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WISCONSIN SPORTS ROUND-UP: Kenseth has pole for final Sprint Cup race

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MIAMI, Fla. -  Wisconsin-native Matt Kenseth secured the pole position for this year’s final Sprint Cup race at Homestead.

Not far from him is Jimmy Johnson in the seventh position. Johnson leads Kenseth by 28 points in the Cup standings. Johnson, who is looking for his sixth championship, needs to finish 23rd or better to claim this year’s cup. The championship-deciding race gets underway tomorrow. Kenseth says he's happy to have even a small chance of winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup season championship on Sunday.  Kenseth, the 2003 series champion, said it’s been seven years since he was mathematically in contention for the crown – and such opportunities do not come along all that often.  Paul Menard of Eau Claire is also entered in the final race of the NASCAR season, along with Beloit-born Danica Patrick and Travis Kvapil of Janesville.  

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An injury-depleted Milwaukee Bucks squad was no match for the undefeated Indiana Pacers last night. Early MVP favorite Roy Hibbert made all but two shots, scoring 24 points and ten rebounds in the 104-77 rout. The Bucks shot only 34-percent against the league’s number one defense. With the win, the Pacers have a chance to go 10-0 against the Chicago Bulls tonight. If the Pacers win, they will become the 14th team in league history to reach that milestone.

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The University of Wisconsin football team will look to continue its four-game winning streak and hold onto an outside shot for an at-large BCS bid, when the Indiana Hoosiers come into Camp Randall this afternoon. The 17th-ranked Badgers have an eight-game winning streak over the Hoosiers, who tout a high-powered aerial attack but struggles to get in the win column (4-5 overall record, 2-3 in the Big Ten) because the Hoosiers' defense is one of the worst in the nation. Linebacker Chris Borland says the defense is ready for the Hoosiers air attack that ranks 12th in the nation for passing yards per game. Kick-off is at 11 a.m. and the game will be broadcast on ESPN2.

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Green Bay Packers'  head coach Mike McCarthy said tight end Jermichael Finley has had surgery for the neck injury he suffered October 20th.  McCarthy said yesterday's practice that the medical staff told him the operation was successful, and he looks forward to talking with Finley.  His agent said the operation was not fully necessary, but it will help prevent relapses as he gets ready to play again at some point.  It won't be this season, since the Packers placed him on injured reserve.  Also today, McCarthy said he was not sure if right tackle Don Barclay could play on Sunday against the New York Giants.  The coach said Barclay was improving throughout the week, after he hurt a knee last Sunday against Philadelphia.  Barclay is listed as questionable -- which he means he has a 50-50 chance of playing against the Giants.  If he can't, Marshall Newhouse would get the start.  Also, linebacker Nick Perry is listed as doubtful with ankle-and-foot injuries.  Linebacker Andy Mulumba is questionable with a bad ankle.  Corner Sam Shields is listed as probable with a hamstring concern.  Also probable are Evan Dietrich-Smith, Clay Matthews, and Johnny Jolly.

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Former Packers' linebacker Erik Walden could be in a heap of trouble, for pulling a helmet off an opposing player during Thursday's Indianapolis-Tennessee game.  With the Titans leading 14-3 in the second quarter, Walden -- who's now with the Colts -- pulled the helmet off Tennessee's Delanie Walker at the end of a running play by Titan Chris Johnson.  Walker raised his arms to ask for a penalty, and he then approached Walden.  Walden then gave a head-butt with his helmet to the exposed head of Walker.  Walker responded by punching Walden.  Walden was flagged for a penalty that ended up being 12 yards, helping the Titans get a field goal.  Walden helped the Packers win a Super Bowl in the 2010 season.  He spent two more seasons in Green Bay before leaving for Indy as a free agent this past spring.  

