Thursday State Sports Briefs: Birkebeiner a go despite mild winterWisconsin Sports
-- Despite the warm winter, things are looking good for Saturday's American Birkebeiner cross-country ski race in the Cable-Hayward area.
CABLE - Despite the warm winter, things are looking good for Saturday's American Birkebeiner cross-country ski race in the Cable-Hayward area.
Organizers said the course picked up 1-to-3 inches of snow on Tuesday -- and more light snow is expected tomorrow before temperatures drop to the teens for the start of Saturday morning's race. About 6,300-hundred racers have signed up for the 39th annual Birkie, and 2,900 others will ski in the shorter Kortelopet race. Skiers from a half-dozen countries will take part. Defending men's champion Tore Martin Gunderson of Norway is back, along with women's champion Caitlin Gregg. She set a new women's record last year with a time of two hours, 15 minutes, and 26 seconds.
The UW-Madison athletic department apparently did not follow up on a promise to reprimand former official John Chadima for an incident in 1998. Chadima let a star football player drive his vehicle while he was drunk -- and then-athletic director Pat Richter said he would reprimand Chadima for that. But the Wisconsin State Journal dug up UW records which showed that the reprimand never took place. Chadima resigned about a month-and-a-half ago after two decades in the UW football program. The school said Chadima sexually assaulted a male student after a party in Pasadena during the week of the Rose Bowl. At least two other complaints of impropriety have since been lodged against Chadima -- and the UW continues to investigate them.
The Milwaukee Bucks will try to cure some of their aches-and-pains with four days off during the NBA All-Star break. We learned yesterday that center Drew Gooden has a torn ligament in his right wrist -- but he won't need surgery, and he expects to return as soon as he can. Gooden has missed four games with the injury. He said it's been bothering him all season, but it got worse after he became the starting center when Andrew Bogut went down. Guard Mike Dunleavy injured his right ring finger in Sunday's win at New Jersey, and he played through it this week. Dunleavy said he might have a torn tendon, and he'll have a doctor check it out during the All-Star break. He also hurt an ankle in last night's loss at Chicago. Rookie forward Tobias Harris is getting over a rough contusion suffered last Friday night at Orlando. He said he was confident about playing last night against the Bulls. But Harris was not cleared, and he had to buy a suit in Chicago so he could sit on the bench. The Bucks are 13-20, two-and-a-half games out of playoff contention. They'll host Washington on Tuesday night.
The University of Wisconsin men's basketball team hopes to even its season series against Iowa tonight in Iowa City. The Hawkeyes ended nine straight losses in Madison on New Year's Eve with a 72-65 victory. It was the first time the Badgers lost to Iowa at home in the Bo Ryan era. Ryan's teams are 14-and-5 all-time against the Hawkeyes, and 5-and-3 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The 16th-ranked Badgers are 9-5 in the Big Ten and 20-7 overall. They're in fourth place in the conference, two-and-a-half games behind front-running Michigan State. Iowa is 6-8 in the league and 14-13 overall. Wisconsin guard Josh Gasser is coming off a 15-point performance in the Badgers' home win over Penn State last Sunday -- and Gasser is going for his back-to-back games in double figures since mid-January. Iowa guard Matt Gatens went over the 1,500-point scoring mark for his career last Sunday when he had 30 against Indiana. The senior is averaging 20 points over his last six contests.
The UW-Green Bay men will almost feel like they're at home tonight, when they play at Loyola of Chicago. Phoenix coach Brian Wardle is from the Chicago suburb of Clarendon Hills -- and two of his assistants are from the Chicago metro, along with five players in Wardle's rotation. Green Bay forward Greg Mays says it'll be a lot of fun -- and his Chicago area teammates will have a lot of people rooting for them. The Phoenix need to win, and perhaps get some help, if they want to move up to sixth place in the Horizon League with the right to host a game in next week's conference tournament. Green Bay is 8-8 in the league and 13-14 overall. Loyola is just 1-15 in the conference and 7-20 overall. The Phoenix will play at Illinois-Chicago on Saturday. And UWGB has not won both legs of its annual Chicago trip since 1999.
The UW-Milwaukee women will open their final home-stand of the season tonight, with a game against Butler at the Klotsche Center. The Panthers are 3-11 in the Horizon League, and 7-and-18 overall. They're coming off a two-point loss at Cleveland State last Saturday, in which Kiersten Green hit a three-pointer with just over seven seconds left. Courtney Lindfors had 16 points and 14 rebounds for Milwaukee in that game. Butler comes in at 8-6 in the conference and 12-13 overall. The Bulldogs swept Illinois-Chicago and Loyola last weekend. Sarah Hamm, the Horizon League's player-of-the-week, averages 12 points and five-and-a-half rebounds a game for Butler.
The University of Wisconsin men's swim team is tied for fourth going into the second day of the Big Ten Championships at Iowa. Badger relay teams broke two school records last night. The 800-yard freestyle team of Michael Weiss, Dan Lester, Wes Lagerhausen, and Garrett Mulchrone finished fifth with a school-record time of six-minutes-26-point-oh-seven seconds. And Weiss set a new record in the 200-freestyle with his leg of 1:34-point-99. The 200-medley relay team of Drew TeDuits, Tariq Miller, Lester, and Lagerhausen took sixth in their event. Wisconsin is tied with Minnesota for fourth with 54 points, 26 behind first-place Michigan.