WISCONSIN SPORTS ROUND-UP: Surprises in Brewers for first exhibition game
PHOENIX - Milwaukee Brewers' manager Ron Roenicke unveiled some surprises in his lineup for the team's exhibition opener against Oakland this afternoon.
Veteran Mark Reynolds, who's competing with Lyle Overbay for the first base job, is starting at third. Roenicke called it a necessity because Aramis Ramirez is still recovering from colon surgery a couple months ago. Juan Francisco was plugged in at first, and Overbay was the designated hitter. The skipper said Overbay especially needs some at-bats, and that's why he was the D- today. He'll play at first in the next game. Ryan Braun returned to his customary spot as the No. 3 hitter, after missing 65 games last year with his drug suspension.
There is no shortage of story-lines for the Milwaukee Brewers, as they get ready to play Oakland this afternoon in their exhibition opener in Phoenix. Ryan Braun will start adjusting to his new position in right field, moving over left. Braun will also try to get over the firestorm from his synthetic testosterone use and the resulting 65-game suspension from a year ago. Also, the Brewers have competition for the job at first base, where veterans Lyle Overbay and Mark Reynolds hope to win out over youngster Sean Halton. Rickie Weeks and Scooter Gennett will square off for the second base position, which Weeks has held since 2006 before a major hamstring injury last August. Also, manager Ron Roenicke will look for improvement from his starting pitchers -- especially after Matt Garza was signed as a free agent from Texas. Garza is scheduled to start on Sunday. Marco Estrada and Wily Peralta will open for the Brewers this afternoon against the A's. Manager Ron Roenicke did not have as much time to tune the squad up for his exhibition opener. They only had five full-team workouts, including one yesterday.
The team with the NBA's worst record will play the one with the best record tonight, when the Milwaukee Bucks travel to Indiana. The Pacers are 43-11 -- and they acquired small forward Evan Turner from Philadelphia last week to boost their playoff chances. Turner had 13 points and six rebounds off the bench in his first game as a Pacer, a 118-98 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night. The Bucks continue to languish at 11-45. Tonight, Milwaukee will have another chance to win back-to-back games for the first time this season, after pounding Turner's old 76'ers 130-110 at Philly on Monday night. O.J. Mayo scored 25 points in just his third game back after being out for 10 contests with illness-and-conditioning issues. It was Milwaukee's first road victory in 11 chances. Indiana hopes to extend its home winning streak over the Bucks to six games.
Yahoo Sports says the Milwaukee Bucks have completed a buyout of Caron Butler's contract, which will let the Racine native become a free agent. He's expected to clear waivers within 48 hours, and he can then sign with another team. Media reports have circulated for more than a day about the reported buyout. The 33-year-old Butler is expected to hook up with a title contender. Miami and Oklahoma City are both reported to be interested. Butler was traded to Milwaukee from Phoenix last summer. He played in 34 games for the Bucks, averaging 11 points and five rebounds.
Drew Gooden will suit up for his first NBA game tonight since leaving the Milwaukee Bucks last summer. The veteran power forward signed a 10-day contract with the Washington Wizards, and he'll be available for a game this evening against Toronto. The Wizards needed front-court help after Nene suffered a sprained left MCL knee ligament which will keep him out for about six weeks. The 32-year-old Gooden played for three seasons in Milwaukee. But he only played in 16 games a year ago -- and the Bucks used their amnesty clause to free the team of Gooden's remaining two years and $13-million remaining on his contract. Gooden has averaged around 12 points and seven-and-a-half rebounds per game over 11 NBA seasons with nine teams.
With 11 losses, an NCAA Tournament bid might be a pipe dream for the Marquette men's basketball team. But after winning four-of-their-last-five, the Golden Eagles are not counting themselves out just yet. Marquette hosts Georgetown tonight -- and a win would move the Eagles into a third-place tie with Xavier in the Big East Conference. Marquette is 8-6 in conference play, and 16-11 overall. Georgetown is 7-8 in the league, and is also 16-and-11 overall. Point guard Derrick Wilson says Marquette's tournament destiny is in its hands. With victories in their final four regular season games, Marquette players-and-coaches are certain that the NCAA selection committee will at least think about the Eagles making the Field-of-68. Coach Buzz Williams says the key is to keep improving -- and only control what they can.
