WISCONSIN SPORTS NEWS: MU falls to SDSU in Wooden Tourney finals
ANAHEIM, Calf. - The Marquette University men's basketball team is expected to drop out of the AP Top-25 later today, after losing to San Jose State 67-to-59 last night in Anaheim.
The Aztecs won the Wooden Legacy Tournament despite shooting just 39-percent against Marquette in the final game. The Golden Eagles took the lead in the closing minutes after coming back from deficits of 9-and-10 points. Winston Shepard broke a 53-all tie by making two free throws and a jumper which put San Diego State up for good. A tip-in by Skylar Spencer made the Aztecs' lead six with a minute left -- and that was pretty much that. Xavier Thames, the tournament MVP, scored 27 points for San Diego State. He made 5-of-6 from three-point range and 8-of-9 from the free-throw line. Deonte Burton led Marquette with 15 points off the bench. The Eagles only made 1-of-11 from three-point range, and 16-of-26 free throws as they dropped to 5-and-3 on the year. Two of those losses came in the Wooden Tournament, including last week at Arizona State. Marquette had already dropped out of the Top-25 coaches' poll before hanging in the final 25th spot the past two weeks in the AP media survey.
Will he or won't he? There are conflicting reports on whether Aaron Rodgers can return at quarterback for Sunday's Green Bay Packers' home game against Atlanta. Rodgers, who turns 30 today, practiced on a limited basis last week for the first time since he broke a collarbone four weeks ago tonight against Chicago. NFL Network reported yesterday that Rodgers would be "lucky" to play against the Falcons -- and if the Packers lose on Sunday, team officials might consider letting Rodgers sit out for the rest of the season. Green Bay is on the brink of playoff contention, and then their best chance to get in would be to the win NFC North Division in which they're a game-and-an-half out with four left. After the NFL Network report appeared, Rodgers told ESPN-Wisconsin that his collarbone will be examined again this week and it would take quote, "a strong consensus from doctors and the team's hierarchy to return" on Sunday. Last night, Rodgers sounded more optimistic. At a Los Angeles Clippers' game, he told Fox Sports LA quote, "I'll be back and ready to go Sunday." The saga will certainly be question Number-One when Packers' head coach Mike McCarthy holds his next news conference late this afternoon. Green Bay is winless in its last five games, while Atlanta ended a five-game losing streak with a 34-31 overtime win over Buffalo yesterday.
The Detroit Lions still lead the NFC North Division after second-place Chicago lost at Minnesota yesterday, 23-to-20 in overtime. The Lions after 7-5. Chicago dropped to 6-6. Green Bay remains third at 5-6-1. Minnesota's win improved the last-place Vikings to 3-8-1. Blair Walsh made a 34-yard field goal with 1:43 left in the overtime. Adrian Peterson ran for 211 yards without scoring. He became the third-fastest player in N-F-L history to surpass 10-thousand career rushing yards. Vikings' quarterback Christian Ponder left late in the first half with a concussion. Josh McCown threw for 355 yards and a pair of touchdowns to Alshon Jeffery, who broke his own Bears' record with 249 receiving yards. The Bears have dropped two straight.
The University of Wisconsin football team could still get a New Year's Day bowl -- either the Capital One Bowl in Orlando or the Outback Bowl in Tampa. We won't know for sure until next Sunday, but we do know the Badgers won't play in the Orange Bowl or any other BCS bowl after their 31-24 upset loss to Penn State in their regular season finale on Saturday. The Badgers needed to finish in the Top-14 in next week's final BCS Standings to get a top-tier bowl bid. But the Penn State loss dropped them to No. 21 last night, six spots lower than a week ago. Also, Wisconsin dropped seven spots in both major national polls, also to 21st in both the AP media poll and the USA Today coaches' survey. The Badgers finished at 9-3 in coach Gary Andersen's first regular season in Madison. They placed second in the Big Ten Leaders Division at 6-2, two games behind first-place Ohio State.
The University of Wisconsin football team now has 24 verbal commitments for next fall. Quarterback Dareian Watkins and offensive lineman Micah Kapoi are the latest to commit during the weekend. Watkins is from Galion High School in Ohio. He first committed to Northwestern, but his offer was withdrawn after he visited other programs. Kapoi is a 298-pound lineman from Kapolei High School in Hawaii. He, too, withdrew an earlier commitment after he promised to attend Hawaii.
