WISCONSIN SPORTS ROUND-UP: NBA to hear update on new Bucks' arena plans
MILWAUKEE - The NBA’s Board of Governors will hear an update tomorrow on Milwaukee’s effort to come up with a new arena. Owner Herb Kohl and executive vice-president Ron Walter will give a report at a meeting in New York of the league’s governing body. Walter says they’re interested in what steps have been taken, and the progress that has been made.
There’s not to say, really – not that we know of, anyway. The Metro Milwaukee Association of Commerce has been rounding up about 40 people to serve on a task force that will study indoor entertainment needs not only for the Bucks, but for other institutions in the area. An internal group from the commerce association has been getting data on the question of whether a new arena should be built – or if the 25-year-old Bradley Center should be refurbished. Financing has not been discussed – but officials from Racine, Waukesha, and Ozaukee counties have already balked at the idea of having a sales tax, or extending the one that’s paying for Miller Park. Last week, the head of the commerce association said Racine County would not be part of the arena taxing area this time around.
Green Bay Packers' receiver James Jones remains a question mark for Sunday night's contest at Minnesota. Coach Mike McCarthy revealed for the first time yesterday that the medical staff had Jones out for 2-to-3 weeks with the sprained PCL knee ligament he suffered at Baltimore nine days ago. Last week, McCarthy made it sound like he was holding out hope that Jones could play in Sunday's home win over Cleveland -- which he didn't. Yesterday, the coach said Jones is quote, "not your normal guy ... He's genetically-gifted, so we'll see what happens." With Jones and Randall Cobb out, tight end Jermichael Finley sometimes lined up as a slot receiver before he got hurt against the Browns -- and his spin move just before his first-quarter touchdown made ESPN's highlights of the week. Second-year receiver Jarrett Boykin had a breakout day against the Browns, with 103 yards and the Packers' final touchdown. Jordy Nelson remains healthy, and rookie receiver Myles White is expected to play a bigger receiving role -- as well as the Packers' three back-up tight ends. The Packer players are off today, after taking over first place in the NFC North Division with their victory over the Browns. They'll start practicing tomorrow for the Minnesota contest.
The Packers' rash of injuries appears to be hitting special teams the hardest. Without some key blockers and tacklers, the Packers gave up 189 yards on four kickoff returns in yesterday's 31-13 victory over the Cleveland Browns. The Packer defense again rose to the occasion, giving up just 216 total yards despite the absence of starters Clay Matthews and Brad Jones. Meanwhile, the Packers' coverage units have been decimated by the extended absences of Ryan Taylor, Jarrett Bush, and Robert Francois -- who played over 300 snaps on special teams a year ago. Rookie Chris Banjo said it's not easy to fill so many holes caused by injuries -- but he said the expectations to produce never change and quote, "We just have to continue to build on that and go from there." Myles White and Jake Stoneburner, both rookies who were promoted from the practice squad last week, spent time on special teams yesterday as did Chris Harper -- who joined the Packers on Saturday after being claimed off waivers from San Francisco.
Packers' rookie defensive end Datone Jones may have had his best game of the year in Sunday's win over Cleveland. The first-round draft choice from UCLA earned his first career quarterback hit, while playing almost two dozen snaps in sub-packages with extra defensive backs. Jones showed a lot of potential at the start of Training Camp, but he had a long ankle injury during the pre-season -- and that slowed him down once the regular season began. Jones has only recorded one tackle so far. But defensive coordinator Dom Capers says Jones is an active rusher, and he'll keep getting better the more he plays.
The MIlwaukee Brewers announced their Spring Training schedule today. Pitchers and catchers will report to the Maryvale complex in Phoenix on February 15th, which is 116 days away. The Crew has 29 exhibition games planned, including 14 at their home facility at Maryvale Baseball Park. Milwaukee’s exhibition opener is set for February 27th against Oakland on the A’s diamond in Phoenix. The Brewers will have home contests against the Chicago Cubs on March third, and against Cincinnati on March 15th. Split-squad games are set for March first against the Dodgers and Arizona – and March ninth against the Cubs and Cleveland. As always, the Brewers will close out the spring with a pair of exhibitions at Milwaukee’s Miller Park. The Kansas City Royals will play there against the Crew March 28th and 29th. Royals’ manager Ned Yost will be in the visitors’ dugout, after he served as the Brewers’ skipper for almost six seasons ending in September of 2008. Tickets to the Crew’s spring games will go on sale December sixth. More information about that is online at Brewers.com.
Despite all their injuries, the Green Bay Packers are not hurting in the secondary. In last Sunday’s win over Cleveland, rookie Micah Hyde shared playing time with Jerron McMillian as the sixth DB in the Packers’ dime package. And rookie Chris Banjo was rotated with safety M.D. Jennings. Defensive coordinator Dom Capers said the idea was give Banjo more playing time. He had a pass break-up and a tackle in just over two dozen snaps. Meanwhile, Hyde and Davon House have done well in giving corners Sam Shields and Tramon Williams a breather. Those positions could get crowded soon, with the possible return of second-year corner Casey Hayward. He has not played in the regular season yet, as he comes off an injured hamstring. Hayward led the Packers with six interceptions in his rookie season a year ago. He practiced all three days last week, but Capers says Hayward has not been ready to go full-throttle during a game. Capers said he’ll need to see how Hayward practices this week before making a decision on his return. Hayward has said he’s chomping-at-the-bit to play again. The Packers will start practicing tomorrow for their Sunday night game at Minnesota.
