Evening State Sports Briefs: U.S. to play Canada in World Juniors semifsWisconsin Sports
-- The U.S. will play Canada tonight in the semi-finals of the World Junior Men’s Hockey Championship in Buffalo.
BUFFALO - The U.S. will play Canada tonight in the semi-finals of the World Junior Men’s Hockey Championship in Buffalo.
John Ramage of the Badgers is the only Wisconsin player on Team USA. He has played in all four games so far, but has not figured in the scoring. Ramage has two shots-on-goal and four penalty minutes with a plus-three rating. Tonight’s winner will play either Sweden or Russia for the tournament title.
For the first time all season, the Green Bay Packers did not announce any new injuries after yesterday’s 10-3 home victory over Chicago. Defensive end Cullen Jenkins missed his fourth straight game with a strained calf. He said the plan was to have him ready for next Sunday’s Wild Card playoff game at Philadelphia. Jenkins says he still has some tests to pass – but he’s confident he’ll be back on the practice field later in the week. He has not practiced for almost a month, but he’s been doing some agility work – quote, “nothing more than a really light jog.” Also, the Packers are not sure if rookie linebacker Frank Zombo will be ready for the Eagles’ game. He’s been out for three weeks with a knee injury.
We now know who the Packers are scheduled to play next year. A formula determines who Green Bay will play both at home and on the road in 2011, assuming there’s a deal on a collective bargaining agreement. Its opponents for next season have a combined winning percentage of .508. This season’s Packer opponents had a percentage of .520, with a record of 133-123. As always, Green Bay has home-and-road contests against division foes Chicago, Minnesota, and Detroit. In the other 10 contests, Green Bay are scheduled to host New Orleans, Tampa Bay, Oakland, Denver, and Saint Louis. The road contests would be against Atlanta, Kansas City, Carolina, San Diego, and the New York Giants.
The UW-Milwaukee men’s basketball team will try to even its record at 8-8 tonight, when it hosts Butler. Last year’s national runner-ups are 10-4 this season – and the Bulldogs are 2-0 in the Horizon League, after an easy win over Valparaiso on Saturday. Matt Howard leads Butler with just over 17 points and eight rebounds a game. The Panthers have alternated wins-and-losses in their last six games. Milwaukee is 2-and-2 in conference play, after winning at Detroit by three in overtime on Saturday. Tone Boyle scored 24 points in that game, and he’s the Panthers’ leading scorer at just under 13 per contest. UWM is the last Horizon League team to beat Butler in a regular season league game. That happened in February of 2009.
Nine games are on tonight’s schedule involving Wisconsin’s small college basketball teams. On the men’s side, Wisconsin Lutheran plays at Cal-Tech in that school’s holiday tournament. Concordia-Mequon is also in California to play at La Verne. And UW-Whitewater is in Los Angeles to face Occidental. There are two men’s-and-women’s double-headers. Lakeland is at Finlandia, and Marian plays at Northland of Ashland. In other women’s contests, Milwaukee Engineering hosts Mount Mary. Alverno plays at Lawrence of Appleton.
Milwaukee Bucks’ point guard Brandon Jennings expects to return in mid-January, after having surgery on the left foot he broke on December 15th. The 21-year-old Jennings says he does not want to rush back, only to get hurt again. He says he’s been working out, keeping his legs fresh on a bicycle, and staying strong by lifting weights. But Jennings admits it’s not been easy to watch his teammates run the Bucks’ offense. Milwaukee is 3-3 since Jennings was hurt. And they’re coming off their second upset of the season over Dallas on Saturday night at the Bradley Center. Point guards Keyon Dooling and Earl Boykins have played in Jennings’ spot. The 5-5 Boykins has had some big games. On Saturday, he scored a season-high 26 points against the Mavericks. The Bucks are 13-18. They’ll play at Miami tomorrow night.
The University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team dropped out of the coaches’ Top-25 today, after their eight-point loss at Illinois last evening. The Badgers are now four spots away from the Top-25 in both the USA Today/ESPN coaches’ poll and the AP media poll. Wisconsin is 11-3 overall. Once again, Marquette did not get a mention in either survey. The Golden Eagles won their Big East opener against West Virginia on Saturday, and will play at Rutgers on Wednesday night. The Badgers will host Michigan on Wednesday.
The UW-Green Bay men’s basketball team will play a non-conference game at home tonight against Houston Baptist. The Phoenix are 6-9, after losing a pair of Horizon League contests to Detroit and Wright State. Houston Baptist is 1-10. The Huskies were supposed to host Wyoming on New Year’s Eve – but a snow-storm prevented the Cowboys from getting to Texas. Houston Baptist scored its only victory on December fourth, a seven-point decision over Texas State. Senior guard Andrew Gonzalez is the Huskies’ top scorer, averaging just over 20 points a game. Green Bay has had trouble with slow starts. They’ve trailed at halftime in 11 of their 15 contests so far under first-year coach Brian Wardle – and they came back to win just three of those 11 contests. Green Bay freshman center Alec Brown needs only 17 more blocked shots to break the school season record of 47. The seven-foot Brown already owns the Green Bay freshman record for blocks.
The Milwaukee Admirals’ hockey team has moved its home game on Sunday from five p.m to one o’clock – so fans can watch the Green Bay Packers’ playoff game at Philadelphia. The Admirals play Hamilton that day in an American Hockey League contest. The team says they’ll have several promotions with a Packer theme on that day. Both Milwaukee and Hamilton play the night before, and Hamilton will come in from Chicago while the Admirals host San Antonio that evening. Hamilton had to agree to the time change.