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WISCONSIN SPORTS ROUND-UP: Kohl sells Bucks to New York billionares

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Ellsworth Wisconsin 126 S. Chestnut St. 54011

MILWAUKEE - After 29 years of owning the Milwaukee Bucks, Herb Kohl announced this afternoon that he's selling Wisconsin's pro basketball franchise to a pair of New York hedge fund billionaires.  

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During a news conference at the Bradley Center, Kohl stood next to Wesley Edens and Marc Lasry -- who will pay $550-million for an NBA franchise that Kohl bought for $18-million back in 1985.  Also, Edens and Lasry promised to put up $100 million dollars for the creation of a new arena.  Kohl called it quote, "a major step forward in my goal in keeping the Bucks here."  Kohl, a former U.S. senator for 24 years, has also pledged money toward a new stadium.  He said today it would be $100-million as well.  The NBA Board of Governors meets tomorrow and Friday in New York, but there was no immediate word as to whether the Bucks' sale would be on the agenda.

Kohl's announcement was made about five hours before the Bucks were to close out their worst season in team history, by hosting the Detroit Pistons.  Milwaukee is 15-66, one of just three NBA teams not to win back-to-back games during the course of an entire season. Kohl -- the owner of a grocery chain back in the '80's -- purchased the Bucks to keep them from moving to Minnesota, which did not yet have an NBA team after the Lakers left Minneapolis for Los Angeles.  During Kohl's watch, the Bucks had their high-water mark in 2001, when they came within one victory of making the NBA Finals.  Lasry is one of the richest Americans, ranking 352nd on Forbes' list of the 400 wealthiest with a net worth of one-and-a-half billion dollars.

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The Milwaukee Brewers salvaged a victory from Saint Louis this afternoon, closing out their three-game series with a 5-1 victory over the Cardinals at Miller Park.  The Brewers scored the deciding runs with two out in the fifth inning.  Jonathan Lucroy hit a two-run single, and Aramis Ramirez followed with a single that scored the inning's third run.  Carlos Gomez belted an RBI-double in the third, and Milwaukee scored its final run when Lyle Overbay drew a bases-loaded walk.  Allen Craig hit a solo homer in the sixth for the Cardinals' only tally.  Wily Peralta got the win, giving up a run on six hits in six-and-a-third innings with a walk and three strikeouts.  He's now 2-0.  Saint Louis starter Joe Kelly left the game after he laid down a bunt in the fifth inning and grabbed a hamstring after he was thrown out at first.  Kelly surrendered a run on three hits in four innings with two strikeouts before he exited.  He took the loss, falling to 1-1.  The Brewers ended a two-game losing string.  They'll open a four-game series at Pittsburgh tomorrow night.

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Wisconsin school officials want to know more about the idea of forcing at least some private schools to compete in a higher division for state tournaments than they normally would.  At the WIAA's annual meeting today, schools voted 352-77 to create an ad-hoc committee to study the pros and cons.  The panel would make its recommendation by December 1 -- and then the matter would go through the committee process, with the earliest possible adoption in the fall of 2015.  Some coaches say private schools have won an disproportionate number of state championships since merging with the WIAA a number of years ago.  As a result, an enrollment multiplier of 1.65 was proposed to determine where private schools be placed.  One possible effect would have caused Division 4 boys' basketball champion Whitefish Bay Dominican to compete in the higher Division 3 instead.

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Three former University of Wisconsin men's hockey players will compete in a world tournament next month in Belarus.  Jake McCabe, Jake Gardiner, and Craig Smith are among the first 15 players announced for Team USA at the International Ice Hockey Federation World Championships May 9th through 25th.  McCabe was named a coaches' first-team All-American this past season.  When the campaign was over, he played in seven games for the NHL's Buffalo Sabres.  Gardiner was a second-team All-American in his final year with the Badgers in 2011.  Gardiner is now a defenseman with the Toronto Maple Leafs, with 10 goals and 31 points in 80 games.  Smith is making his fourth appearance with the U.S. team.  He had 76 points in three seasons at Madison, and he's been with the NHL's Nashville Predators the past three years.

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University of Wisconsin softball third baseman Michelle Mueller has become the first Badger to be named the national player of the week by both the coaches' association and USA Softball.  Mueller, a senior, hit four homers with 18 RBI's in five home games last week.  All were Wisconsin victories.  Mueller batted .600 for the week with a slugging percentage of one-point-five-three-three and an on-base percentage of .588.  She belted back-to-back-to-back homers against Illinois -- tied for the second-most in NCAA Division I history.

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