Afternoon State Sports Briefs: UW, MU in preseason hoops Top 25Wisconsin Sports
-- The University of Wisconsin is 15th, and Marquette University is No. 22 in the Associated Press preseason men’s basketball poll released today.
The University of Wisconsin is 15th, and Marquette University is No. 22 in the Associated Press preseason men’s basketball poll released today.
The media ranked both teams one place lower than what the coaches did a few days ago in the USA Today-ESPN survey. The Badgers and Golden Eagles both made the NCAA Sweet-16 last season.
North Carolina has emerged at Number-One in both the AP and the coaches’ polls. The Tar Heels received all but three of the 65 first-place votes.
Marquette lost another basketball powerhouse in the Big East Conference today. West Virginia announced it would be leaving for the Big 12 next year. Pittsburgh and Syracuse had announced earlier they were leaving the Big East for the Atlantic Coast Conference. Some observers believe West Virginia’s departure will make it less likely that Louisville would bolt for the Big 12. Also, the Big East is expected to step up its recruiting of other schools – including Houston, Southern Methodist, BYU, Boise State, and Navy, and the Air Force. Marquette says it will remain in the Big East – at least for now.
University of Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez says he goes along with most of the reforms the NCAA approved yesterday – but he does have some concerns. For one thing, he wonders where the money will come from to provide two-thousand-dollars in spending money for each full-time scholarship athlete. Alvarez said the NCAA should help fund the expense – and he believes there’s a pool of money for it. Alvarez says he supports the benefit itself. Also, he wonders how those with partial scholarships would be affected. And he says the partial stipends would have to rise each year to keep their value due to inflation. Alvarez also said he was not keen about giving out multi-year scholarships, favoring the annual renewal system instead. Also supports plans to toughen the Academic Progress Rate. Incoming freshmen would need a two-point-three grade average instead of an even two. And schools which don’t reach the benchmarks in the APR would not be eligible for post-season play.
It’s a three-game weekend for the Milwaukee Admirals of the American Hockey League. The Admirals will play in Chicago tonight against the Wolves. Six straight games are next on the schedule, beginning tomorrow night against Grand Rapids and Sunday afternoon against Texas. Milwaukee is off to a solid 4-0-0-1 start. The Wolves are 2-3-0-2. They dropped two games to the Admirals in Milwaukee last weekend, including a 3-2 shootout defeat. The Admirals are tied with Charlotte for the early lead in the AHL’s Midwest Division.
UW-Stevens Point will go for its second straight men’s title, and Eau Claire is going for its fifth straight women’s crown at the WIAC cross country meet tomorrow in Colfax at Whitetail Golf Course and hosted by UWEC. The Pointers have won two of the last three men’s crowns. Tim Nelson of Stout is the favorite, after winning two meets this fall. On the women’s side, Eau Claire enters with a seventh-place national ranking in Division-Three. Oshkosh junior Christy Cazzola tries to become the first runner since 2004 to win back-to-back individual league titles.
Also tomorrow, the Midwest Conference cross country meet takes place at Ripon. The Grinnell men are going for their 15th straight championship. Saint Norbert is the defending women’s champion.
The Northern Athletics Conference will have its league cross country meet tomorrow in Kenosha. Concordia-Mequon is running for its second consecutive men’s title, and its third straight women’s crown.
The Northern Athletics Conference men’s soccer tournament begins tomorrow – and the women’s tourney starts on Sunday. Dominican has won every men’s title since the conference began in 2006. And Dominican has the top seed and a first-round bye this year as well. Third-seeded Milwaukee Engineering hosts Benedictine tomorrow, and Number-four Aurora hosts Edgewood. Those winners will face Dominican and second-seeded Concordia-Mequon on Tuesday. The league title game will be played next Saturday.
In the NAC women’s tournament, Aurora is going for its third straight championship. Aurora has the top seed and Marian is seeded second, both with first-round byes. Third-seeded Madison Edgewood will host Dominican on Sunday, while Number-four Milwaukee School of Engineering hosts Concordia-Mequon. Sunday’s winners will move on to the semi-finals on Wednesday. The women’s title contest is set for a week from tomorrow.
Mount Horeb won the first Division-Two semi-final this afternoon at the state boys’ high school soccer tournament in Milwaukee. Mount Horeb blanked Sturgeon Bay 2-0. Aaron Fargo scored both goals for Mount Horeb, which will play either Fox Valley Lutheran or defending champion Waukesha Catholic Memorial in tomorrow’s D-Two title game. Lutheran and Memorial were playing in the other semi-final late this afternoon. Tonight, the Division-One semi-finals will take center stage. Milwaukee Marquette plays Middleton, and Neenah faces Kettle Moraine. In Division-Three, defending champ Racine Prairie and Winnebago Lutheran won their semi-finals earlier today. Winnebago Lutheran was the first to advance this morning in the Division-Three semi-finals at the boys’ state high school soccer tournament. Lutheran shut out Waupun's Central Wisconsin Christian High School 2-0 at Uihlein Soccer Park in Milwaukee. Winnebago Lutheran will now play either Wausau Newman or defending champion Racine Prairie for the Division-Three crown tomorrow. Prairie and Newman were playing in the other semi late this morning. Semis will take place this afternoon in Division-Two, and tonight in Division-One. All three title matches are set for tomorrow.
