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The Big Ten basketball season is off and running, with our Badgers taking on Tubby and his Golden Gopher squad. Tip-off is slated for 6pm tonight at the Kohl Center. In the first and only match up of the year between these two squads, both schools want to start this leg of the season off on a high note.
The #24 ranked Badgers will love nothing less then to secure a win against its first top 25 team of the season. Welcoming a notch in the W column against the 13thranked team in the country will come at no small feat as Goldie has taken the last three meeting from the Badgers.
Tubby has welcomed back Al Nolen after missing 5 games with a stress fracture and has transitioned Devoe Joseph back into the starting lineup since his early season 6 game break. Both players here on out will be called on for 30 plus minutes a night, and will need to be picked up defensively by the likes of Gasser, Jarmusz and Wilson (if he ever gets back on Bo Ryan's good side).
Jordan Taylor will most likely pick up Al Nolen, while the mismatch of this game will lie in Blake Hoffarber. The guy is flat out deadly from behind the arc and will pose great difficulty for the Badgers perimeter defense. Hoffarber has not been clicking lately from downtown (6-18 33%) but as a wise old Antoine Walker once said "shoot till you're hot!".
Hopefully the Kohl center will welcome him back with another 0-5 night, Bruesewitz and his ginger-fro are going to need all the help he can muster. Offensive weapon Ralph Sampson III returns to cause more matchup problems for the Badgers. He's been inconsistent this year and will have problems defending Keaton as almost every team has experienced these past few years.
Hopefully Sampson's softness will emerge tonight, because if Tubby pounds the ball down low with any efficiency, Keaton will be replaced by a lesser offensive threat in both Ryan Evens and Berggren. Meaning Leuer will have to carry the load even more against the likes of Iverson and Trevor Mbakwe.
Let's hope the Badgers can buck the trend of not heading to the foul line with any consistency this year. Sure Goldie is 9 deep, but setting the tone against a Ralph Sampson III early against the blocks and Hoffarber out deep, will pay dividends later in what more than likely will be a down to the wire game.
Another great write-up with tons of facts and stats is available here.
UW has been an underdog in 9 of its last 11 bowl appearances dating back to the ’99 Rose Bowl. UW has gone 5-4 in those bowl games but it appears that the bigger the underdog role and higher the opponents ranking- the better UW usually plays. Here’s a look at UW’s record as underdogs vs. top 15 teams in bowl games over the last 12 years. UW heads into Saturday as underdogs vs #3 TCU.
Big Ten play kicks off tonight, or should I say "limps off" tonight with Penn State traveling to Indiana. The image of the league has been hampered lately by Michigan State and Illinois with losses to Texas and Missouri respectfully.
Other not so glaring moments from this past non-conference season include Michigan's November 27th loss to UTEP, which lost to Pacific. Then again that ocean has been known to put up some great numbers in recent years.
Illinois comes to the forefront again by their stellar performance against Horizon League juggernaut UIC on December 18th. Illini fans are probably hoping for a little less neutral floor games this year.
Penn State once again makes this list with conference RPI clangers at home against Maryland during the ACC/BT challenge and another home loss to Maine. Yup Maine. Let that sink in.
The Badgers didn't help the Big Ten this non-conference season either, the loss to ND was pretty repulsive at the time, but ND has since put together some nice wins and might not sink the Badgers RPI ship come March. Still, a game that was ours and ultimately was lost is always hard to swallow.
Finally, no team has been more of an embarrassment than Indiana, with Michigan State closely behind. Indiana still has some hope; Bobby Knight is still alive.
As for MSU, it's gotten so bad, rumor has it the Spartans turned over their entire ball rack yesterday during practice. I'm sure Izzo blamed the officials or Bo Ryan and his "home court advantage". Either way, it was defiantly not Izzo fault; just ask him.
After years of shedding its slow play image and lack of superstars, this year was to be the light at the end of the tunnel. For most BigTen fans, the tunnel has only proved to be much longer, especially for the bed wetters at Michigan State.
Ohio State looks like the clear-cut leader in this year's title race with a few other teams hoping to be legends. (Sorry, but that's what these people over at the Big Ten office came up with?) Conferences being named Leaders and Legends. Seriously?!?! What's their next move, cancel Big Ten track and field and start a coed chess league? Judging from Mr. Delany's anti college football playoff insight, I'm expecting brighter ideas from Charlie Sheen than from Delany's office anytime soon.
Back to basketball though, Ohio State keeps winning all the while notching minutes under their freshman Jared Sullinger's belt. Illinois, Michigan State and Purdon't will all be around come late February. If (more like when) the Spartans cut down on their turnovers and Purdon't continues to not injure more their teammates; the Big Ten could be once again poised for a five or six team run for the title, with the Badgers in the thick of it.
