State College Basketball Round-up: UW alum helps Badgers at pre-Regional practiceWisconsin Sports
-- The University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team practiced against a seven-footer last night, as the Badgers get ready to play top-seeded Syracuse in the NCAA’s East Regional.
BOSTON - The University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team practiced against a seven-footer last night, as the Badgers get ready to play top-seeded Syracuse in the NCAA’s East Regional.
Paul Grant – a center for the Badgers in the late 1990’s – was part of the scout team that posed as the Orange during the workout in Boston. Grant played the role of the center in Syracuse’s famous 2-3 zone – the favored defense of Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim for three dozen years. Syracuse and fourth-seeded Wisconsin will square off in a Sweet-16 matchup at Boston’s TD Garden. Grant lives in Boston, and he contacted a U-W assistant to see if he could help them out. The NCAA lets alumni practice with teams, as long as it doesn’t happen too often. During the NBA lockout last fall, former Badgers Devin Harris and Michael Finley practiced with the team. Wisconsin takes a 26-9 record into tomorrow night’s contest. Syracuse is 33-2.
USA Today says Badger men’s coach Bo Ryan has already made $100,000 by getting his team through the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament. And he could get another $200,000 if the Badgers can find a way to win the national championship a week from Monday night. The paper said Ryan got $50,000 when the Badgers made the NCAA field for a 14th straight year – and another 50-thousand by making the Sweet-16. Ryan reportedly gets another $50,000 if Wisconsin makes the Final Four – $100,000 if they make the title game on April second – and $50,000 more if the Badgers are tearing down the nets when CBS plays “One Shining Moment” following the championship game. Ryan is Wisconsin’s all-time winningest men’s basketball coach – and his teams have made the Sweet-16 five times in his 11 years in Madison. Last fall, Ryan got a raised that exceeded his total annual compensation to over two-million dollars. $436,000 of that is the base salary from the school. The rest come from a foundation and private gifts.
VCU men’s basketball coach Shaka Smart is reportedly considering a big-money offer from Illinois. Smart, who played his high school ball at Oregon, just south of Madison, has reportedly met with Illini officials about replacing the fired Bruce Weber. The Chicago Tribune said Illinois promised that Smart would have better facilities – plus a long-term contract with a salary similar to what Tom Izzo makes at Michigan State, over three-million dollars a year. The 34-year-old Smart signed an eight-year contract at Virginia Commonwealth a year ago, right after he led VCU to the Final Four. He made almost $1.3 million dollars this past season. And if he leaves before April 30th, the school will buy out his current deal for $800,000. VCU made this year’s NCAA Round-of-32 before being eliminated by Indiana last Saturday.
Marquette University says men’s basketball guard Darius Johnson-Odom was with six underage teammates who were ticketed for being in a club where alcohol was served. Johnson-Odom was not ticketed because he’s 21 – but the school said today he was still disciplined for violating team rules. Vander Blue, Todd Mayo, Derrick Wilson, Juan Anderson, Jamail Jones, and Jake Thomas all face $374 fines after they received their tickets on March 12th – more than a month after they entered Milwaukee’s Apartment -720 nightclub on January 29th. Police reports issued yesterday said the six were cited for being underage in a place licensed to serve alcohol. The school said it handed down its discipline soon after the incident, but it didn’t say what the punishment was. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel said Blue, Johnson-Odom, and Junior Cadougan were benched in the first half of a February game for a team rule violation. Officials have not said if it relates to the recent citations. Marquette said all seven players will be available for tomorrow night’s NCAA Sweet-16 game against Florida at the West Regional in Phoenix.