game, I have to make some plays right away," he said. "I have to limit my mistakes and add to what the team has going as soon as I step on the floor."

He has tried to focus on being more consistent and aggressive. "If I come in and I'm tentative early," he said, "Coach may be more hesitant to put me back in the game later. But If I come in and make plays and show that I'm comfortable, I think I'd be more likely to get more playing time."

So much is predicated on the matchups. "Illinois had a lot of bigs and it was a better matchup when we could put Jon (Leuer) at the 3-spot,'" Berggren said. "It's different from game to game."

But he can control one thing from day-to-day - maybe the most important thing in the big picture. And that is? "Coming ready to work every day in practice and trying to improve," he said.

That also applies to Bruesewitz, whether he's being threatened or not by UW coach Bo Ryan to cut his bushy hair if his production doesn't pick up. It's all done in a joking manner. And, for now, he has no plans on getting it cut. "I'm getting it trimmed in a couple of weeks, but nothing too major," he said.

The mop-topped Zach Morley was also given some wiggle room by Ryan who's well aware of the historical ramifications associated with Sampson (Ralph Sr. and Ralph III notwithstanding).

Lucas at Large: Do you remember when?

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Do you remember when ...

UW coach Bo Ryan instructed his two best scorers, Alando Tucker and Mike Wilkinson, to anticipate a missed shot, an offensive rebound, and a put-back to win a Big Ten game?

It happened on March 1, 2005 at the Kohl Center.

The opponent was the Indiana Hoosiers, who will be here Thursday night.

Tucker_Alando_IND_0506_2.jpgGoing into the game, the Badgers and the Hoosiers were tied for third place in the conference standings. Both were looking to enhance their NCAA resume and seeding.

The UW players were running on empty - physically and emotionally - despite coming off a 64-56 victory at Ohio State. Tucker and Wilkinson combined for 33 points and 16 rebounds to spoil the festivities for the Buckeyes who retired John Havlicek's number (No. 5) at halftime.

The Indiana game was Wisconsin's third in six days - a challenging Thursday-Sunday-Tuesday stretch that also included a 77-64 loss at Michigan State. The fatigue started to show in the second half against the Hoosiers who rallied from a 10-point deficit behind the strong play of freshman D.J. White.

With 9:35 left in the game, a Sharif Chambliss jumper pushed the Badgers into a 53-43 lead. But they opened the door for an IU comeback by missing their next 10 shots from the field and compounded their frustration from the free throw line, where they were 7-for-14 over the final 7:15.

Indiana's Roderick Wilmont rebounded Bracey Wright's missed shot and scored on a put-back to pull the Hoosiers into a 60-60 tie. Ryan called a timeout with 10.1 seconds remaining. What was said? Ryan told Tucker that he was going to rebound a miss and score the game-winner.

"He actually did say that,'' Tucker later confirmed. "He (Ryan) told me, 'If there's a missed shot, I want you to attack the glass hard.' I guess it played out the way he wanted.''

Not quite. Coming out of the timeout, Tucker launched a 3-point shot that came up short. Following Ryan's advice about anticipating a miss, Wilkinson got the offensive rebound. But he was nearly pinned under the rim and sandwiched by a couple of defenders. That led to an awkward shot.

Now it was Tucker's turn to anticipate.

"I saw they were trying to force Mike more toward the baseline and out of bounds,'' Tucker said. "I was looking to see which side he was going to try to put it up and with which hand. I actually saw him release it and I was like, 'Ok, this is coming out (funny), so I'm going to go up and get it.''

Tucker got it and scored the game-winner with two-tenths of a second left.

Wisconsin 62, Indiana 60.

"Sometimes I wonder if he (Ryan) drew it up like that,'' Tucker said. "I wonder if he knew it was going to happen like that. He's been doing this for a long time and he called it.''

In a perfect world, Ryan would have preferred if Tucker would have attacked the rim instead of settling for an early 3-pointer. But he wasn't complaining, especially after foreshadowing the sequence.

"That's the only time all night that anybody ever listened to me,'' Ryan said of his instructions to anticipate the missed shot. "I told the guys afterward at least someone listened to me one time.''

