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WISCONSIN SPORTS ROUND-UP: Drew going through tough first-season with Bucks

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Ellsworth Wisconsin 126 S. Chestnut St. 54011

MILWAUKEE - You don't see NBA coaches conversing on the floor after games very often.  But Los Angeles Clippers' coach Doc Rivers made it a point to give some comforting words to Bucks' coach Larry Drew, after the Clips finished a 28-point shellacking on Milwaukee's home floor last night.  

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Drew said Rivers pulled him aside and whispered a few things.  Drew didn't want to say what they were, but Rivers said he knows what Drew's going through.  He said he was a part of two re-building teams during his years in Boston, and the resulting losses are tough to go through.  In Rivers' words, "Every night as a coach, you have to think you are going to win the game ... and it's hard."  The Bucks are 8-36.  They need to win 13 of their final 38 games to avoid having the worst record in the team's 45-year history.  General manager John Hammond said he was hoping he assembled a playoff team, before injuries hit.  Once the losses mounted, the Bucks decided to give their younger players some experience.  Drew said Rivers' words meant a great deal -- and while the coaches battle one another, they still care about each other.

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You might not have to travel far to see two of the biggest events in sports in a few years.  Minneapolis has been named a finalist to host the NCAA men's basketball Final Four sometime between 2017-2020.  Minnesota's largest city is also a candidate for the NFL's Super Bowl LII in 2018.  Both events were staged a number of years ago at the Metrodome in Minneapolis, which is being torn down to accommodate a new Vikings' stadium -- where both the Final Four and the Super Bowl could be staged.  Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton will make pitches this weekend in New York, where the Broncos and Seahawks will square off in Super Bowl-XLVII on Sunday.  Dayton has also named a team of top business leaders to lead Minnesota's effort to win the NFL title game.  For the Final Four, Minnesota is among 13 cities and regions nominated for the men's-and-women's tournament finales in 2017-20.  The winners will be announced in November -- along with the sites for the preliminary rounds of the men's tournaments in 2016-18.  Milwaukee is hosting the first weekend of this year's men's tournament in March.

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Trevor Hass of UW-Stevens Point and Sally Linzmeier of UW-Superior are the men's-and-women's basketball players of the week in the WIAC.  Hass, a senior guard-and-forward, tied a school record by hitting 9-of-13 three-point shots in a win at La Crosse.  Hass made all 10 of his free throws in that game, and he shot 76-percent from the floor.  He also scored 18 points in a Pointer victory over Platteville.  Linzmeier, a junior guard, averaged 20 points and nine rebounds in a pair of victories for Superior.  She had a game-high 26 points against Platteville -- and 14 points and 11 boards against River Falls. The WIAC also recognized Kyle Sharkey of Stevens Point and Shanley Peters of Superior in men's-and-women's hockey -- Alex Card of Eau Claire and Mikayla Beuch of La Crosse in swimming -- Justin Bublitz and Tessa Kahring, both of La Crosse, in diving -- Thurgood Dennis of Eau Claire and Jenna Halvorson of La Crosse in indoor track -- Dominique Neloms of La Crosse and Melanie Brickner of Oshkosh in indoor field events -- Courtney Pickett and Katie Fiorilli, both of Whitewater, in women's gymnastics -- and Nazar Kulchytskyy of Oshkosh in wrestling.

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Alyssa Szczepaniak of Carroll University in Waukesha has been named the Midwest Conference women's swimmer-of-the-week.  The freshman took first place in the 100-and-200 backstroke at the Wisconsin Private College Championships at Carthage in Kenosha.  Szczepaniak also helped her 200-medley relay team finish first.  Michael Brus of Grinnell is the Midwest male swimmer-of-the-week.  In indoor track, junior Dan Sisler of Saint Norbert won the weekly men's honors with a new school record in his first heptathlon.  Felicia Carlson of Beloit College is the top female track athlete.  The junior won both the 60-and-200-meter events at the Monmouth Midwest Invite last weekend.

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The top seven teams are unchanged from a week ago in the Division III men's hockey rankings from U.S. College Hockey Online.  Saint Norbert of De Pere remains at Number-two, behind Adrian of Michigan.  The Green Knights are 16-2-1 overall.  UW-Stevens Point is still third, and Eau Claire remains seventh.  River Falls jumped three places to a tie for 10th with Oswego.  In the Division-Three women's poll, the top nine places are unchanged from last week.  UW-River Falls is still ranked fifth at 13-3-3.  Stevens Point is No. 6, and Superior is still eighth.  Plattsburgh of New York State remains the women's No. 1.

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