Morning State Sports Briefs: Leaders Division showdown between Wisconsin and PurdueWisconsin Sports
-- Wisconsin and Purdue are considered to be the front-runners for the Big Ten Leaders’ Division crown, with Penn State and Ohio State both ineligible. The Badgers and Boilermakers are getting ready to square off on Saturday in West Lafayette, Ind.
MADISON - Wisconsin and Purdue are considered to be the front-runners for the Big Ten Leaders’ Division crown, with Penn State and Ohio State both ineligible. The Badgers and Boilermakers are getting ready to square off on Saturday in West Lafayette, Ind.
And Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema is trying to downplay the game’s significance. He says he understands the interest. But Bielema says the overall conference record is of the “utmost importance,” and it doesn’t matter which division the wins-and-losses come from. The Badgers evened their league record at 1-1 last Saturday with a win over Leaders’ Division opponent Illinois. Wisconsin will now go for its first road win of the season against a Purdue team which is 0-1 in the Big Ten and 3-2 overall. Wisconsin improved to 4-2 overall, after coming off a solid performance against Illinois. The Badgers had a season-high 427 yards on offense, while the defense gave up a season-low 178 passing yards. Bielema says he’s especially impressed with Purdue’s defense, and the front four is possibly the best in the league right now. It includes senior defensive tackle Kawann Short, who has blocked two field goals and an extra point this season.
Wisconsin could get two of its starters back, when the Badgers play at Purdue on Saturday. According to the depth chart for the game, senior Shelton Johnson will return at strong safety. And redshirt sophomore Kyle Costigan is due back at right guard. Neither move is a surprise. Both Johnson and the coaches said he would return this week if he couldn’t make it back for Saturday’s home win over Illinois. Yesterday, offensive line coach Bart Miller said Costigan would start in place of right guard Zach Matthias if he’s ready. Costigan injured a knee against Nebraska nine days ago, and he did not play against the Illini. Meanwhile, the depth chart also shows that junior transfer Danny O’Brien is sharing the main back-up spot with Curt Phillips. Phillips has been getting his first playing time since 2009, after recovering from ACL injuries in his right knee. He played a series against Illinois, and offensive coordinator Matt Canada says he’d like to keep using Phillips to provide an occasional different look from freshman quarterback Joel Stave. In addition, corner Peniel Jean might play for the first time this season against the Boilermakers. Jean’s been out with a broken foot – and the depth chart lists him as a co-backup behind Marcus Cromartie.
UW-Platteville quarterback Bryce Corrigan has been named the national Division-Three offensive player-of-the-week by NCAA.com. The sophomore Corrigan made only his second career start – and he completed 37-of-43 passes for 412 yards and three touchdowns in Platteville’s 40-10 victory over La Crosse. Corrigan completed his first 15 attempts, and all but one of his first 25. The 37 pass completions were the fifth-highest in Platteville history. And he became the Pioneers’ fifth quarterback since 2001 to complete over 70-percent of his passes in a game with at least 20 attempts.
In the AP state high school football poll, the Top-Four teams in the large division remain unchanged from a week ago. Hartland Arrowhead is still at No. 1, followed by Waunakee, Sun Prairie, and Appleton North. West De Pere still leads the poll for the medium-sized schools. Walworth Big Foot remains at No. 2, followed by Wisconsin Lutheran and Plymouth. Fond du Lac St. Mary's Springs is still the leader among the small schools with Eau Claire Regis second, Lancaster third, and Edgar fourth. All the teams mentioned here are 7-0.
Former UW-Stevens Point right-hander and Auburndale native Jordan Zimmermann took the loss yesterday, as the Washington Nationals got crushed at Saint Louis 12-4 in Game-Two of their National league Division Series. Zimmermann got tagged for five runs on seven hits in just three innings. Nationals’ manager Davey Johnson said Zimmermann did not use his slider very much in the early going. And Johnson said he kept throwing his fastballs away from the plate, instead of using both sides of the plate which is needed against a good fastball-hitting club like the Cardinals. Johnson said it was due to Zimmermann’s “inexperience.” The Cards scored four times in the second to put Game-Two away. The series is tied at a game-apiece, with Game-Three set for tomorrow in Washington.
The Milwaukee Brewers have announced two promotions in their Latin America scouting operation. Eduardo Brizuela has been named the Director of Latin America Operations-and-Scouting. And Manny Batista has been promoted to the Director of Latin American Scouting. The 26-year-old Brizuela has been with the Brewers for the last three years as an administrative coordinator. The 51-year-old Batista spent the last year as Milwaukee’s scouting director for Venezuela. He joined the team in 2010 as a scout for Venezuela, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic.
The Milwaukee Brewers have named Norichika Aoki and Marco Estrada as their player-and-pitcher of the month. Aoki batted .306 in 31 games in September and October with four homers, 18 RBI’s, and nine stolen bases. The right-fielder also led the National League with 18 extra-base hits last month. Estrada went 3-and-2 in six starts since September first, with a two-point-six-three ERA during that stretch. He struck out 39 batters, and his opponents only hit .219.
