WISCONSIN SPORTS ROUNDUP: Badgers to play Baylor Thursday in the Sweet 16
Buzz Williams might have run away from Marquette more than he wanted to go to Virginia Tech. But the Milwaukee school insists that he was not leaving with any possible N-C-A-A violations bubbling under the surface. Associate athletic director Danielle Josetti wrote on Marquette Hoops-Dot-Com quote, "There are no investigations that our department is aware of, and I would hate for such unjust rumors to damage us in our search for a new head coach." Williams left Friday for Virginia Tech after seven years at Marquette, six as the head man. Media reports indicate that Williams was most displeased with the make-up of the new Big East Conference, and its poor showing in the N-C-A-A Tournament. Providence was the league's tournament champion, and lost its opening N-C-A-A game to North Carolina. Meanwhile, Marquette's interim athletic director denied yesterday that Seymour high school forward Sandy Cohen was released from his scholarship after Williams' departure. Cohen tweeted Saturday night that he was released. But Bill Cords said that no Marquette athletes can be released from scholarships due to coaching changes, until after they get a chance to speak with the new coaches.
The Milwaukee Bucks are now 2-and-26 against the N-B-A's Western Conference, after losing at Sacramento 124-to-107 last evening. O-J Mayo led the Bucks with 21 points off the bench. He missed the last six games after he fell out of coach Larry Drew's rotation. But Drew gave Mayo another chance after rookie Nate Wolters broke his left hand at Golden State last Thursday and went out for the season. The Kings were on fire early, leading 39-to-16 after the first quarter. The Bucks never had a chance after that -- but they did out-score Sacramento 37-to-20 in the final period to make the game look closer than it was. DeMarcus Cousins had his seventh straight double-double for the Kings with 32 points and 12 rebounds. Isaiah Thomas had 30 points with eight assists, helping Sacramento win two of its last three. Ersan Ilyasova was the only Milwaukee starter in double figures with 14. The Bucks are 0-and-3 on their Western road trip and 13-and-57 overall. They'll close out their current trip tonight against the Clippers in Los Angeles.
Veterans Lyle Overbay and Mark Reynolds will share the first base duties for the Milwaukee Brewers this season. That's what manager Ron Roenicke announced yesterday. Juan Francisco was competing for the job, but he was reportedly placed on waivers. Overbay and Reynolds both signed minor league deals over the winter, and are considered more solid on defense than Francisco -- who played first last season for the first time in his career. The 37-year-old Overbay will begin his second stint with Milwaukee, where he was the full-time first baseman in 2004-and-'05. He and Reynolds were both off to slow starts in this month's exhibition play. Reynolds got hot in the last week, and was hitting .250 before yesterday's action with two homers and 11 R-B-I's. Overbay started the day with an 0-for-26 slump, hitting just .114 in 35 at-bats. That was before he had two doubles and a single yesterday. The 26-year-old Francisco had a hot spring, batting .346 as of yesterday with three homers in 13 games. Roenicke cautioned against reading into exhibition stats. He said the purpose of spring training is to get in shape and quote, "not to see who you think should be on the team."
Brewers' starter Matt Garza had his first strong outing of the spring, as the Brewers crushed Cincinnati 9-to-1 yesterday in Goodyear Arizona. Garza had a bloated E-R-A of 19-point-oh-six in his first three Cactus League starts. He went six innings against the Reds, giving up one run on four hits with a pair of walks and six strikeouts. Milwaukee scored six runs in the second inning, including four doubles off Cincinnati starter Mike Leake. Jonathan Lucroy homered and drove in three runs. Logan Schafer and Lyle Overbay each had a pair of doubles. Brewers' closer Jim Henderson, who has struggled this spring, rebounded with a 1-2-3 inning in the seventh. The Brewers are taking their final day off at Spring Training today, before returning tomorrow to face San Francisco. Milwaukee opens its regular season next Monday at home against Atlanta. ________________
Wisconsin NASCAR driver Matt Kenseth took fourth in yesterday's Auto Club-400 in Fontana California. The Cambridge native won the pole on Friday night. Paul Menard of Eau Claire climbed up to ninth place after starting 30th. Beloit-born Danica Patrick finished 14th starting the race in the 27th position. Travis Kvapil of Janesville was 33rd. Kurt Busch won the race, holding off Kyle Larson in the final laps. Kyle Busch finished third ahead of Kenseth, who earned his fourth Top-10 finish of the year and rose three spots to Number-five in the Sprint Cup season point standings. Menard also jumped three places for the year to 14th. Patrick rose one place to 27th. Kvapil jumped two spots to 39th. Carl Edwards is the new Sprint Cup points' leader, as Brad Keselowski fell from first to fourth. _______________
The Wisconsin men's hockey team will play North Dakota on Friday night in the first round of their N-C-A-A Tournament. The Badgers were given the top-seed yesterday in the four-team Midwest Regional in Cincinnati. Mike Eaves' Wisconsin team received the last of the four seeds in the Field-of-16. Wisconsin is 24-10-and-2 after winning the inaugural Big Ten Tournament championship this past weekend. North Dakota finished second in the N-C-H-C regular season, and third in its conference tournament. The Fighting Sioux is seeded fourth in the Midwest at 23-13-and-3. Ferris State and Colgate are the other teams in the Cincinnati regional. They'll face each other late Friday afternoon, and the winner will play either the Badgers or North Dakota in the regional final on Saturday night, with a berth in the Frozen Four at stake. Minnesota won the tournament's top overall seed.
The Milwaukee Admirals lost at Utica yesterday, 4-to-3 in a shoot-out. Francis Wathier sent the game to overtime with a late goal for the Admirals with just under five minutes left. But Milwaukee never had a shot-on-goal in the extra period, and Utica won the resulting shootout 3-to-2. Also yesterday, Admirals' forward Filip Forsberg was called up by the N-H-L's Nashville Predators on an emergency basis. Milwaukee recalled forwards Paul Crowder and Josh Shalla from Cincinnati to fill out its roster for now.