Morning State Sports Briefs: Badgers play Hoosiers this afternoon in Big Ten tourneyWisconsin Sports
-- The University of Wisconsin will play Indiana at 1:20 this afternoon in the quarter-finals of the Big Ten men’s basketball tournament.
INDIANAPOLIS - The University of Wisconsin will play Indiana at 1:20 this afternoon in the quarter-finals of the Big Ten men’s basketball tournament.
The fourth-seeded Badgers earned a first-round bye as the tourney began yesterday in Indianapolis. The No. 5 seeded Hoosiers advanced with a 75-58 win over 12th-seeded Penn State. Wisconsin won the conference tourney in 2008, but they’ve been one-and-done each year since. They’ll continue to rely on senior point guard Jordan Taylor, who leads the Badgers with almost 15 points a game. But Taylor’s shooting percentage is down from a year ago at around 40-percent. And assistant head coach Greg Gard says it’s because Taylor has a lot of responsibility on both ends of the floor. Gard says opposing defenses key on Taylor, and they try to make his teammates beat them. Guard Josh Gasser says the Badgers will need multiple players scoring in double figures if they want to win.
Wisconsin is 23-8, and will play an Indiana team that’s 25-7. Until yesterday, the Hoosiers had not won a Big Ten Tournament game since 2006. Jordan Hulls led Indiana with 20 points, and the Hoosiers made 29-of-36 from the free-throw line.
There was a surprise development yesterday in the state high school boys’ basketball sectionals. The WIAA ordered Appleton Xavier to forfeit its upset win over Little Chute in last Saturday’s regionals, after Xavier reported that it used an ineligible player. And all of a sudden, Little Chute had to get ready to hit the court again to face Fox Valley Lutheran in last night’s Sweet-16 round in Division-Three. Xavier went out to court to try-and-halt that game – but a judge rejected the request shortly before last night’s tip-off. It was a storybook ending for Little Chute, which beat Fox Valley Lutheran 52-50 despite its lack of practice all week. Little Chute will now play Brillion in tomorrow’s sectional final.
Both returning boys’ champions from last year won their sectional openers last night. Madison Memorial topped Sun Prairie 68-53 in Division 1. And Division 5 champ Randolph eliminated Central Wisconsin Christian 54-to-35. Twenty-three of the 40 top-seeds won their brackets throughout the five divisions. Eight Number-One seeds lost last night – Milwaukee Hamilton, Beaver Dam, Waunakee, Whitnall, Omro, Wisconsin Dells, Bangor, and Prentice. Sectional finals will be played tomorrow, and the winners will advance to next week’s state tournament in Madison.
The Milwaukee Bucks can gain some ground in the NBA playoff race tonight if they can overcome “Linsanity” and beat the New York Knicks at home. The Bucks are three games behind Jeremy Lin and the Knicks for the eighth-and-final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. And neither team has been playing well. The Bucks have lost four-of-their-last-five, and are coming off a two-point home loss to Chicago on Wednesday night. The Knicks shot past the Bucks in the East standings before the All-Star break when they won seven straight. But New York has lost three-in-a-row on its current road trip, and six-of-its-last-nine overall. The Knicks are coming off a 13-point loss at San Antonio on Wednesday in which the Spurs scored 60 points in the paint. Lin has gained worldwide fame with his meteoric rise with the Knicks this season, after he was cut by Golden State in December. Last month, Lin had stellar games against the Lakers when he scored 38 points – and against Dallas with a career-high 14 assists. New York is 18-21. Milwaukee is 15-24.
Ryan Braun hit his first homer of the spring, as the Milwaukee Brewers lost to Cincinnati 8-6 yesterday in an exhibition game in Phoenix. Braun hit a shot to the batter’s eye in straight-away center. It was his first hit after an 0-5 start. Mat Gamel and outfield prospect Caleb Gindl also homered for the Brew Crew. Zack Greinke became the first Milwaukee starter to give up a run this spring. He retired his first five hitters and struck out four of them. But then he gave up two runs on three hits – and one of the runs was unearned due to a pair of Milwaukee errors. Juan Francisco put Cincinnati in front for good in the fifth inning with a two-run homer, and minor leaguer Mike Costanzo also went yard for the Reds. The Brewers fell to 2-2-1 in Cactus League play. They’ll take on Cleveland this afternoon. Left-hander Randy Wolf will start against the Indians’ Derek Lowe.
For the second year in a row, Wisconsin men’s hockey junior Justin Schultz was named yesterday as the WCHA’s Defensive Player-of-the-Year. Schultz also made the all-conference team, and Badgers’ sophomore forward Mark Zengerle was named to the all-league third team. Schultz became only the third player in WCHA history to receive the top defensive award twice. He averages almost one-and-a-quarter points in each of 34 games. And at his current pace, Schultz will become the first defenseman in Wisconsin history to lead the team in scoring. He has 42 points including 15 goals. Zengerle ranks fourth in scoring among all NCAA Division I players with 49 points. And he’s tied for the national lead with 37 assists. The Badgers are playing a best-of-three series at Denver starting tonight in the first round of the WCHA playoffs.
WIAA boys' high school sectionals
Stevens Point Sectional 1
Schofield D.C. Everest 37, La Crosse Central 32
Oshkosh North 55, Appleton West 42
Manitowoc Sectional 2
Germantown 64, Sussex Hamilton 38
De Pere 55, Sheboygan North 43
Kettle Moraine Sectional 3
Madison Memorial 68, Sun Prairie 53
Mukwonago 68, Burlington 56
Racine William Horlick Sectional 4
Milwaukee Rufus King 75, West Allis Central 71
Racine Washington Park 56, Milwaukee Hamilton 50
Marshfield Sectional 1
Antigo 48, Rhinelander 44
Onalaska 57, Rice Lake 47
Fond du Lac Sectional 2
Kaukauna 50, Pulaski 36
Plymouth 61, Beaver Dam 55
Janesville Craig Sectional 3
DeForest 49, Waunakee 46
Stoughton 52, Oregon 44
West Allis Central Sectional 4
Milwaukee Pius XI 66, Whitnall 62
Milwaukee Washington 50, Wauwatosa East 36
River Falls Sectional 1
Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau 53, Prescott 38
Somerset 63, Maple Northwestern 35
Menasha Sectional 2
Brillion 56, Wrightstown 41
Little Chute 52, Fox Valley Lutheran 50
Middleton Sectional 3
East Troy 71, Clinton 56
Lodi 58, Wisconsin Dells 49
Hartland Arrowhead Sectional 4
Marshall 60, Omro 55
Racine St. Catherine's 48, Oostburg 45
Eau Claire North Sectional 1
Boyceville 58, Chequamegon 47
Colfax 52, Fall Creek 42
Antigo Sectional 2
Amherst 53, Stratford 38
Oshkosh Lourdes 64, Shiocton 36
Baraboo Sectional 3
Cuba City 56, Cambridge 46
Onalaska Luther 72, Bangor 65
Brookfield Central Sectional 4
Whitefish Bay Dominican 87, Brookfield Academy 66
Howards Grove 58, Ozaukee 48
Spooner Sectional 1
Clayton 57, Prentice 38
Drummond 47, Frederic 35
Waupaca Sectional 2
Marion 53, Wisconsin Rapids Assumption 41
Sheboygan Lutheran 65, Hilbert 49
La Crosse Central Sectional 3
Chippewa Falls McDonell 59, Augusta 48
Benton 72, Southwestern 59
Watertown Sectional 4
Racine Lutheran 68, Milwaukee Academy of Science 52
Randolph 54, Waupun Central Wisconsin Christian 35