Green Bay Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers is on pace to become the NFL’s most accurate passer ever for a single season. He leads the league in the percentage of passes he completes, at 71.50. Drew Brees of New Orleans has the all-time accuracy mark of 70.62 in 2009. And Rodgers could shatter the Packers’ season record of 66.54 percent set in 2007 by Brett Favre. For his career, Rodgers already owns the Packers’ completion record of 64.43 percent – and he has increased that percentage by almost a full point this season. Also, Rodgers could end up breaking the NFL’s career pass completion record, set by Chad Pennington at 66.05 percent. It didn’t look like much last Sunday, when Rodgers completed 13 mostly short passes in a row at Minnesota – his career-high for consecutive completions. But Packers’ offensive coordinator Joe Philbin says it’s a very important stat. He says it not only reflects the quarterback’s accuracy, but also the ability of the receivers to catch those balls. Philbin says the completion percentage is a good barometer of how efficient Green Bay’s passing game is. Head coach Mike McCarthy says it all goes back to Rodgers’ decision-making. Earlier this week, McCarthy said Rodgers was the best decision-maker he had seen since Joe Montana – which puts Rodgers in rare company, indeed. The 7-0 Packers are on their bye this weekend. They’ll return to the practice field on Monday for their next game at San Diego a week from Sunday.
Unbeaten UW-Whitewater will try to keep sole possession of first place in the WIAC football tomorrow. The top-ranked Warhawks are 4-0 in league play, and will host UW-Stevens Point in their homecoming game. Oshkosh is second at 3-1. The Titans entertain La Crosse. Eau Claire is at Platteville, and Stout plays at River Falls.
In the Midwest Conference football, Monmouth will try to stay undefeated when it plays at Carroll in Waukesha. Monmouth is 7-0 in the conference. Illinois College is second at 6-1, and Carroll and Saint Norbert are next at 5-2. Saint Norbert hosts Ripon College tomorrow. Illinois College is at home against Grinnell. Lawrence plays at Beloit. And Lake Forest is at Knox College.
In the Northern Athletics Conference football, first-place Benedictine is at home against Lakeland. Benedictine is 4-0. Lakeland, Concordia-Mequon, and Concordia-Chicago are tied for second at 3-1. Concordia-Mequon travels to Wisconsin Lutheran. Maranatha Baptist plays at Concordia-Chicago. And Rockford is at Aurora.
In the CCIW, Carthage – at 1-3 in league play – is at winless North Park.
The University of Wisconsin men’s hockey team will host Nebraska-Omaha tonight and tomorrow night. It’s the first time the Mavericks are playing at the Kohl Center as new members of the WCHA. Both teams are 3-3 overall. Omaha is 2-0 in the conference after sweeping Alaska-Anchorage last weekend. John Faulkner had 39 saves in those two contests. Wisconsin is 2-2 in the WCHA, after a sweep of North Dakota. The Badgers scored 10 times in those two contests – the most for a series since 2001.
In women’s hockey, top-ranked Wisconsin will host Boston University this afternoon and Sunday afternoon. The Badgers are 7-1. Boston University is ranked fourth with a mark of 5-1. Wisconsin defeated BU in the national title game last season.
A Milwaukee area man has been named the new commissioner of the Professional Bowlers Association. And one of his goals is to bring a PBA event back to Milwaukee. 42-year-old Tom Clark of Muskego has been the group’s deputy commissioner – and he’ll move up to the top spot next Tuesday after Fred Schreyer retires. Schreyer was also the PBA’s chief executive officer. Those jobs will now be split, and Geoff Reiss will become the new CEO. Clark is originally from Syracuse New York, and was once the sports editor at USA Today. He moved to the Milwaukee area is 2005, when he joined the U.S. Bowling Congress while its headquarters were still in the region. Clark remembers when ABC used to televise PBA tournaments live each Saturday. But now only three tournaments are shown live on cable – the USBC Masters, the U.S. Open, and the Tournament of Champions. Clark says he wants to build new audiences through new digital platforms and worldwide expansion. Milwaukee used to have an annual PBA tournament from 1966-through-‘89. And the Masters was held in the city from 2004-through-’07. The Masters’ finals were twice held at Milwaukee’s Miller Park. Clark said it provided some of the Tour’s best moments in recent years – and he says the creation of a new Milwaukee event would definitely be a priority.