WISCONSIN SPORTS ROUND-UP: Rodgers practices in football pads for first time since injury
GREEN BAY - Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers practiced in pads yesterday for the first time since he broke his left collarbone four-and-a-half weeks ago.
However, he only took part in the individual drills, as Matt Flynn took most of the snaps during the team drills. Reports indicate that Flynn will start on Sunday when the Packers host Atlanta. Coach Mike McCarthy has already said that Rodgers won't get a fresh medical scan before Sunday to check out his collarbone. Rodgers has improved his throwing, but the biggest concern is whether he can take the hits to the place where his injury occurred. Also, defensive end Ryan Pickett was added to the injury report with a knee problem. Offensive tackle David Bakhtiari was ill yesterday. Both are expected to play against the Falcons.
Meanwhile, ticket prices on the secondary market for Sunday's game have dropped below face-value -- the first time that's happened at Lambeau since 2009. The online search engine Seat-Geek says a $74 end zone ticket can be had for as little as $37. Seat-Geek said the average resale price of Packer tickets has dropped 38-percent since Rodgers got hurt.
Packers' corner Tramon Williams has been fined just over $26,000 for shoving official Dino Paganelli during last Thursday's loss at Detroit. NFL Network says it's a standard fine for bumping an official, and Williams will appeal it. He said he thought he was shoving a Detroit Lions' player, and he pushed one of his arms onto the official's back by accident. Williams has previous called it a "total misunderstanding."
After struggling for five games, the Green Bay Packer defense will try to lift itself off the mat on Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons at Lambeau Field. Corner Tramon Williams says there's been a lot of energy at practice this week, and the players have not given up. They still have a slim shot at the playoffs. But at 5-6-1, time is running out for the Packers, and they're at risk of missing the post-season for the first time since 2008. Green Bay has been plagued by poor tackling all year. Those problems have been magnified ever since quarterback Aaron Rodgers went out November fourth with a broken collarbone. Since the injury, the Packer-"D" has given up about one more touchdown per game. What used to be a Top-five running defense is now surrendering 185 rushing yards each week. And the Packers have still not won a game since four days before Halloween at Minnesota. Green Bay had an earlier bye this year than they're accustomed to. As a result, they've played nine straight weeks -- and they considered the break after their Thanksgiving loss at Detroit as a "mini-bye" to get both their minds and bodies in gear for the rest of the season. Coach Mike McCarthy said the break rejuvenated his team physically -- and he hopes the same was true mentally, as well.
Left-hander Will Smith will be considered a starter when the Milwaukee Brewers open their Spring Training next year. The Brewers acquired the 24-year-old Smith yesterday when they traded right-fielder Norichika Aoki to the Kansas City Royals. Smith made 16 starts for the Royals in 2012, with a 6-9 record and an ERA of almost 5.25. This year, he spent most of his time as a reliever, making only one start for KC in 19 appearances. Smith did start 10 games in Triple-"A" with a 6-4 mark. Smith said he's excited about the move. He said he felt wanted by the Royals, but that the Brewers wanted him more. It also gives manager Ron Roenicke the possibility of having a second left-hander in the bullpen to join Tom Gorzelanny. Aoki was looking for a trade, as he faced the possibility of reduced playing time with Milwaukee in 2014. The Brewers expect to move Ryan Braun from left field to right, and keep Khris Davis in his preferred spot in left.
The Milwaukee Brewers have to find a new lead-off hitter, now that Norichika Aoki is gone. Manager Ron Roenicke says shortstop Jean Segura is a possibility. So is second baseman Scooter Gennett, if he continues to start ahead of veteran Rickie Weeks. Center-fielder Carlos Gomez could also be in the mix. None of those three have shown that they're dependable at the lead-off spot day-in and day-out, like Aoki was. He had a .356 on-base percentage last season, and Roenicke said Aoki knew how to milk the count to his advance. The manager said he would miss Aoki for that reason, but he knows the Brewers need to give their younger players a chance. Aoki was traded to Kansas City yesterday, after losing his right-field spot to Ryan Braun so young slugger Khris Davis could stay in the lineup in left field. The Brewers acquired left-hander Will Smith from the Royals. For now, he's projected as a starter for next season.