Milwaukee Bucks’ point guard Brandon Jennings has been working on his defense at training camp. And tonight, he’ll see how well he’s been doing, when the Bucks open their exhibition schedule against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Canton Ohio. Jennings will go up against Cavs’ guard Kyrie Irving, who won the NBA’s rookie-of-the-year award last season. He scored 29 points against Jennings and the Bucks last March 30th before he left after three quarters with a sprained shoulder. This summer, Irving broke his right hand – and he has recovered from that. Jennings says he needs to improve his defense, because it will be a major focus of the Bucks’ efforts to get back to the playoffs. Coach Scott Skiles says he’s been impressed with what Jennings has done at camp. Skiles says he’ll have to defend some of the best players in the game – including Chris Paul and Derrick Rose. And if Jennings wants to be mentioned with those stars, Skiles says quote, “You’ve got to out-compete those guys … It’s just the way it is.”
Marquette University men’s basketball fans can watch their team play on a military aircraft carrier. It was announced yesterday that the NBC Sports Network will televise the Marquette-Ohio State men’s game live at 7 p-m on November ninth. The event also features a women’s game between Ohio State and national runner-up Notre Dame – and the NBC Sports cable network will show it on a delayed basis the same night at 11 o’clock. The event is called the “Carrier Classic.” It will be played on the USS Yorktown aircraft carrier at the Patriots Point Naval Museum on the Atlantic coast of South Carolina.
The University of Wisconsin women’s soccer team closed out its non-conference schedule yesterday with a 2-0 victory at UW-Green Bay. Paige Adams and freshman Kinley McNicoll scored in the first half for the Badgers, who improved to 8-5-1 overall. Genevieve Richard had three saves for her second shutout in three starts. Green Bay had six saves, as the Phoenix fell to 4-9-1.
The Marquette University women’s soccer team is ranked at No. 2 in the new national Division I poll from Soccer America. The Golden Eagles jumped five spots from last week’s poll, after beating Big East powerhouse Connecticut 3-2 this past weekend. That dropped UConn from second-to-sixth in the new survey. Maryland is still at Number-One. Marquette is 11-0, with the highest ranking in the team’s history. It’s also the highest ranking for any Marquette sports team since the men’s basketball team was No. 1 in February of 1978.
The Marquette volleyball team improved to 5-0 in Big East play with a home win over South Florida, 3-2. Holly Mertens led the Golden Eagles with 17 kills. They survived 17 service errors, due mainly to a strong hitting percentage of .376. Marquette is now 14-3 overall.
The Wisconsin volleyball team ended a four-match losing streak with a shutout of Michigan Sunday in Madison. It was the Badgers’ first home conference victory as the improved to 2-4 in the Big Ten, and 14-5 overall. Wisconsin only committed 13 hitting errors yesterday, after committing 46 in its previous two losses. Courtney Thomas had her fourth double-double of the year with 38 assists and 11 digs.
The Marquette men’s golf team beat out 14 other schools to win the John Dallio Memorial tournament in Lemont, Illinois. The Golden Eagles scored a five-shot victory yesterday over second-place De Paul for 54 holes. UW-Green Bay was 10th. Nick Nelson had Marquette’s best individual score as he tied for fifth. He tied for fifth at 225. Tom Boockmeier of Green Bay also tied for fifth. He and Nelson were just four strokes behind medalist Kyle Henning of Valparaiso.
The boys’ state high school soccer regionals begin tomorrow, after the brackets were set in three divisions during the weekend. The No. 1 teams in the final coaches’ poll all received top seeds. Division-One leader Milwaukee Marquette will play 16th-seeded Milwaukee Pulaski in their tournament opener tomorrow. Middleton was second in the final D-1 poll, and Green Bay Preble was third. In Division-Two, top-ranked Appleton Xavier will face eighth-seeded Waupaca tomorrow. Green Bay Notre Dame is second in the D-2 poll, and Pewaukee is third. In Division 3, top-ranked Sturgeon Bay plays Oshkosh Lourdes/Oshkosh Valley Christian in their regional opener. Green Bay Northeast Wisconsin Lutheran is second in the final D-3 poll, and Milwaukee Saint Anthony's is third. The state boys’ soccer tournament will be played October 25th-through-27th in Milwaukee.
The University of Wisconsin men’s hockey team is ranked 15th in the new poll released this afternoon by U.S. College Hockey Online. The Badgers moved up three places from last week, after shutting out the U.S. Under-18 squad 5-to-nothing in an exhibition on Saturday night in Madison. This weekend, the Badgers will open its regular season in Green Bay against Northern Michigan on Friday and Saturday nights. Boston College leads the men’s poll, with Minnesota second. Meanwhile, the Badger women are still ranked at No. 4 by U.S. College Online. The Badgers are 3-0-1 after sweeping a pair at Lindenwood in Saint Charles, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis. Wisconsin is 1-0-1 in the WCHA, and will play at Minnesota-Duluth Saturday and Sunday afternoons. The Golden Gophers continue to lead the women’s rankings, with Cornell second.
The Milwaukee Admirals have trimmed five players from their roster, as they get ready to open their American Hockey League regular season on Friday night at Grand Rapids. The Admirals re-assigned forward Josh Shalla to its ECHL affiliate in Cincinnati, along with defensemen Charles Olivier-Roussel and Taylor Aronson. The Admirals also loaned forward Andrew Bouvet-Morrissette to Cincinnati, and they released forward Cam Reid from his professional try-out contract. The Admirals wrapped up their exhibition schedule with a 3-1 loss to Chicago during the weekend.