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Friday, March 24, 2023
Montee Ball

Senior running back Montee Ball needs two scores to set the all-time NCAA touchdown record.

Crucial weekend looms for Wisconsin

Men’s Cross Country

The Wisconsin men’s cross country team had another winning weekend, taking home its 11th straight Great Lakes Regional title, increasing the Badgers’ record total to 28 NCAA Great Lakes Regional Titles.

Senior Mohammed Ahmed took first place overall at the regional with a time of 30:37 to lead Wisconsin to the title.

Head coach Mick Byrne thinks things are in favor of his team right now going into the NCAA Championship meet Saturday in Louisville, Ky.

“I’ve always said that the momentum from winning the Big Ten championship and taking that into the NCAA Regional meet, you just can’t replace that type of momentum,” Byrne said at his Monday press conference. “The kids are very excited about it and look forward to this time of year.”

Led by Ahmed and fellow seniors Maverick Darling and Reed Connor, the Badgers will be a favorite to claim the NCAA Championship if they continue to perform the way they have. The race gets underway at 12:15 p.m.


After a dominating performance against Indiana that saw the Wisconsin football team (4-2 Big Ten, 7-3 overall) walk away with a 62-14 victory and a trip to the Big Ten championship game, the Badgers will play their final home game of the season when they host Ohio State (6-0, 10-0) at Camp Randall Stadium Saturday.

After keeping Badger fans everywhere in suspense last week as to whom would replace injured redshirt freshman quarterback Joel Stave, head coach Bret Bielema chose to go with redshirt senior Curt Phillips, who will remain under center against Ohio State.

“Curt played a really good game, and my guess is this Saturday will be even better,” Bielema said at his Monday press conference.

Senior running back Montee Ball, who is looking to break the NCAA record for career touchdowns, also met with the media Monday afternoon. The Wentzville, Mo., native said he has evolved as a player since last season, when he was a Heisman trophy finalist.

“From [last] year to this year I’ve focused on doing a lot of things better,” Ball said. “I’ve overcome a lot of adversity.”

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Ball, along with eight other seniors, will take the field for the last time at Camp Randall, a feeling Ball said is bittersweet.

“I’ve cherished this season,” Ball said. “It’s been great.”

Kickoff for the Ohio State game is set for 2:30 p.m. Saturday.

Men’s Hockey

The Wisconsin men’s hockey team (1-2-1 WCHA, 1-4-1 overall) will hit the ice after its second bye week, kicking off five straight weeks of play that will begin with a trip to the Twin Cities to take on Minnesota (3-2-1, 6-2-1) this weekend.

Assistant coach Bill Butters announced Nov. 7 that he would be stepping down from his position with the team effective immediately. As of right now, there is nobody in place to fill Butters’ role this upcoming weekend.

Head coach Mike Eaves is familiar with circumstances constantly being shuffled.

“Part of our world as coaches is that change is part of the norm,” Eaves said at his Monday press conference. “We’ve certainly had our moments of change this season already.”

Focusing on Wisconsin’s game against Minnesota, Eaves said the Gophers have a deep pool of talent in their forwards.

“They have three top lines for sure and a fourth line that’s not bad,” he said.

The Badgers head to Mariucci Arena with no new injuries on their roster. Junior forward Mark Zengerle continues to recover from a hand injury, while freshman forward Nic Kerdiles is serving the remainder of his 10-game NCAA suspension.

Women’s Basketball

The women’s basketball team (1-0 overall) will travel to Washington this weekend to take on Gonzaga (2-0) and Washington State (0-2). The Badgers opened their season with a 74-56 victory against Milwaukee Sunday.

“I was really pleased with our team’s performance,” said head coach Bobbie Kelsey at her Monday press conference. ”We came out a little sluggish and a little slow, but reasserting ourselves [after halftime] made all the difference.”

Senior guard Taylor Wurtz led Wisconsin with 16 points in the win.

Kelsey said the Badgers look to Wurtz for leadership and scoring.

“She commands a lot of attention when she has the ball,” Kelsey said.

Kelsey said that while Wisconsin’s “triangle” offense “doesn’t look as good now,” the team enjoys running it.

“Anything, whatever you’re running, they don’t do it very well if they don’t believe in it,” Kelsey said. “So we do have the buy in from the kids.”

The coach picked up the offense, one that uses a lot of backdoor cuts, during her time an assistant coach at Stanford.

Men’s Basketball

The Wisconsin men’s basketball team (1-0 overall) began its regular season with an 87-47 win Sunday against Southeastern Louisiana (0-1). The Badgers will face Florida (1-0) Wednesday and then host Cornell (1-0) Sunday at the Kohl Center.

Originally contemplating the idea of redshirting, freshman guard Zak Showalter made his first appearance Sunday after junior guard Josh Gasser was sidelined for the season with an ACL injury.

Head coach Bo Ryan said he met with the Germantown, Wis., native during the week.

“Zak came into my office and said, ‘If you want to use me, I’m here,’” Ryan said.

Showalter had five points, three rebounds, two assists and one steal in his college debut.

Heading to Gainesville, Ryan said the Badgers will face a tough opponent in the Gators.

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