The Milwaukee Bucks will play at Washington tonight. The Wizards come in at 9-9. The Bucks are 3-15, as their offense struggles to control the ball and make baskets. Milwaukee has the NBA's second-lowest scoring average at just over 90 points a game, and the second-lowest shooting at almost 42-percent. The Bucks also commit the league's sixth-highest number of turnovers per game, with almost 17, giving opponents many more chances to score. And that tires out the Milwaukee defense, as evidenced by Detroit's 14-0 run on Wednesday night in the Pistons' seven-point victory. Point guard Brandon Knight said the Bucks don't get many easy baskets. He blames a lack of patience, and the fact that 11 new players are still trying to blend in. Knight says the decision-making will get better, and so will the team's performance on both ends of the floor. The Bucks do shoot free throws and three-pointers well. They're seventh in the league with a 78-percent free throw average, and they're ninth in three-point shooting at 38-percent.________________________
The University of Wisconsin women's basketball team beat Boston College 74-59 at home last night in their Big Ten-ACC Challenge. The Badgers were trailing by seven with 10:36 left when Tessa Cichy hit a three-pointer to start a 32-to-10 Wisconsin run that ended the game. Morgan Paige scored eight straight points during that run. Cichy ended up with 13. Taylor Wurtz led the Badgers with 22 points. Michala Johnson added 21 points and seven rebounds. Wurtz and Johnson scored all but two of Wisconsin's points in the first half. The Badgers scored 26, their lowest first-half output of the season. Katie Zenevitch had 17 points and 10 rebounds for Boston College, which dropped to 3-5. The Badgers out-shot BC 47-to-45 percent, but they were out-rebounded 35-27. Wisconsin improved to 5-2, and will play at Marquette tomorrow night with the tip-off at 7 p.m.
Marquette guard Duane Wilson has been cleared to practice, after he missed the Golden Eagles' first eight games with a stress fracture in one of his legs. Coach Buzz Williams says Wilson is still limited, and there's a chance that he could red-shirt and delay his freshman season. Williams says the player and his family will make the decision. The coach said Wilson has been consistent with his rehab work, but there's no way to tell if the stress fracture will be healed six weeks from now. Marquette is gearing up to play its in-state rival Wisconsin tomorrow afternoon in Madison.
There's a very light schedule tonight for Wisconsin college basketball. None of the major schools are in action -- but that changes in a big way tomorrow, when Marquette travels to Madison to take on the eighth-ranked Wisconsin men. State teams in all three NCAA divisions will play tomorrow, and many of the D-III schools will have conference games. Tonight, the Carthage men play Calvin, which is ranked ninth by D3hoops.com. The Maranatha Baptist men take on Multnomah Bible College. The Maranatha women will face Kuyper College.
The Milwaukee Admirals have cooled down after starting their American Hockey League season with an eight-game points' streak. The Admirals are 10-5-4-1 in 20 games. All but six of those contests have been decided by one goal, and Milwaukee has lost back-to-back games only once, both against Texas November 8th-and-9th. However, it's been a while since the Admirals have won back-to-back contests. They'll have a chance to do that tonight, when they host Oklahoma City. The Barons are 9-11-0-3, and only three teams in the Western Conference have fewer points than Oklahoma. Milwaukee is second in its division, the Midwest. The Admirals are seven points behind first-place Grand Rapids. Rookie Miikka Salomaki has really come for the Admirals lately. He has scored 10 points in his last 12 games, for a team-leading total of 14 for the year.