The timing couldn't have been better for a UW team that finished with an 11-5 Big Ten record despite the early departure of Devin Harris who skipped his final year to enter the NBA. The Badgers continued to overachieve in the postseason by advancing to the Elite Eight in the 2005 NCAA tourney.

Ryan was understandably proud of the accomplishments. "I thought our guys have done a very good job hiding weaknesses,'' he said, "covering up for one another and helping each other out.''

Since that dramatic two-point win over the Hoosiers, the Badgers have won the last four home games against Indiana by an average of 21 points, the closest margin of victory being 13 points.


Wisconsin featured on The Journey Sunday

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The Big Ten Network's critically acclaimed show 'The Journey' is back for season two and once again the Wisconsin's men's basketball team will be featured.

This week, the Journey continues Sunday at 7 p.m. (CT) and the show will spotlight Wisconsin senior Tim Jarmusz and his brother Adam, who serves as a platoon leader in the Army. Adam has been stationed in Afghanistan since February. While back on leave in December, Adam visited his brother in Madison and watched him compete for the Badgers against Coppin State.

Read more on Jarmusz's relationship with his brother.




Lucas at Large: Finding the 'Old Rob'

MILWAUKEE, Wis. - UW associate head coach Greg Gard doesn't like to dwell on the past. But he felt it was important to remind Rob Wilson of the positive history that he had with Marquette two years ago in the Bradley Center.

As a true freshman, Wilson came off the bench and accounted for seven points and five rebounds in 20 productive minutes against the Golden Eagles.

"The TV announcers talked about Rob and the words that they used to describe him were 'aggressive' and 'fearless,''' Gard said. "I told Rob if I was broadcasting a game right now, I would not use those two adjectives.''

Wilson_vs_Marquette.jpgThat's because Wilson has been tentative with his play since the beginning of the season when he was slowed by a hamstring injury. That cost him valuable practice time and minutes in the two exhibitions and first two games.

So instead of getting an opportunity to build some confidence against the likes of UW-La Crosse, Minnesota State, Prairie View A&M and North Dakota, he missed all four games and didn't see his first action until Nov. 20 at UNLV.

"It's all about me getting back into the routine now and sticking to the rules (on defense),'' said Wilson, a 6-foot-4 junior guard from Cleveland. "Once I get back on the same page with the guys, I feel like everything will be good.''

Wilson may have taken the first step towards becoming what Gard described as the "old Rob'' during Saturday's 69-64 win at Marquette. Wilson played 16 minutes and had three points, four rebounds and a steal.

"It always feels good to be out there - doing something to help the team win,'' Wilson said afterward. "I didn't want to take a step backward.''

Gard acknowledged that over the last few days of practice the "old Rob'' had begun emerging again. "He's a soft-spoken kid,'' Gard said. "And we're trying to get him to be more aggressive and play without thinking. It's a process.''

To earn more minutes - and earn is the operative word - the Badgers would like to see Wilson apply himself more consistently on the defensive end.

"He needs to be consistently aggressive,'' Gard said. "What put him behind some other guys defensively was that he got real tentative at times. And when he paused on how we guard certain actions or certain players, people were able to get open shots. We have to have guys who can get things done every possession.''

Message received. Wilson understands where he needs to take his game. "Coach Gard is always in my ear because he sees that I'm not playing the way they know I can play,'' Wilson said. "It's always good to have someone pushing.''

UW coach Bo Ryan used 12 players against Marquette and everybody contributed to one degree or another - underlining this team's bench strength.

"That's what we've been hoping for while we've been developing the bench,'' Ryan said. "They might not have seen a whole lot of minutes in some of the games. But Rob (Wilson) has been working his way back in practice.

"Jared (Berggren) has been doing some really good things in practice, too. So the fact we used those two plus Ben (Brust) - and everyone else off the bench - they were able to keep believing in each other. And that was contagious.''

Berggren had eight points in nine minutes against the Golden Eagles.

"I think that can be a strength of our team this year,'' Berggren said of the UW bench. "We have a lot of guys who can play. As long as we stay ready and step up when our name is called, I think we can do some good things.''

Asked about Wilson's contributions, Berggren said, "He was hurt early in the year and missed some time in practice. But he's catching up. We're going to need him down the stretch. It's good to see him playing well.''