University of Wisconsin men's back-up center Evan Anderson says he will not return for his final year of eligibility. The fourth-year junior from Eau Claire came in as a highly-regarded recruit. But he only played in 35 games over his time at the UW, averaging six-tenths of a point and three-tenths of a rebound per game. It was thought that Anderson would play a larger role this season, after the Badgers' entire starting front-court from a year ago moved on. He has only played in 10 games for the UW this season, and four in Big Ten play. Anderson said he enjoyed his time with the Badgers, and was thankful to get the opportunity. He'll be honored at next Wednesday's Senior Night ceremony, when the 14th-ranked Badgers play their home regular season finale against Purdue. Anderson is expected to graduate in May from UW-Madison with a degree in community and environmental sociology.
The UW-Milwaukee men's basketball team will close out its regular season tonight at Detroit. The Panthers would host a first-round game in next week's Horizon League tournament with a victory over Detroit, plus some help from other teams. Milwaukee is 6-9 in the conference and 16-13 overall. Detroit is 6-8 in league play, and 13-16 overall. Detroit crushed UWM by 19 points on January 24th. Juwan Howard Junior scored 24 points in that game for the Titans. Milwaukee is coming off a 22-point loss to Illinois-Chicago on Tuesday night, which ended UIC's 17-game losing streak. The Panthers hope to find the basket this evening, after shooting 32-percent or less in three-of-its-last-four games. High-scoring senior Jordan Aaron will serve the final contest of his four-game suspension for violating Milwaukee's team rules. Panthers' senior Thierno Niang is also out, after spraining a knee last Thursday night against Youngstown State.
The UW-Green Bay men have two more games on their Horizon League regular season schedule. The Phoenix will play at Oakland tonight and Detroit on Saturday. Green Bay has already clinched the conference season title, earning the top seed in next week's league tournament. UWGB is 12-2 in Horizon play, and 22-5 overall. Oakland is 6-8 in its first year in the conference, with an 11-18 overall mark. The Golden Grizzlies lost to UWGB by 14 points at the Resch Center on January 22nd. Green Bay has won eight of its last nine Horizon League road games, dating back to last year. Phoenix center Alec Brown averages almost 22 points in conference points away from Green Bay. Guard Keifer Sykes averages almost 21 on the road. Also tonight, the Marquette men play at Georgetown. The Green Bay women are at Wright State. And the U-W Parkside men-and-women play at Lewis.
The UW-Green Bay women will try to regain sole possession of first-place in the Horizon League tonight, when they play at Wright State. The Phoenix, Wright State, and Youngstown State are in a three-way tie for the conference lead at 9-3. Youngstown State hosts fourth-place Illinois-Chicago this evening. Green Bay will go for a two-game sweep of the Raiders this evening. The Phoenix are 16-8 overall, while Wright State is at 20-7. Green Bay is coming off a nine-point loss to Youngstown State last weekend, which snapped the Phoenix' eight-game winning streak. Sophomore Kaili Lukan continues to lead UWGB in scoring with just over 12 points a game.
University of Wisconsin women's hockey junior Blayre Turnbull has been named the WCHA co-offensive player of the week. And Badgers' goal-tender Ann-Renee Desbiens is the league's top rookie. Turnbull scored a pair of short-handed goals for second-ranked Wisconsin in its two-game sweep at Minnesota State last weekend. She leads the NCAA's Division-One with five short-handed goals this season. Desbiens, a freshman, stopped 27-or-28 shots in the two Minnesota State victories. She also blanked the Mavericks in all three of their power play opportunities. The Badgers will open their WCHA playoff run this weekend at home against Minnesota State. The best-of-three series will be played Friday and Saturday nights, and Sunday afternoon if necessary.
Jerry Kelly of Madison shot a one-over-par 71 today in his first round at the PGA's Honda Classic in Palm Beach Gardens Florida. Kelly was tied for 82nd as of early afternoon, six strokes behind leaders Rory Sabbatini, Russell Henley, and William McGirt. Pewaukee native Mark Wilson was at two-under after seven holes in the afternoon group.