Three Wisconsin teams will open play tonight in the NCAA Division I women's volleyball tournament. UW-Madison is hosting a four-team subregional. Wisconsin will host UW-Milwaukee in the second of two matches. The Badgers have a No. 12 seed in the Field-of-64. In the other match at the UW Field House, California will play North Carolina late this afternoon. That winner will take on either the Badgers or UWM tomorrow night. Meanwhile, Marquette is gearing up to play Louisville this evening in their first-round match at Champaign, Illinois. The Fighting Illini are the hosts with the 13th seed. They'll take on Morehead State tonight, and the two winners will play tomorrow evening to try and advance to next week's Sweet-16 round.
UW-Whitewater could return to the national Final Four tomorrow, with a victory over Linfield of Oregon in the NCAA Division III football quarter-finals. Both teams are unbeaten -- Whitewater through 12 games, and Linfield through 11. The Warhawks have Division-Three's best scoring defense, giving up just seven-and-a-half points a game this season. Linfield has the nation's top scoring offense, averaging almost 52 points each week. Of the eight remaining teams, Whitewater has the best turnover margin, forcing two-point-three mistakes per game. The Warhawks have 28 more takeaways than giveaways. Linfield made the Elite Eight round with a 31-21 victory over Hampden-Sydney last week. Whitewater advanced with a 33-3 home rout of Franklin.
Steve Stricker of Madison shot a three-over-par 75 yesterday in his first round at the Northwestern Mutual World Challenge. Stricker is tied for 14th among the 18 invited players at the event in Thousand Oaks, California. Stricker has not played in a tournament since the President's Cup in early October. Zach Johnson has the lead at five-under-67.
The University of Wisconsin men's hockey team will play its first Big Ten home games this weekend. The 17th-ranked Badgers will face Penn State tonight and tomorrow, to start a 12-game home-stand at the Kohl Center. Wisconsin is 0-2 in the conference and 4-5-1 overall, after dropping a pair at top-ranked Minnesota last weekend. The Nittany Lions are playing their Big Ten opener. They're 3-7-1 overall. Mark Zengerle became the 14th Badger to reach 100 career assists last weekend. The senior center had two assists last weekend, and he now has a team-high nine helpers for the season. Penn State has lost four straight. Sophomore forward Eric Scheid leads the Lions with 10 points, including six goals.
Scores:In men's college basketball...UW-Stout 79, UW-Superior 68Marian 84, Wisconsin Lutheran 82 in overtimeEdgewood 66, Milwaukee School of Engineering 58Lakeland 97, Concordia-Wisconsin 86
In women's college basketball...Wisconsin 74, Boston College 59UW-Stout 66, UW-Superior 49Lawrence 80, Mount Mary 29