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Green Bay Packers' linebacker Clay Matthews said he felt like a cat without whiskers last weekend, when he played with an oversized club on his right hand.  He said the club threw him off balance in his first game after breaking the thumb October sixth against Detroit.  This Sunday, Matthews will wear a smaller cast that will let him use his fingers, and feel more like he has control of both his hands.  In Matthews words, "I'll be like a feline who got his whiskers back, and then I'll be able to be more spry out there."  He says he can use his right hand for normal living activities -- but he still wears a brace for most of the day.  Matthews says the casts should keep getting smaller, but he expects to play with something on his hand through the end of the season.  The Packers are holding their final practice today for Sunday's game against the New York Giants in East Rutherford New Jersey.  The Pack is 5-4 after losing two straight.  The Giants are 3-6 after winning three-in-a-row.

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It's the final Saturday for regular season football in the NCAA's Division III.  UW-Whitewater and Concordia-Wisconsin have already secured spots in the D-III playoffs that begin next weekend.  Saint Norbert would join that group with a home win over Lake Forest today.  UW-Platteville and UW-Oshkosh also have a good chance of making the Field-of-32, since they've hovered around the national Top-10 all season long.  The NCAA will unveil teams and brackets on Sunday evening.  UW-Whitewater can win the WIAC title outright tomorrow, with a home victory over River Falls.  If the Warhawks lose, eighth-ranked Oshkosh or Number-10 Platteville would clinch a share of the league crown.  Those two teams play each other in Oshkosh.  Eau Claire plays at La Crosse.  And Stevens Point is at Stout. Saint Norbert could win the Midwest Conference title outright with a win over Lake Forest.  If the Green Knights lose, Illinois College could grab a share of the crown with a victory at Carroll of Waukesha.  Saint Norbert is 8-0 in league play, and Illinois College is 7-1.  Also, Ripon hosts Lawrence. In the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference, league champion Concordia-Wisconsin plays at Wisconsin Lutheran.  Lakeland is at Benedictine.  And Maranatha Baptist plays at Concordia-Chicago.  Carthage, which is 0-6 in the CCIW, will close out its season at home against Millikin.

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The Milwaukee Wave will open their Major Indoor Soccer League season tonight at Missouri.  This week, the Wave announced the signings of two former teammates at UW-Green Bay -- midfielder J.C. Banks and defender Tony Walls.  Banks is the son of Wave Hall-of-Famer Jimmy Banks.  He led the USL Pro League in assists last year with eight, when he played for the Rochester Rhinos.  He was named the league's MVP and the offensive player of the year.  Walls, a Wauwatosa native, played with the Chicago Fire in Major League Soccer for a year.  Also, Milwaukee defender Joe Hammes announced his retirement after 10 years.  He helped the Wave win three league titles.

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Tomislav Zadro of Wisconsin has been named the Big Ten Conference men's soccer player-of-the-year on offense -- and his teammate A.J. Cochran was named the league's top defensive player.  The Badgers join Ohio State as the only teams ever to have Big Ten offensive-and-defensive player-of-the-year honors in the same season.  Zadro and Cochran were also named to the all-conference first team.  Zadro missed all of last season with an ACL knee injury, but he came back strong this year with 16 points and a league-best eight assists.  Cochran led a defensive back-line that had six shutouts.  Badgers Nick Janus and Drew Connor made the all-Big Ten second team.  Wisconsin's Nick Jones and Brian Hail both made the all-freshman squad.  The Badgers lost their Big Ten tournament opener this week against Northwestern, but they remain optimistic about getting an at-large NCAA berth. 

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The No. 12 ranked University of Wisconsin men's hockey team lost 2-0 at No. 8 Miami of Ohio Friday evening. The Red Hawks' Anthony Louis scored a goal in the second period and then Miami scored an empty net goal in the final seconds of the contest. UW was outshot by Miami 36-30 and went 0-for-3 on the power play. UW goalie Landon Peterson made 35 saves. The non-conference series concludes this evening in Oxford, Ohio.