UW-Whitewater will host Linfield of Oregon on Saturday in the Elite Eight round of the NCAA Division III football playoffs. The Warhawks eliminated Franklin of Indiana 33-3 at home in the second round this past Saturday -- while Linfield advanced with a 31-21 victory over Hampden-Sydney. It was the third year in a row that Franklin lost in the Sweet-16 round. Whitewater is 2-0 lifetime against Linfield, both during the D-III playoffs. In 2005, the Warhawks won a 44-41 track meet at McMinnville, Oregon in the Elite Eight round. In 2009, Whitewater topped Linfield 27-17 in a home semi-final. Meanwhile, UW-Platteville was eliminated after losing at North Central of suburban Chicago, 52-24 in the second round.
Former Milwaukee Bucks' guard J.J. Redick will be out for 6-to-8 weeks, after he broke a bone in his right hand, and tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. Both injuries happened on Friday night, when Redick's Los Angeles Clippers beat Sacramento in overtime. The extent of the injuries was announced yesterday. Redick only spent five months in Milwaukee. The Bucks traded for him last February when they sent Tobias Harris to Orlando. In early July, Milwaukee sent Redick to the Clippers for a pair of future second-round draft choices in a three-way deal with Phoenix. This season, Redick was averaging a career-high 16 points a game with just over two rebounds and two assists in 17 games. He scored in double-figures in all but two of those contests. As for the current Bucks, they ended an 11-game losing streak with a 92-85 home win over Boston on Saturday night. They'll face the Celtics again tomorrow night in Boston.
The Marquette University men's soccer team was eliminated from its NCAA Tournament yesterday, with a 3-1 loss at Virginia. The Golden Eagles had a one-man advantage for all but the first 57 seconds, after Matt Brown was given a red card ejection for tackling Marquette's C. Nortey on a break-away. Darius Madison scored the eventual game-winning goal two minutes into the second half, as eighth-seeded Virginia advanced to the Elite Eight round later this week. Nortey scored Marquette's only goal in the 53rd minute. The ninth-seeded Golden Eagles outshot Virginia 13-11, with a 7-3 edge on corner kicks. Marquette ended its season at 13-6-2, making the N-C-A-A Sweet-16 for the first time. Virginia improved to 12-5-5.
Three Wisconsin teams were among 64 named last night to the NCAA Division I women's volleyball tournament. The Wisconsin Badgers will host a four-team sub-regional in the first two rounds. They'll open against UW-Milwaukee on Friday night at the UW Fieldhouse in Madison. Also, Marquette will play on Friday night against Louisville in a sub-regional at Champaign, Illinois. The Badgers' volleyball squad earned its first national tournament berth since 2007, as an at-large pick with a 23-9 record. They'll face a Milwaukee team that won both the Horizon League regular season and conference titles with an 18-10 overall mark. The winner will play either North Carolina or California on Saturday night. Marquette is 25-5 overall with a 14-match winning streak. They're in the NCAA's for the third straight time, after winning the Big East's automatic bid. Marquette will take on a Louisville team that's 23-7. The winner will face Illinois or Moorhead State on Saturday night.
The Milwaukee Admirals split their two-game weekend series at Charlotte with a 2-to-1 victory yesterday. Austin Watson scored the game-winner in the third period. Admirals' goal-tender Scott Darling earned his second win, as Milwaukee allowed a season-low 18 shots on goal. Miikka Salomaki scored Milwaukee's other goal, as the Admirals improved to 10-5-4-1. They're tied with Rockford for second in the Midwest Division with 25 points.
In the NFC North Division...
Minnesota 23, Chicago 20 in overtime
In men's college basketball...
San Jose State 67, Marquette 59
UW-River Falls 79, Ashford 66
UW-Stout 64, Wartburg 56
Coe 78, Northland 75
Concordia-Moorhead 84, UW-Superior 62
In women's college basketball...
Cardinal Stritch 70, UW-Parkside 60
Saint Scholastica 77, UW-Stout 71
Mount Mercy 76, UW-Platteville 69
Carthage 80, Chicago 65
In the NCAA men's soccer tournament...
Virginia 3, Marquette 1
In boys' high school hockey...
Antigo 5, De Pere 2
WSFLG Blizzard 6, Sheboygan 2