Wisconsin boys' high school basketballAbbotsford 49, Prentice 30Algoma 53, Southern Door 44, OTAltoona 71, Eau Claire Regis 59Assumption 67, Pittsville 48Auburndale 63, Edgar 21Badger 67, Delavan-Darien 60Bangor 81, Wonewoc-Center 31Barneveld 60, Pecatonica 50Black Hawk 64, Argyle 24Bloomer 43, Barron 29Brookwood 40, Cashton 34Cassville 53, River Ridge 28Central Wisconsin Christian 50, Cambria-Friesland 33Chequamegon 65, Phillips 62Chetek-Weyerhaeuser 80, Cumberland 58Colby 75, Gilman 68Cuba City 63, Boscobel 44Darlington 63, Riverdale 29Deerfield 58, Hustisford 55Dodgeland 42, Rio 38Dodgeville 64, Prairie du Chien 37Eau Claire Immanuel Lutheran 52, Elmwood 42Elkhorn Area 49, Westosha Central 46Fall Creek 54, Osseo-Fairchild 43Fall River 64, Johnson Creek 28Green Bay NEW Lutheran 70, Sturgeon Bay 59Hayward 54, Ladysmith 49Hillsboro 45, New Lisbon 30Kettle Moraine Lutheran 68, North Fond du Lac 50Kewaunee 68, Sevastopol 41Laconia 62, Fond du Lac St. Mary's Springs 51Lake Holcombe 52, Birchwood 46Oshkosh Lourdes 59, Randolph 49Marion 56, Rosholt 45Chippewa Falls McDonell 60, Stanley-Boyd 47Milwaukee Bay View 75, Delafield St. John's Northwestern Military Academy 29Milwaukee Pulaski 84, Milwaukee Juneau 37Montello 62, Princeton/Green Lake 50Monticello 63, Juda 23Necedah 65, Royall 56Wausau Newman 66, Wausau Northland Lutheran 41Oakfield 58, Oshkosh Valley Christian 34Oconto 51, Gibraltar 43Pardeeville 39, Markesan 33Prairie Farm 46, Turtle Lake 45River Valley 65, Lancaster 51Shullsburg 36, Benton 27Solon Springs 65, Mellen 55Somerset 61, Osceola 44Southeast Wisconsin Christian Home School 78, Eastbrook Academy 34Southwestern 61, Fennimore 54Spencer 64, Owen-Withee 48Thorp 64, Cadott 38Waterford 46, Wilmot Union 43Williams Bay 63, Horicon 34
Bayfield vs. South ShoreMercer vs. HurleyDrummond vs. WashburnNorthwestern vs. Spooner, to February 10Ashland vs. Superior
Girls' high school basketballArcadia 61, Cochrane-Fountain City 12Adams-Friendship 37, Tomah 21Arrowhead 68, Brookfield East 38Black River Falls 41, Eleva-Strum 28Boyceville 63, Elmwood 22Brillion 53, Wrightstown 44Cadott 53, Gilmanton 41Campbellsport 45, New Holstein 40Central Wisconsin Christian 50, Cambria-Friesland 27Chippewa Falls 47, Medford Area 27Clinton 57, Palmyra-Eagle 25Colfax 56, St. Croix Central 34Milwaukee Divine Savior Holy Angels 68, Milwaukee Riverside 59Elk Mound 63, Spring Valley 15Fox Valley Lutheran 50, Ripon 23Freedom 42, Winneconne 29Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau 65, Sparta 26Goodman/Pembine 49, Florence 29Hayward 61, Osceola 12Milwaukee Hope Christian 53, Milwaukee South 42Howards Grove 36, Ozaukee 26Janesville Craig 63, Madison West 49Janesville Parker 45, Madison Memorial 31Jefferson 46, East Troy 16Kenosha Christian Life 47, Burlington Catholic Central 27La Farge 48, Wauzeka-Steuben 34Lake Holcombe 50, Birchwood 31Little Chute 43, Waupaca 22Onalaska Luther 56, Whitehall 48Madison La Follette 67, Madison East 31Manitowoc Lutheran 65, Hilbert 63Marshall 56, Watertown Luther Prep 27Martin Luther 43, Racine Lutheran 40McFarland 61, Edgerton 26Menominee, Mich. 45, Marinette 21Menomonee Falls 40, West Bend West 34Mercer vs. Hurley, postponedMiddleton 78, Beloit Memorial 60Milwaukee Vincent/Destiny 70, Milwaukee Ronald Reagan 14Mondovi 46, Plum City 37Nekoosa 