The University of Wisconsin’s next football game will kick off at 11 in the morning on Saturday, Nov. 2. The 22nd-ranked Badgers will play at Iowa that day, after coming off another bye this weekend. It has not been decided which network will televise the contest.
University of Wisconsin men's basketball forward Frank Kaminsky practiced yesterday for the first time since injuring his left foot on October 11th. He did not take part in three mini-games. The 7-foot Kaminsky played in all 35 games for the Badgers last year, and started two. He averaged about 10 minutes a game last season. He shot 54-percent during Wisconsin's recent five-game exhibition tour in Canada, with a scoring average of just under 16 points.
The UW-Green Bay men's basketball team is ranked 21st in a pre-season poll of non-BCS conference schools. College Insider.com released the poll yesterday. It comes on the heels of a Horizon League pre-season poll in which Green Bay is picked to win the conference regular season title. The Horizon League noted that seven of its teams received votes in the mid-major poll, despite losing powerhouse Butler to the new Big East Conference. Green Bay was the only Horizon school to make the Top-25. Wichita State is No. 1, after making the NCAA Final Four last spring. Gonzaga is second, followed by BYU.
____________________________________The University of Wisconsin men's hockey team plunged out of the Top-10 after losing a pair of games in Boston over the weekend. The Badgers dropped from second place to 11th in the U.S. College Hockey Online poll, after losing at Boston College 9-2 and at Boston University 7-3. The Badgers lost both their games in the inaugural Big Ten-Hockey East Challenge. Mike Eaves' team dropped to 2-2 on the young season. Boston College moved up two places to fifth in the new poll, and Boston University rose two spots to 13th. Minnesota is the new No. 1, after Miami-of-Ohio fell two places to third. Meanwhile, the Badger women moved up two spots to second in their new poll, after sweeping Saint Cloud State over the weekend. Wisconsin is 4-2 overall, and 4-2 in the WCHA. Unbeaten Minnesota is at No. 1.
The University of Wisconsin women's lightweight rowing team placed third in its final competition this fall, the Head-of-the-Charles regatta in Boston. Badgers' coach Lisa Schlenker competed in the Master Doubles with former UW rower Abby Knight -- and they took first in a field of 16 boats. In the openweight competition, the Badger championship eight boat finished ninth. Cambridge placed first.
Trevor Whitehead and Jacob Zilbar, both of UW-Platteville, have been named the WIAC football players-of-the-week along with Tyler Job of Stevens Point. Whitehead, a junior receiver, caught a touchdown pass with 52 seconds left that helped eighth-ranked Platteville edge Stevens Point 24-23. He had 11 catches on the day for 161 yards and two touchdowns. Zilbar, a junior middle linebacker, sealed Platteville’s victory by intercepting a pass with 34 seconds left. He also had a pass break-up and 13 tackles. Job, a freshman punter, averaged 40 yards on six punts for the Pointers. All six of his punts landed within Platteville’s 30-yard-line, including one that stopped at the four. The WIAC also gave its weekly honors to Jessop Keene of Stout and Laura Mead of La Crosse in cross country – Bob Shone of Whitewater and Karl Block of Oshkosh in men’s soccer – Anna Kouba of River Falls and Jordan Myers of Whitewater in women’s soccer – and Katelyn Malcheski of Oshkosh in volleyball.
Sidney Blodgett of Ripon College has been named the women's soccer player-of-the-week in the Midwest Conference. Blodgett, a sophomore goal-keeper, recorded her fifth shutout of the season in a 1-0 victory over Grinnell.
Concordia-Wisconsin swept this week's football awards in the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference. Quarterback Austin Damaschke was named the player-of-the-week on offense. Defensive lineman Taylor Witty was the top defensive player, and kicker David Gonzalez received the weekly honors for special teams. Damaschke, a junior, passed for 380 yards and a touchdown in a 48-42 win over Concordia-Chicago. Damaschke also ran for 53 yards and two scores. Witty, a senior, had two sacks and a forced fumble. Gonzalez, a junior, booted two field goals from 37 and 24 yards out, along with six extra points. The NACC also gave weekly honors to Alec Brew of Concordia-Wisconsin in men's soccer, and Chase Robles of Wisconsin Lutheran in men's cross country.
The state of Wisconsin claimed one-of-the-six individual gold medals at the Midwest Conference women's tennis tournament in Madison. Julie Schweiss of Carroll won the Number-Six singles' crown by defeating Brittany Dudzik of Saint Norbert 6-1, 6-3. Abigail Pellett of Carroll placed second in the Number-One singles' competition. Pellett lost to Shirlene Luk of Grinnell 6-4, 6-4. Grinnell won four of the six singles' titles. Saint Norbert won the Number-three doubles' crown. Maggie Berens and Katherine Ake defeated Grinnell's Virginia Purcell and Julia Rumnley 6-2, 4-6, 6-3. Grinnell and Lake Forest claimed the other doubles' titles.
Steve Stricker of Madison remains at Number-seven in the new World Golf Rankings released today. The Top-12 players are unchanged from a week ago. Tiger Woods, Adam Scott, and Phil Mickelson remain in the one-two-and-three slots. Pewaukee native Mark Wilson dropped six places to 154th in the world, after he missed the cut on Friday at the Shriners Hospitals’ tournament in Las Vegas.