Morning State Sports Briefs: UW's Gasser makes it through practiceWisconsin Sports
-- University of Wisconsin guard Josh Gasser made it through a full practice yesterday. That’s after he played through flu-like symptoms in Saturday’s NCAA men’s basketball tournament win over Vanderbilt.
MADISON - University of Wisconsin guard Josh Gasser made it through a full practice yesterday. That’s after he played through flu-like symptoms in Saturday’s NCAA men’s basketball tournament win over Vanderbilt.
Gasser, a sophomore, was limited to 24 minutes in the Badgers’ second-round victory. After practice yesterday, Gasser said he was tired – but he felt pretty good as he tried to get his strength and energy back. Freshman forward Jarrod Uthoff also practiced yesterday, after he felt so sick on Saturday that he stayed at the team’s hotel during the game. The fourth-seeded Badgers will play top-seeded Syracuse on Thursday evening at the East Regional semi-finals in Boston. No. 3 seed Marquette is gearing up to play No. 7 Florida in the West Regional semis on Thursday night in Phoenix.
Milwaukee Bucks’ center Drew Gooden was named the NBA’s Eastern Conference player-of-the-week yesterday. It was the second straight time a Bucks’ player was given the honor. Ersan Ilyasova received it a week ago. Gooden had his second career triple-double last Wednesday with 15 points, 13 assists, and 10 rebounds in a Bucks’ win over Cleveland. And Gooden had 16 points and 11 boards last Friday night at Golden State, even though he suffered a minor groin injury during that game. He averaged 18 points in three games last week with 10 rebounds and eight assists. After missing much of last season with a foot injury, Gooden is Milwaukee’s starting center in place of Andrew Bogut. He has started 28 games while averaging almost 15 points, seven rebounds, and two-and-a-half assists per night. The Bucks have won five straight games, and will play at Portland tonight. Gooden says his goal is for the Bucks to make the playoffs – and it appears to be more realistic now. Milwaukee is a half-game behind New York for the final Eastern Conference spot.
The agent for Green Bay Packers’ outside linebacker Erik Walden says his client would prefer to re-sign with the Pack – but other teams are also interested. And David Rich says he’s not sure if the Packers can fit him under the salary cap for a long-term contract. Rich tells the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the free agent Walden has spoken with “five or six other teams,” all of which have 3-4 defenses like Green Bay does. Walden had 60 tackles and three sacks last season – and his production went down after he was arrested for a physical incident involving his live-in girlfriend early in the morning after Thanksgiving last year. If he completes 50 hours of community service, his charge will be dropped – but there’s still the possibility that the NFL will suspend him for violating its code-of-conduct. That’s what other teams would have to weigh in deciding whether to pick up Walden. As for his lower production, Rich said Walden had a sickness that caused him to lose 15 pounds. Rich said the Packers want to be fair with Walden – and he said his client wants to return and clear up his name.
Wisconsin’s all-time winningest boys’ high school basketball coach will have one more chance to go out on top. Cuba City's Jerry Petitgoue had talked about retiring after 40 years on the Cubans’ bench. But the Wisconsin State Journal says the 71-year-old Petitgoue will returns for what he’s calling a “transitional year” before he gives the job to someone else. Cuba City was unbeaten this year before losing the Division-Four state high school championship game to Whitefish Bay Dominican, 61-43 on Saturday. Petitgoue is 756-180 at Cuba City, with state titles in 1981, ’91, and ’98. He also coached for four years at Gratiot, which is now part of the Black Hawk district. Petitgoue’s overall record is 820-200.
The University of Minnesota women’s hockey team returned to a hero’s welcome in Minneapolis this afternoon. A pep rally was planned on campus, after the Gophers defeated Wisconsin 4-2 in Duluth yesterday to win the NCAA Division-One championship. Among those having a hand in the title was Amanda Kessel, a native of Verona near Madison. She scored one of the goals in the title game against the Badgers.
Steve Stricker of Madison is still at Number-five in the new World Golf Rankings released today. Stricker remains the top American player in the world, after taking a rest during last weekend’s PGA Transitions Championship. Luke Donald won that tournament, and he regained the top spot in the World Rankings. Pewaukee native Mark Wilson dropped one place to 26th, after he tied for 55th at Palm Harbor Florida. Jerry Kelly of Madison rose six spots to 142nd, after he tied for 20th in the Transitions tournament. In the Fed-Ex Cup season point standings, Wilson remains at Number-Four. Stricker is still 10th. And Kelly jumped 25 places to 116th. Rory McIlroy is still the Fed-Ex points’ leader.