UW has a favorable schedule this year in that we don't have to march up to the Barn and take our yearly Ed Hightower and John Higgins biased loss. The Barn will be rocking throughout these winter months thanks to a solid Tubby squad, which will only add depth to the Big Ten along with Northwestern finally looking to make an NCAA appearance. John Shurna and the rest of the wildcat team are still looking for their first quality road win, let's hope the Kohl center isn't on their list. Michigan will once again be Michigan and cause problems for people that have to venture to their waste land called Ann Arbor. As for Iowa, Penn State and Indiana; good luck in Track and Field. God knows it's only going to be here a few more years with Tom Delany piloting this boat.
The Badgers will kickoff their Big Ten season tomorrow night against Tubby and his Minnesoda Golden Gophers. For more pregame matchup banter, be sure to check back with badgerfans.com tomorrow.
After nearly a month of build up we're less than a week away from UW's first BCS game in more than a decade. It's not like anyone is actually going to do any work this week so here's a plethora of Badger news to keep you busy today.
If you've been too busy shopping for Christmas presents and deciding whether to go with Captain or brandy in your 'nog (the latter is the better choice), here's your chance to catch up on TCU. Badgers Mix is going to introduce us to the TCU players and starts by taking a closer look at each of TCU's three All-Americans while B5Q tells us what to expect when TCU has the ball.
According to USA Today, TCU QB Andy Dalton isn't overly concerned about missing out on the national championship game and is ready to go out in style, while the Dallas Morning News informs us that Dalton is a pretty religious dude.
USA Today also breaks down the Rose Bowl, giving TCU the edge in 4 of the 6 categories. TCU is a good team but there's some easy money to be had taking UW with the points.
Could the Badgers lose Paul Chryst to the University of Texas? It's possible according to Rivals.com.
The Patriots Chronicle profiles Gabe Carimi and discusses his NFL potential and concludes that he is likely to be a Pro Bowl-caliber player.
With Big Ten play starting this week, Madison.com and Northwestern blog Sippin' on Purple both preview the Big Ten season. Both sites predict the Badgers to finish in 3rd place, which is higher than the "experts" thought at the begging of the season.
The Badger basketball team finishes up the non-conference part of the schedule tonight when it takes on Coppin State at 7pm CST at the Kohl Center. The game won't be on TV but you can watch it on the BigTenNetwork.com. Here's what some people are saying about the game.
Phil Mitten at Bucky's 5th Quarter wonders if UW will be able to keep up its hot 3-point shooting and if someone other than Jared Berggren will provide an offensive spark off the bench.
SheTownBucky takes a stastical look at how the Badgers match up with the Eagles. The Badgers are 30 point favorites and have a 99.7% chance of winning according to the geeks.
Rob Schultz writes that Coppin State's defense will challenge the Badgers. When the two teams met two years ago the Eagles played six different zone defenses against UW.
If you want to know a little more about Coppin State, according to Wikipedia the 3,200 student school is located in Baltimore and has one of the lowest graduation rates among all US colleges and universities with only 19% of freshmen earning their degree.
Also, if you're looking to sell your tickets to the Minnesota game next Tuesday, drop me a an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jeff Potrykus has a few articles. He highlights Travis Frederick in this piece. It appears that he is making the most of his year off by helping out the team and gaining more knowledge. Replacing Moffit and Carimi will be extremely difficult, but having the option to fill one of the spots with a former starter is a luxury most teams do not have.
Tom Mulhern catches up with Brooks Bollinger who talks about speaking at Barry Alvarez’s induction into the college hall of fame. He also writes about how JJ Watt and Lance Kendricks have caught the attention of most NFL scouts.
Buckyville had a great post showing an ESPN the Magazine mini-feature. I will be buying this issue.
UW sports writers and bloggers have been writing about TCU on and off but with the game less than two weeks away it's time start looking more closely at the Horned Frogs. Tom Mulhern writes that TCU's offense will be one of the best the Badgers face this season and notes that the Horned Frogs have plenty of individual standouts.
Bowl season is underway and we're less than two weeks from the Rose Bowl. Enjoy the next few weeks football fans.
Tom Mulhern writes that Bielema has a difficult choice in picking Dave Doeren's replacement as defensive coordinator. Either secondary coach Chris Ash and d-line coach Charlie Partridge are expected to get the job. It's also possible they could be co-coordinators.
Mulhern also asks if this year's offensive line is the best in UW history. According to former Badger Joe Panos, they shouldn't be considered unless UW wins the Rose Bowl.
Bucky's 5th Quarter talks to a TCU blogger about head coach Gary Patterson, who turned down the Minnesota job a couple of years ago. He's obviously a smart guy.
According to Jeff Potrykus it's likely that the running back rotation for the Rose Bowl will continue to be Montee Ball, James White, and John Clay. He also writes that looks back at how five key players -- JJ watt, Gabe Carimi, Scott Tolzien, Clay, and Lance Kendricks -- he identified in the preseason performed.
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