Morning State Sports Briefs: UWM to play at Northwestern in first round, NIT match-upWisconsin Sports
-- The UW-Milwaukee men’s basketball team will play at Northwestern tonight in the opening round of the NIT Tournament.
EVANSTON, Ill. - The UW-Milwaukee men’s basketball team will play at Northwestern tonight in the opening round of the NIT Tournament.
Milwaukee is 19-13, and the Wildcats are 18-13. It’s the Panthers’ first game in eight days, after a loss to Butler in the Horizon League title contest which ended a streak of 10 straight conference victories. UWM coach Rob Jeter gave his players two days off last week, in part to get the team healthy. Tone Boyle, Tony Meier, and Christian Wolf all had various aches-and-pains – and all three are expected to play tonight. Northwestern is coming off a six-point overtime loss to Ohio State in last week’s Big Ten Tournament. The Wildcats are 7-0 at home against non-conference opponents. Junior forward John Shurma is Northwestern’s top scorer with 16-and-a-half points a game. Jeter says the Wildcats are not as athletic as Milwaukee, but they’re very patient – and they play a style that’s different than any time UWM has faced this season.
The University of Wisconsin will host Butler tonight in the first round of the Women’s NIT basketball tournament. The Badgers are 15-14, after being one-and-done in the Big Ten conference tourney a couple weeks ago. Butler is 20-13, after losing to UW-Green Bay in the Horizon League title contest last Sunday. Butler is led by senior Brittany Bowen, with 16 points and six rebounds a game. Her senior teammates Chloe Hamilton and Alyssa Pittman also score in double figures. The WNIT will mark the final appearances for Badger senior stand-outs Alyssa Karel and Lin Zastrow. Sophomore guard Taylor Wurtz figures to be among Wisconsin’s top players next season – and she’s happy with the progress she made this year. Wurtz’s playing time doubled to 33 minutes a game. But her scoring average rose just two points to around nine per contest. Still, Wurtz said each game was a learning experience – and she knows more will be expected of her next year after Karel, Zastrow, and Tara Steinbauer graduate. Steinbauer had a season-ending knee injury last month.
The NCAA Tournament officially kicked off last night with a pair of first-round games in Dayton, Ohio. UNC-Asheville outlasted Arkansas-Little Rock 81-77 in overtime in the first game, while Clemson blew out UAB 70-52 in the nightcap. UNC-Asheville moves on as the 16 seed to go up against top-seeded Pittsburgh in the Southeast Region tomorrow in Washington, DC Clemson advances as a 12 seed to face fifth-seeded West Virginia in the East Region tomorrow in Tampa. Tonight, the final two "First Four" matchups take place in Dayton as Texas-San Antonio takes on Alabama State and VCU goes up against USC. The winners will advance to play second-round games on Friday. The NCAA Tourney begins in earnest tomorrow with 16 second-round matchups.
Senior guard Steve Djurickovic of Carthage has been named the Midwest Region’s player-of-the-year by D3hoops.com. The coaches’ association also gave him the same honor. Djurickovic averaged 22 points, seven assists, and four rebounds a game for Carthage this season. He also made D3's All-Midwest first team along with Scott Gillespie of Ripon. Austin Meyer of Milwaukee Engineering made the second squad. And David Wipperfurth of Saint Norbert made the All-Midwest third team, along with Aris Wurtz of Ripon College. In the D3hoops West Region, Tony Mane of U-W La Crosse made the first team. Jerrel Harris of Stevens Point and Jake Smith of Superior were named to the second squad. And Shane Manor of River Falls made the third team.
For the women, Britta Petersen of UW-Stevens Point was named D3hoops.com Player-Of-The-Year in the Central Region. The senior forward shot 58-percent from the floor this season, averaging 14 points and five rebounds per game. Petersen also made the All-Central Region first team along with Lyndsey Seewald of Carroll. Hannah Mesick of Eau Claire was named to the second team, and three Wisconsin players made the third squad – Andrea Flease of the Pointers, Dana Churchill of La Crosse, and Dana Thompson of Whitewater.
The University of Wisconsin softball team is on its longest winning streak since 2007. The Badgers have won four straight, after taking a pair of games yesterday at the Marina International Hotel Showcase in Los Angeles. Wisconsin downed Hartford 5-2 on a three-run homer by Stephanie Peace in the seventh inning. And then the Badgers topped Loyola Marymount 2-1, coming from behind with a two-run blast by Shannel Blackshear in the sixth inning. It was Wisconsin’s fifth comeback victory of the season. They’re now 10-7 overall, with two more games today in LA.
The Milwaukee Admirals lost a 3-2 overtime game at Houston last night – and the Aeros moved into a first-place with Milwaukee in the American Hockey League’s West Division. Former Wisconsin Badger Robbie Earl scored the game-winning goal at 1:25 into the extra period. The Admirals took a 2-1 lead midway through the third period on a power-play goal by Gabriel Bourque. But just 15 seconds later, Patrick O’Sullivan sent the game to overtime with a goal for Houston. The Admirals will play at San Antonio tonight.
The University of Wisconsin football team has its first verbal commitment for 2012. Suburban Chicago guard Dan Voltz announced his college plans at a news conference. The 6-4, 290-pound Voltz is a high school junior from Barrington, Illinois. He said also had offers from Notre Dame, Alabama, Auburn, Michigan, Iowa, Michigan State, and Northwestern. But Voltz said Wisconsin develops the best offensive linemen in the country, and he wanted to be a part of that.