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The No. 2 ranked University of Wisconsin women's hockey team edged Northeastern 3-2 Friday in the first game of a tournament being played in Vail, Colorado. Trailing 2-1 in the third period, the Badgers, 9-2 overall, rallied with goals from Brittany Ammerman and Jenny Ryan. UW goalie Anne-Rene Desbiens made 23 saves. Ammerman also had an assist. Wisconsin will play Boston University in the tourney final this afternoon at 1:07 p.m (CST).

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SCOREBOARD

MENS COLLEGE BASKETBALL

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DIVISION I:

UW-Milwaukee 64, San Jose State 61

DIVISION III:

Mount Mercy 84, UW-Stout 83 (OT)

UW-La Crosse 94, Olivet 59

Wittenberg 69, UW-River Falls 62

Aurora 83, Ripon 75

Lawrence 92, Wisconsin Lutheran 77

Lakeland 92, Martin Luther 77

Carroll 90, Concordia-Wisconsin 71

UW-Platteville 97, Indiana Dabney 64

Northwestern College of Minnesota 100, Maranatha Baptist 69

Minnesota-Crookston 76, Northland of Ashland 68

WOMENS COLLEGE BASKETBALL

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DIVISION I:

St. Bonaventure 68, UW-Green Bay 62

DIVISION III:

UW-Stout 78, North Central 50

Ohio Northern 64, Carthage 56

UW-Whitewater 107, St. Mary’s of Indiana 61

Calvin 65, Lakeland 45

UW-Oshkosh 70, Martin Luther 48

Luther 80, UW-River Falls 75

St. Norbert 107, Northland 21

UW-Stevens Point 64, Lake Forest 61

Carroll 65, UW-Eau Claire 49

MENS COLLEGE HOCKEY

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(8) Miami (OH) 2, (12) Wisconsin 0

WOMENS COLLEGE HOCKEY

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(2) Wisconsin 3, Northwestern 2

NBA

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Indiana 104, Milwaukee 77

STATE VOLLEYBALL TOURNAMENT – BOYS

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Milwaukee Marquette (28-2) def Westosha Central (27-11) 25-11, 25-18, 25-18

Brookfield East (18-8) def. Kaukauna (30-10) 25-16, 25-19, 25-23 

Germantown (32-3) def. Middleton (19-4) 26-28, 25-27, 25-18, 25-15, 15-11  

Waukesha Catholic Memorial (39-4) def. Racine William Horlick (32-8) 25-11, 27-25, 25-7 

WOMENS COLLEGE SOCCER

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DIVISION I – NCAA TOURNAMENT:

Western Michigan 1, Marquette 0

DIVISION III – NCAA TOURNAMENT:

Washington University of St. Louis 5, St. Norbert 2

MENS COLLEGE SOCCER

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DIVISION III – NCAA TOURNAMENT:

Hope College 2, UW-Oshkosh 1

WOMENS COLLEGE VOLLEYBALL

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DIVISION III – NCAA TOURNAMENT (SECOND-ROUND):

UW-Stevens Point 3, St. Benedict 1

AHL

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Chicago 4, Milwaukee 3

HIGH SCHOOL – PREP FOOTBALL

WIAA PLAYOFFS – LEVEL 4

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DIVISION 1:

Hartland Arrowhead 38, Hudson 14

Franklin 35, Mukwonago 8

DIVISION 2:

Kimberly 21, Waukesha West 10

DIVISION 3:

Greendale 44, Appleton Xavier 20

Monona Grove 28, La Crosse Logan 14

DIVISION 4:

Platteville 22, Manitowoc Roncalli 15

Winneconne 16, Somerset 14

DIVISION 5:

Lancaster 52, Kewaunee 26

Stanley-Boyd 28, Amherst 21

DIVISION 7:

Black Hawk 60, Lake Country Lutheran 33

Glenwood City 48, Pittsville 26

     
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