64, Blair-Taylor 48New Glarus 49, Lodi 40North Crawford 39, Ithaca 33Oconomowoc 61, Greenfield 45Oostburg 68, Elkhart Lake/Glenbeulah 43Plymouth 45, Sheboygan Falls 35Poynette 71, Wautoma 51Random Lake 65, Oneida Nation 56Reedsville 53, Valders 30Manitowoc Roncalli 27, Chilton 20Rosholt 51, Wisconsin Valley Luth. 15Menasha St. Mary’s 46, Mishicot 13Milwaukee Salaam School 25, Milwaukee Tenor 18Seneca 33, De Soto 30Sheboygan County Christian 47, Cedar Grove-Belgium 29Slinger 43, Waukesha South 34Somerset 55, Bloomer 53, 2OTStevens Point 46, Green Bay East 24Beloit Turner 54, Big Foot 44Verona 52, Sun Prairie 33Wabeno/Laona 34, Niagara 26Waupun 42, Kiel 31Westby 52, Melrose-Mindoro 25Weston 37, Kickapoo 35Whitewater 58, Evansville 44Wisconsin Heights 58, Lake Mills 54Wisconsin Lutheran 42, Union Grove 31Appleton Xavier 52, Clintonville 21
Boys' high school hockeyAppleton United 4, Waupaca 2Hartland Arrowhead 5, Ashwaubenon 1Baldwin-Woodville 5, Amery 4Beaver Dam 3, Oshkosh 0Chequamegon/Phillips 3, Rhinelander 1Eau Claire Memorial 4, Chippewa Falls 1Janesville 4, Sun Prairie 3La Crescent Minnesota 5, La Crosse Aquinas 3Lakeland 9, Medford 2Middleton 2, Madison Memorial 1Oregon 8, Waunakee 2Rice Lake 6, River Falls 5Wausau East 3, Altoona 0West Salem 6, La Crosse 0Wisconsin Dells/Reedsburg 2, Tomah 0Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln 4, Schofield D.C. Everest 0Burnett County Blizzard 7, Moose Lake, Minnesota 1
Girls' high school hockeyFox Cities 4, Lakeshore Lightning 3Central Wisconsin 6, Chippewa Falls 1Onalaska 5, St. Croix Valley Fusion 4Point-Rapids 4, Waupaca 0
High School wrestling
Amery 50, Osceola 21
Appleton North 62, Appleton West 9
Arcadia 75, Whitehall 6
Bay Port 73, De Pere 6
Bonduel 59, Almond-Bancroft/Stevens Point Pacelli 18
Brookfield Central 38, Sussex Hamilton 37
Burlington 37, Waterford 27
Cadott 54, Abbotsford/Colby 27
Cashton 48, Westby 25
Chippewa Falls 55, Eau Claire Memorial 15
Clayton Ridge, Iowa 48, De Soto 33
Denmark 45, West De Pere 31
Durand 39, Baldwin-Woodville 28
White Lake/Elcho 40, Antigo 26
Elkhorn 35, Lake Geneva Badger 31
Ellsworth 69, Somerset 7
Green Bay West/Southwest 54, Sheboygan North 9
Holmen 33, Menomonie 30
Hudson 55, Neillsville/Greenwood/Loyal 9
Kenosha Bradford 59, Racine Washington Park 18
Kenosha Christian Life 63, Somers Shoreland Lutheran 18
Kimberly 57, Neenah 18
Luxemburg-Casco 44, Hortonville 22
Madison La Follette 52, Wisconsin Dells 21
Menominee Indian 44, Weyauwega-Fremont 28
Merrill 75, Wausau East 4
Mukwonago 70, Waukesha West 4
Milton 46, Fort Atkinson 18
Muskego 35, Waukesha South 33
New Richmond 49, Prescott 13
Omro 73, North Fond du Lac/Fond du Lac St Mary`s Springs 6
Oshkosh North 60, Appleton East 18
Oshkosh West 46, Menasha 30
Pulaski 61, Ashwaubenon 12
Reedsville 42, Valders 31
Saint Croix Central 33, Luck/Frederic/Grantsburg 28
Sheboygan Falls 55, Plymouth 24
Sheboygan South 40, Green Bay Preble/East 33
Two Rivers 58, Kewaskum 12
Unity 64, Shell Lake 16
Waupun 47, New Holstein 33
West Salem/Bangor 48, La Crosse Central 29
Westfield 49, Marshall 15