After Saturday's win, Wilson sounded and looked confident - another adjective that may restore the Old Rob.

Discovering Disney

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Day one in Orlando for the Old Spice Classic. Lots of resting, reading (up on Manhattan), rehearsal and rides.

Wednesday, Nov. 25
9:00 a.m. ET -
Breakfast for the gang. Couple of bleary-eyed lads strolling into the Beach Club Convention Center for some fruit, eggs, pancakes, bacon and potatoes. Figuring that the players didn't get settled in until close to midnight and our body clocks think it's 8 a.m., it's not really a surprise.

9:30 a.m. - Noon ET - Free time. Activities varied from walking around the Disney Boardwalk outside of our hotel, to studying, to taking a dip in sand-bottomed pool and of course... more sleeping.

11:40 a.m. ET - While on a walk, Coach Ryan discovers there is a big waterslide at our hotel.

11:40:04 a.m. ET - Ryan hastily takes off his shirt, shoes and hat and takes the plunge on said slide.

12:30 p.m. ET - The Big Ten's best trainer Henry Perez-Guerra gets the players taped for practice. One-by-one they parade into Henry's room to get their ankles' taped. Much wise talk ensues... many of the world's problems are solved on that training table.

1:15 p.m. ET - Team bus rolls over to the Jostens Center for practice. Each team is allotted a two-hour practice window at this auxiliary gym next door to the HP Field House (formerly known as the Milkhouse) where games will be played.

1:30 p.m. ET - Practice begins with full-court passing drills. Same as every practice before it, and every one afterwards.

1:45 p.m. ET - Coach Ryan takes the Badger regulars and assistant Gary Close takes the scout team to do possessions against each other. The scout team will simulate Manhattan's system.

2:09 p.m. ET - Brett Valentyn continues his role of scout team marksman. He's been hot this year and has the green light on the scout team.

3:30 p.m. ET - Back to the hotel for a quick snack.

4:45 p.m. ET - Back to the Disney Wide World of Sports complex for the team's one-hour shoot-around in the HP Field House. Each team gets one hour to test the rims and get a feel for the new surroundings.

5:08 p.m. ET - Jon Leuer and Coach Ryan each do on-camera interviews with ESPN previewing the tournament and talking about all things Bucky. Coach Ryan opins that we were invited to this tournament because he uses Old Spice deodorant.

Our sources indicate that is coincidental.

6:05 p.m. ET - The giant Old Spice Classic decal at midcourt is bubbling and peeling up quite a bit. Coach Ryan secretly instructs freshman Ben Brust to trip and fall down over one of the big seams in the logo. Brust does his best acting job and draws laughs from his teammates. Hopefully the message was received by the Tourney and it will be fixed by tomorrow.

6:08 p.m. ET - Coach Ryan meets with the on-air talent from ESPN and ESPN 3D. They tell him that tomorrow's games will be the first-ever college basketball games done in 3D. Ryan mentions that he was also a part of Dick Vitale's first broadcast while an assistant coach at Wisconsin. He's can help be a part of history.

6:10 p.m. ET - Jordan Taylor goes on live with ESPN Radio Orlando. One of the hosts is a UW alum, so the chemistry is immediate. They talk everything from Old Spice Classic, to Badger hoops, to NFL football (Taylor is a die-hard Vikings fan), to NBA basketball (the Magic are hosting the Heat in town tonight).

6:20 p.m. ET - Bus heads back to the hotel where the team will have just enough to rest for a few minutes and get ready for the evening's reception.

8:25 p.m. ET - Team bus leaves for the Old Spice Classic welcoming reception at Disney's Hollywood Studios. They closed the park down for the teams and their families to have dinner and enjoy the theme park after hours.

8:50 p.m. ET - Thanksgiving feast! Sitting on the set for Disney's Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular, the teams enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings: carved turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberries, dressing, yams, you name it. Not quite mom's home cooking, but the pilgrims would have been proud.

9:18 p.m. ET - Teams head to the front of the stage to take team photos with Disney's most famous resident... Mickey Mouse.

