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WISCONSIN SPORTS ROUNDUP: Badgers rising in the BCS standings

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The Wisconsin football team rose three places to 19th in the B-C-S Standings, after winning their fifth straight game on Saturday. The Badgers are 8-and-2 overall, and 5-and-1 in the Big Ten, after crushing Indiana at home 51-to-3. Wisconsin rose one place to 16th in the new A-P media poll, and they jumped three spots to 17th in the U-S-A Today coaches' poll. Next up for Wisconsin is a rivalry game at Minnesota on Saturday for Paul Bunyan's Axe. The Badgers will try to win their 10th straight game over the Golden Gophers, while keeping their slim B-C-S bowl hopes alive.

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Four Wisconsin teams made the N-C-A-A Division-Three football playoffs. U-W Whitewater will play Saint Norbert on Saturday, while U-W Platteville takes on Concordia of Mequon on the other side of the bracket. Whitewater earned one of four Number-One slots last night, after going 10-and-0 in the regular season and winning the W-I-A-C crown. The Warhawks will go for their fifth national championship since 2007 -- and like the first four, Mount Union of Ohio tops the other side of the bracket. Whitewater will open against a Saint Norbert team that's 8-and-2 after the Midwest Conference championship. U-W Platteville received an at-large berth, after claiming second place in the W-I-A-C with a come-from-behind win over Oshkosh on Saturday. Platteville goes in at 9-and-1, and will face a Concordia-Wisconsin team that's 8-and-2 after winning the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference title.

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Wisconsin native Matt Kenseth finished second in this year's NASCAR Sprint Cup series, after he placed second in yesterday's season-ending race near Miami. Jimmie Johnson needed to finish 23rd-or-higher in the Ford Eco-Boost-400 to assure his sixth championship in NASCAR's top series -- and Johnson placed ninth. Kenseth never gave up, though. He won the pole on Friday and finished in the runner-up spot yesterday behind Denny Hamlin. Kenseth ended up with 24-hundred points, 19 behind Johnson. Paul Menard of Eau Claire finished 17th for the year. His ranking was unchanged, despite blowing a rear tire which knocked him out for the day, finishing in 39th. Beloit-born Danica Patrick finished 20th in the race, and was 27th for the year. Travis Kvapil of Janesville ended up 31st for the year, after placing 37th at the Homestead-Miami Speedway.

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Black River Falls native Jack Taylor -- who broke an N-C-A-A scoring record with 138 points last season -- scored 109 yesterday for Division-Three Grinnell in a 173-to-123 win over Crossroads College in Grinnell Iowa. Taylor made 35-of-70 shots from the floor, including 24 three-pointers. He also hit 15-of-17 free throws. Taylor's biggest scoring wave came in the second half, when he had 53 points in the first nine minutes. It was the third-highest individual scoring performance in N-C-A-A history, behind his own effort last year and the 113 scored by Clarence Francis of Rio Grande in 1954. And just like a year ago, Taylor said he could have never achieved his scoring without his teammates helping him. He said he was thankful for the high-scoring Grinnell program.

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The U-W Milwaukee men's basketball team won the Northern Illinois Invitational yesterday, by beating the host Huskies 82-to-69 in DeKalb. The Panthers won their fourth straight game to improve to 4-and-1, already with half their victory total from all of last season. The Panthers came back from a 14-point first half deficit to go up by three at the break. Milwaukee went in front for good midway through the second half, when Kyle Kelm made a put-back to put the Panthers up by one. Five Milwaukee players scored in double figures, led by Malcolm Moore with 15 off the bench. Northern Illinois committed 17 turnovers, and Milwaukee scored 24 points off those mistakes. Darrell Bowie led the Huskies with 19 points and eight rebounds.

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The Wisconsin women's basketball team is 3-and-0 for the first time in four years after a 71-to-51 home victory over Northern Illinois yesterday. The Badgers went up by 21 with 3:12 left in the first half, and never looked back. Jacki Gulczynski led Wisconsin with 15 points and nine rebounds. The Badgers only shot 38-and-a-half percent, but they out-rebounded Northern Illinois 47-to-36. Danny Pulliam led the Huskies with 11 points

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The U-W Green Bay women improved to 2-1 with a 68-to-60 win at Duquesne (doo-kain') of Pittsburgh. The Phoenix were down by nine points with about eight minutes left, but they out-scored Duquesne 23--6 down the stretch. Ellen Edison and Kaili Lukan each scored 13 for Green Bay, which out-shot the Dukes 46-to-38 percent. Wumi Agunbiade had 15 points for Duquesne, which fell to 2-and-2.

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The Marquette women edged Vanderbilt yesterday, 82-to-77 in Nashville. The Commodores led all the way until about four-and-a-half minutes left, when Brooklyn Pumroy tied the game with a pair of free throws. Arlesia Morse put te Golden Eagles in front for good with 2:02 left with a three-pointer. Katherine Plouffe had 16 points and 11 rebounds for Marquette, which improved to 3-and-0. Christina Foggie led Vanderbilt with 30 points. The Commodores dropped to 3-and-1.

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The U-W Milwaukee women lost to Western Illinois at home, 99-to-86. The Leathernecks had a decisive 31-to-11 run during the first half. Milwaukee cut the lead to six early in the second half, but could not get any closer. The Panthers lost despite having five players in double figures. Avyanna Young had 22 points and 16 rebounds for Milwaukee, which dropped to 0-and-2. Marley Hall scored 23 points off the bench for Western Illinois, which shot 51-percnt and improved to 3-and-1. 

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Jason Schulte
Jason Schulte has been with the Herald since 2006. He covers County government and anything else that happens in Pierce County on a daily basis.
(715) 273-4334
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