The Wisconsin women's basketball team has seen its fair share of highs and lows this year. But since reaching its lowest point following a last-second loss at Illinois two weeks ago, the team has reached new heights.
Columnist's note: Last year at this time, this space was used to highlight Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema's responsibility for his team's troubling season. In light of his performance this year, it is only fair that the following is written.
The Wisconsin women's hockey team fell in a pair of close contests to the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs on the road, coming up short in a comeback effort Saturday and struggling offensively Sunday. Those losses mark the first time the Badgers have fallen in a series sweep this season.
While most students head to cars, buses and airports and head home for a relaxing winter break, the Wisconsin men's basketball team's season trudges on with three more nonconference games, followed by the beginning of its Big Ten schedule.
Last Monday, a reporter asked Wisconsin men's hockey head coach Mike Eaves about his team ""flying under the radar"" when it came to their national ranking. But after hitting the road to North Dakota and taking three points from their series against the No. 3 Fighting Sioux, the Badgers might not be under the radar much longer.
Junior forward Jon Leuer's combined 50 points and 24 rebounds in two straight starts is a good way to get noticed in college basketball. If anything, it may get the media and opposing teams to stop mispronouncing his last name.
It's a strange spot, holding an opponent down, answering each small run, watching a lead bounce between nearly comfortable and just too uncomfortable. The Badgers were in that spot against Duke, holding off the Blue Devils and then saw the shoe on the other foot, never quite able to get over the hump against UW-Green Bay.
This past weekend, the women's basketball team collected two wins against non-conference opponents and helped head coach Lisa Stone to her 100th career victory at Wisconsin.
Last season, the Wisconsin women's basketball team won just five regular season games away from the Kohl Center. This Friday night, the Badgers have a chance to eclipse last season's road victory total with a win over Marquette. That game also marks the conclusion to a brutal 15-day, six-game road trip for the team.
Growing up as a sports fan in New York, I pretty much had it all—historic franchises, arenas, rivalries and most importantly, fans sincerely obsessed with every part of it. Really the only thing the area lacked was a classic college sports experience. And now, after three and a half years in Madison, I feel fortunate to have been a part of this unique environment.
They might play on ice, but the No. 6 Wisconsin women's hockey team is sizzling after a win and tie against Minnesota-Duluth with a chance to move into second place in the WCHA if they defeat Minnesota State this weekend.
In a league as talented as the WCHA, seemingly every weekend produces compelling matchups. For the Wisconsin men's hockey team, this weekend's trip to Grand Forks, N.D., is one that has been circled on the calendar for a long time. The No. 11 Badgers (7-4-1 WCHA, 10-5-1 overall) close out the 2009 portion of their schedule with a two game showdown at Ralph Engelstad Arena against rival North Dakota (9-5-2, 6-5-1).
When Wisconsin men's hockey head coach Mike Eaves and his coaching staff set out to pair up their defenders before the season, it was clear the group had a chance to be special. With a combination of blue-line scoring potential and gritty, physical defense, the coaches had the luxury of matching players to maximize strengths and minimize weaknesses. Of the six Badger defensemen, five have already been drafted by NHL teams, including three in the first round, despite the fact that there is not a senior among them.
This time of year, everyone argues about how great it would be for NCAA football to use a playoff system, like the NFL does. But nobody asks themelves ""what if the NFL borrowed the postseason system from the college game?"" Maybe it's the NFL that has to reconsider its postseason structure, not college football. I figure if the NFL adopted the bowl system, we'd have a pretty exciting postseason. Here's how it would shape up this year.