9:21 p.m. ET - Players box each other out as the desert rolls in. Giant cupcakes and pumpkin pie are the hot commodities.

9:30 p.m. ET - The teams and staffs are turned loose inside Hollywood Studios. That means no lines for Tower of Terror and Aerosmith's Rock and Roll Rollercoaster.

Go on the ride, nearly lose the Thanksgiving feast, jump the line and do it again.

A few highlights: 1.) the photos taken on the rides showing various stages of terror and glee.
The sheer terror in Wquinton Smith's eyes is priceless. 2.) The Mickey Mouse ice cream bars. 3.) Watching 6-foot-10 guys fold themselves into a roller coaster seat designed probably for a 6-footer. 4.) Seeing Coach Ryan free-fall 12 stories on the Tower of Terror. 5.) The Mickey Mouse ice cream bars

10:57 p.m. ET - Bus heads back to the hotel... game is about 15 hours away.

Operation Orlando: Badgers arrive at Old Spice

ORLANDO, Fla. - Ten years into his coaching regime at Wisconsin, you could understand if Bo Ryan is experiencing a little déjà vu.

Ryan's first road trip as the head coach of the Badgers in November of 2001 took him to UNLV for a difficult road loss and then straight out to Hawaii for a three-game holiday tournament.

Fast forward 10 seasons to November of 2010 and Ryan is hoping that his team is painting with the same brush. Just days after a bitter 68-65 loss at UNLV, Wisconsin was on a new court preparing for a three-game holiday tournament - the Old Spice Classic in Orlando, Fla.

The 2001-02 team went 1-3 on its opening road swing and started the season 1-4 before rallying to win one of Ryan's three Big Ten regular season championships.

The Badgers are hoping that this year, the Magical Kingdom will provide a similar prophecy.

The trip began in Madison, where UW practiced at the Kohl Center Tuesday before catching a flight to Disney World.

Tuesday, Nov. 24
9:45 p.m. ET -
Touchdown Orlando International Airport. The airplane may not have been Bono's, but it was still a charter with oversized leather seats and a meal. Most importantly... it landed safely.

9:51 p.m. ET - First whiff of that warm, humid Florida air. The temperature in Madison was hovering around 35 degrees when we left. Here, it's about 74 degrees.

10:32 p.m. ET - Our date with Mickey Mouse begins as the team bus pulls up to the Disney World grounds. Sign greeting the people to the Old Spice Classic.

10:32:04 p.m. ET - First "I'm on a horse" joke.

10:37 p.m. ET - Club. It's dark, but looks nice. Big, sprawling and sandy.

10:51 p.m. ET - Bed time snack. Menu items include: salad, pizza, French dip sandwiches, ice cream sundae bar and some of the sweetest pecan pie you can imagine.

11:30 p.m. ET - Bed time... but who's kidding? Have you seen that Disney commercial where the little boy is restless in bed because he knows he's going to Disney World the next day? He turns to his parents and says, "I'm too excited the sleep." That's probably happening in rooms all over this hotel right now.

Badgers touch down in Vegas

Las Vegas trip photo gallery

Plane_LasVegas.jpgTaking in the first road trip of the season, the Wisconsin men's basketball team touched down at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas Friday afternoon. The Badgers will take on UNLV Saturday at 6 p.m. (CT).

The trip started on a high note as the Badgers were surprised to find out they would be flying on the plane used for U2's 360 Tour. A back injury to lead singer Bono has forced a postponement in the tour, making the plane available.

That meant extra leg room and comfort. Something UW's big men certainly appreciated.

After a 3.5-hour flight, UW held a two-hour practice at the Thomas & Mack Center on the campus of UNLV. Then it's back to the hotel for dinner and rest.

No trips to the Vegas Strip tonight... it's strictly a business trip for these guys.

Badgers touch down in Vegas

Las Vegas trip photo gallery

Thumbnail image for Plane_LasVegas.jpgTaking in the first road trip of the season, the Wisconsin men's basketball team touched down at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas Friday afternoon. The Badgers will take on UNLV Saturday at 6 p.m. (CT).

The trip started on a high note as the Badgers were surprised to find out they would be flying on the plane used for U2's 360 Tour. A back injury to lead singer Bono has forced a postponement in the tour, making the plane available.

