WISCONSIN SPORTS ROUND-UP: Tickets going fast for NCAA tourney games in Milwaukee
MILWAUKEE - Tickets were going fast this morning for the NCAA men's basketball tournament games in Milwaukee -- including Thursday's opener between Wisconsin and American.
Ticketmaster only had single face-value seats as of mid-morning -- and they were for all six games to be played Thursday and Saturday at the Bradley Center. On Stub-Hub, nose-bleed seats were going as low as $93 for the first two Milwaukee games -- the Wisconsin-American contest, and Oregon vs. BYU. Any Milwaukee tickets returned by the participating schools will go on sale Wednesday evening through the Bradley Center's ticket office. Brokers expect high demand from Wisconsin and Michigan fans for the Milwaukee contests. Michigan plays Thursday night. Meanwhile, fans of two other Wisconsin teams are lining up their post-season tickets. UW-Milwaukee plays Villanova on Thursday night in the NCAA's Buffalo New York site.
Wisconsin plans to step up its defense on Thursday, when the Badgers play American University in their NCAAA men's tournament opener in Milwaukee. The Badgers are starting to practice for the contest this afternoon in Madison. Senior back-up forward Zach Bohannon gave his Wisconsin teammates a primer on the so-called "Princeton offense" that American runs. Bohannon was a part of that offense for two seasons at the Air Force. Badgers' coach Bo Ryan says American runs a lot of plays which are tough for an opponent to guard. American is also said to be solid on defense, leading the Patriot League by giving up just under 59 points a game. Las Vegas has the Badgers as an early 13-and-a-half point favorite, but Ryan says his team vows not to look past American -- especially after last year, when Wisconsin was one-and-done after losing to Ole Miss. Meanwhile, Vegas has UW-Milwaukee as an early 16-and-a-half point underdog to second-seeded Villanova on Thursday night in Buffalo. UWM coach Rob Jeter says his players have really come together as a team. They say anything can happen, and Jeter says he'd love to quote, "shock some people" by winning as a 15-seed.
A Mukwonago High School senior who was expected to join the Wisconsin football team this fall is charged with felony third-degree sexual assault. Eighteen-year-old Dominic Cizauskas was freed on a signature bond today. He's due back in Dane County Circuit Court March 31st, when the status of his case will reviewed. ESPN-Wisconsin said Cizauskas was on his official visit to the UW last December when a sexual assault was reported in a campus dorm. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel said Cizauskas gave a non-binding commitment to the Badgers last summer -- but he was not among the 25 players who recently signed national letters-of-intent to join the Badgers. He was the Journal-Sentinel's Milwaukee area player of the year for football. He had 25 and a half tackles for losses in 13 games last fall, when Mukwonago made the state Division 1 semifinals. He was also named the state coaches' defensive player of the year. ESPN-Wisconsin said Cizauskas was suspended in February from Mukwonago's basketball team for a violation of the school's athletic code. He later returned to the squad.
Jerry Kelly of Madison dropped five places to 145th in the new World Golf Rankings released today. Kelly tied for 58th over the weekend at the PGA's Valspar Championship in Florida. Pewaukee native Mark Wilson dropped six spots in the new World Rankings to Number-247. He missed the weekend cut. Steve Stricker of Madison, who's on a limited schedule for the second straight year, remains 14th in the new rankings. Tiger Woods is still at No. 1.
The UW-Green Bay softball team is off to an 8-2 start, after splitting their final two games at the Michele Smith Spring Break Tournament in Florida. The Phoenix edged out Connecticut 3-1 in extra innings yesterday. Marissa Michalkiewicz doubled home Green Bay's winning run in the top of the eighth. The Phoenix were then blanked by Purdue 5-0. Green Bay was held to just four hits in that game.
Former Milwaukee Bucks' guard Gary Neal said he was not cutting down Milwaukee when he declared he was finally playing "real basketball" with Charlotte. Neal scored 18 points against his old team yesterday, when the Bobcats topped the Bucks by nine at the Bradley Center. Neal, a former NBA champion with San Antonio, joined the Bucks last summer. But his playing time went down as the losses mounted, and the Bucks decided to go with younger players. Neal said he didn't expect that to happen when he signed his free-agent contract with the Bucks, who traded him to Charlotte a month ago. He said his "real basketball" comment was about him, and not Milwaukee. He said he's been getting a lot more playing time off the bench for Charlotte -- and he's grateful to the Bucks for giving him that kind of opportunity. Bucks' coach Larry Drew said there can quote, "a little bitterness" for what happened with Neal in Milwaukee. But he said last month's trade has worked out well for both teams. The Bucks acquired forward Jeff Adrien and guard Ramon Simmons, and both have been solid contributors off the bench.
Nothing could be finer than to play for Carolina. So says free-agent receiver James Jones -- assuming the Green Bay Packers don't want him back. The Packers have not said anything about Jones, but his agent said a few weeks ago that Green Bay apparently doesn't want him back. Jones told ESPN during the weekend that he'd love to play for the Carolina Panthers, so he can catch passes from Cam Newton. The Panthers are looking for new wide receivers, after they cut Steve Smith and two others left in free agency -- Brandon LaFell and Ted Ginn Jr. Also, media reports indicate that Packers' free agent running back James Starks is auditioning for the Pittsburgh Steelers today.
The Milwaukee Brewers will play the Chicago White Sox this afternoon in an exhibition contest in Phoenix. Right-hander Kyle Lohse will start for the Crew against Sox' right-hander Felipe Paulino. Lohse gave up two runs in three innings in his most recent start. He has no record this spring, with a 3.60 ERA. Paulino does have any record, either. He has a bloated ERA of 9.72
The University of Wisconsin women's rowing teams are back on the water. The Badgers won all four of their open-weight events during the weekend at the Cardinal Invitational at Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Wisconsin's top varsity-eight won its final yesterday, six-and-a-half seconds ahead of second-place Tennessee. The Badgers' second varsity-eight finished eight-and-a-half seconds ahead of Kansas. The first and second varsity-four boats rounded out Wisconsin's perfect weekend. The Badger women's lightweight rowing squad also competed at Oak Ridge. Wisconsin's second varsity eight was victorious, while the top varsity eight placed second.