That meant extra leg room and comfort. Something UW's big men certainly appreciated.

After a 3.5-hour flight, UW held a two-hour practice at the Thomas & Mack Center on the campus of UNLV. Then it's back to the hotel for dinner and rest.

No trips to the Vegas Strip tonight... it's strictly a business trip for these guys.

UW basketball coach Bo Ryan loves filling in the blanks. He's hooked on crossword puzzles. He also loves connecting the dots. Drawing from his vast experience, he's prone to make comparisons between players from different generations based on anything from body language to shot-making.

That can draw a lot of blanks from people who have no idea who or what he's talking about.

Josh Gasser is a 6-foot-3, 185-pound freshman guard from Port Washington. Gasser's build and movements and success in multiple sports reminds Ryan of Bob Falk, a 6-2, 183-pound guard from Madison West High School who played for the Badgers in the mid-'70s.

Ben Brust is a 6-1, 190-pound freshman guard from Hawthorn Woods, Ill., (Mundelein).  Brust has a little runner or "flip shot" that reminds Ryan of Johnny Egan, a 5-11 guard from Providence College, who played 12 years in the NBA with six different teams from 1961-1972.

Bob Falk?

Some local historians can make an argument for Falk being one of the finest all-around athletes ever produced in Madison. At least he should be in the discussion after excelling in football, basketball and baseball for the Regents.

In 1972, Falk's skill as a basketball player was recognized when he was named the Player of the Year in the state of Wisconsin. Falk helped lead West to the semifinals of the WIAA tournament. But the Regents came up short against Milwaukee Hamilton after Falk went down with a knee injury.

Following his prep career - during which he was named all-state in both football and basketball - Falk spent one year at the University of Kansas before returning to Madison and enrolling at the UW where he played two seasons for John Powless and one for Bill Cofield, whose staff included Ryan.

Falk was such an outstanding high school quarterback prospect, he was talked into going out for football with the Badgers. But he made a far bigger name for himself in basketball with one timely jump-shot against Indiana at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Ind.

On Feb. 24, 1977, Falk was in the UW starting lineup along with Clyde Gaines,  James "Stretch'' Gregory, Sugar Ray Sydnor and Joe Chrnelich. The Badgers caught a break because the Hoosiers were playing without their All-American center Kent Benson, who was sidelined with a back injury.

With three seconds remaining, Falk knocked down his jumper from the deep right corner to lift the Badgers to an improbable 66-64 victory over the Hoosiers. Falk finished with a game-high 19 points.  Ryan was on the bench that night and, fittingly, he was on the bench - as UW's first-year head coach - when the Badgers snapped a 22-game losing streak in Assembly Hall by beating the Hoosiers in 2002.

Oh, that Bob Falk.

But what about Johnny Egan?

As a New England schoolboy phenom, Egan was predicted to have great success at Providence College for coach Joe Mullaney. And he lived up those expectations while teaming in the backcourt with Lenny Wilkens. Together, they carried the Friars to an NIT championship in 1961.

Egan, a two-time All-American, averaged 17.9 points and ended up with 1,434 career points. A first-round draft pick of the Detroit Pistons, he also played for the Knicks, the Bullets, the Lakers, the Cavs and the Rockets. After his playing days were over, Egan replaced Tex Winter and coached the Rockets for four years before being replaced himself by Tom Nissalke.

 In 2008, Providence retired Egan's No. 34 adding his name to a short of list Friars who have their numbers hanging from the rafters: Wilkens, Jimmy Walker, Ernie DeGregorio and Marvin Barnes.

Oh, that Johnny Egan.

 Now that's old school.

To this end, Ryan, like many coaches, has named different post moves after former NBA legends for the sake of identification and instant recognition. In practice, for example, he might tell a player, "I want you to Bernie into a McHale."

Translation: Ryan wants the player to use a shoulder fake one way and as he's turning to shoot the other way - drawing a defender - he wants him to use a little jump hook.

The Bernie is named after Bernard King who played 11 seasons in the NBA. The McHale is named after Kevin McHale, the former Minnesota Gopher, who went on to stardom with the Boston Celtics.

The other post moves honor Moses Malone (a drop step and power move); Dominique Wilkins (an up and under move); and Jack Sikma (a reverse pivot where you open up to the basket).

Ryan was asked if he has given any thought to updating the post moves to reflect more contemporary players. Maybe the Kobe? The LeBron? The D-Wade? The Durant? The CP3?

Might he consider changing?

"Not really," Ryan said. "Not as long as the guys I'm coaching know what they are."

Lucas at Large: Bruesewitz raises his hair and his game

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UW basketball forward Mike Bruesewitz knows what you're thinking, and he's fine with it. Bruesewitz knows that you're thinking "What in the world was he thinking'' when he grew out his hair into a curly, red Afro that conjures up images of comedian Scott Thompson (aka Carrot Top).

"Every once in awhile you have to have a change of pace,'' Bruesewitz said.

At  Saturday night's exhibition between the Badgers and UW-La Crosse, the "Bruesewitz Hair Cam'' made its debut on the scoreboard at the Kohl Center. Some unsuspecting fans were spotlighted on the giant screen and "fitted'' with a computer-generated facsimile of the Bruesewitz mop.

Bruesewitz was in a team huddle during the timeout and didn't see it. "But I found out a couple of days ago that they're selling wigs at Bucky's Locker Room,'' he said.

So, what in the world was he thinking?

Well, he was thinking he wanted to be like his big brother. And if you think the 6-foot-6, 220-pound Bruesewitz is big, you should see his big brother, Robert Bruesewitz, a 6-9, 265-pound giant who played offensive tackle for the Princeton University football team.

"I was in the eighth or ninth grade when he came home at Christmas during his sophomore year of college,'' Mike said." My mom usually cut his hair, but he was too cheap to get a haircut on the East Coast because they were expensive. So he had this big, bushy red Afro and I was really jealous.''

Following his freshman season with the Badgers - during which he appeared in 28 games as a backup and won over the fan base with his hustle and energy - Mike Bruesewitz decided to come back with a new look Afro for his sophomore year. What was the reaction of his UW teammates?

"Sometimes it's a topic of discussion, but they really don't remember what I looked like with the crew cut,'' said Bruesewitz, whose family moved from Litchfield, Minn. to St. Paul after his sophomore year of high school. His older brother Bob was on two state championship basketball teams at Litchfield.

Mike Bruesewitz twice led Henry Sibley High School to the state tournament, including the Class 4A title game when he was a junior. He was the Gatorade Player of the Year in Minnesota as a senior.

Bruesewitz anticipates that he will be the target of opposing Big Ten fans on the road.

Some things never change.

"Being a redheaded kid, you hear about your hair everywhere you go,'' he said. "I got it bad in high school and I got it bad last year. During warm-ups, a lot of times 'Ginger' would be thrown out. It comes with the territory of being redheaded, but it's all right. I expect to hear it, and I don't mind it.''

Bruesewitz is hoping that people will recognize that his game has a new look, too. He has spent the off-season working on his jump shot. His tutor has been UW assistant coach Gary Close.

"Coach Close is the shot doctor on the team and he has helped me a lot,'' Bruesewitz said. "We've made some minor tweaks here and there. Mechanically, it was nothing major. We've just tried to make it more compact and more consistent. Sometimes I'd shoot on my way and I'd be short.''

Although he received limited minutes as a freshman, he understood his role. "I tried to bring energy to the team,'' Bruesewitz said. "Whether it was getting rebounds, getting on the floor, scrapping in the post, or stuff like that, I tried to bring something to the team that needs to be done every game.

"Sometimes it would be getting an offensive rebound. Sometimes it would be sticking a guy on defense. Hopefully this season, I can help carry the load a little bit more offensively. My confidence is a little bit higher. This is my second year in the program, and I kind of know what's expected of me.''

So, what is expected of Mike Bruesewitz?

"Making better reads, making better decisions, especially when I have the ball,'' he said. "Defensively, making sure I'm better off the ball, and on the ball.''

Saturday night, Bruesewitz played 17 minutes and had eight points (4-of-5), four rebounds, one assist, one steal, and one Hair Cam moment (one more than anyone else in college basketball).
ON WISCONSIN