Overnight State Sports Briefs: Catholic League on the cusp with Marquette leading the wayWisconsin Sports
-- It appears that Marquette and six Catholic universities will leave the Big East Conference, and perhaps start their own league.
MILWAUKEE - It appears that Marquette and six Catholic universities will leave the Big East Conference, and perhaps start their own league.
Various media reports say the official announcement will be made anytime from this afternoon through early next week. This morning, Big East Commissioner Mike Aresco held a conference call with the seven schools. It was apparently a last-ditch effort to keep the circuit together. Marquette and the other six either do not play football – or their teams are not at the BCS level. Their apparent intent is to be in a league which highlights basketball – even though it attracts only about a third-of-the-revenue as football. The other schools in the group are Villanova, Saint John’s, DePaul, Georgetown, Seton Hall, and Providence. Marquette officials have recently been critical of the Big East for replacing power-house basketball programs like Syracuse with schools like Tulane. Marquette athletic director Larry Williams has said the presence of Tulane will not help the Golden Eagles’ ability to compete for an NCAA Tournament spot in March.
Free-agent starter Shaun Marcum says he has not ruled out a return to the Milwaukee Brewers next season. The right-hander made the comment on Sirius-XM Satellite Radio. Brewers’ general manager Doug Melvin says he’s glad to hear that Marcum would consider coming back – and he has not had any talks with Marcum’s agent about it. The Brewers traded infielder Brett Lawrie to Toronto to get Marcum two Decembers ago. He went 13-7 for the Crew in 2011, but he faced in the post-season and went 0-3. Last year, he went 7-1 with a 3.07 ERA – but he sat out two months with elbow problems. Injury concerns resulted in the Brewers not making a qualifying offer to Marcum – which could have given Milwaukee a draft choice if Marcum were to sign elsewhere. Meanwhile, Melvin says the Brewers probably won’t sign free-agent starter Ryan Dempster from the Cubs. He’s reportedly set to sign a deal with Boston. Melvin said Dempster wanted a three-year contract with Milwaukee, but the GM would only offer him two years.
Oshkosh native Sam Penzenstadler has been named the Horizon League’s male cross country runner of the year. The sophomore competes for Loyola of Chicago – and he won the individual title at the recent conference championships. He finished five seconds ahead of Loyola teammate Jake Autio, who took second. Loyola senior Gina Valgoi was named the Horizon female runner-of-the-year.
The UW-Whitewater men’s basketball team will probably lose its No. 2 national ranking in Division-Three next week, after falling to Number-seven Stevens Point at home, 72-61. The Pointers rallied during the second half last night without their senior star Tyler Tillema. He left in the opening half with a knee injury. Pointers’ coach Bob Semling said his players showed their resilience in the wake of Tillema’s injury. Stevens Point secured its victory with a 12-0 run in the second half. The Warhawks dropped to 3-1 in the conference and 7-1 overall. Point improved to 3-0 in league play and 8-0 overall.
Elmhurst College running back Scottie Williams has received the Gagliardi Trophy as the top player in the NCAA’s Division III. He was chosen over three other finalists, including UW-Oshkosh quarterback Nate Wara. And Williams is only the second player from the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin to receive the Gagliardi award. Williams led Elmhurst to a share of the CCIW title. He set new school records with two-thousand-46 season rushing yards and 22 touchdowns. Williams averaged 170-and-a-half yards per game – and he also caught 23 passes for 182 yards and two scores. The Gagliardi Trophy also recognizes excellence off the field. Williams has a three-point-two-one grade-point-average in marketing. He has also built homes for Habitat-for-Humanity – and he helped raise money for a local Relay-for-Life event.
University of Wisconsin men’s hockey forward Ryan Little will sat out Thursday's home game against Alabama-Huntsville. The WCHA has suspended Little for one contest, due to an illegal check on a Michigan Tech player during an overtime period in last Saturday’s game.
Wisconsin women’s hockey goal-tender Alex Rigsby has been named the WCHA’s defensive player-of-the-week. The junior had 59 saves in Wisconsin’s two-game sweep of North Dakota last weekend. She gave up just one even-strength goal, plus two others on power plays. Rigsby is now 12-6-2 on the season. Also, Haylea Schmid of Saint Cloud is the top offensive player. And Hannah Brandt of Minnesota is the league’s rookie-of-the-week.
University of Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez says he has interviewed two candidates for the Badgers’ football coaching vacancy – and he expected to set up a third interview today, which reports are saying is Oregon State's MIke Riley;. Alvarez spoke with former Badgers’ defensive back and NFL assistant Mel Tucker – but Tucker says he’s not interested. Other names have come up, but Alvarez told Sirius XM Satellite Radio that many are quote, “random names being thrown out with no substance.” Alvarez also said he was impressed with the assistant coaches that Bret Bielema left behind when he bolted for Arkansas a week ago. The only defection so far is defensive coordinator Chris Ash, who’s joining Bielema in Fayetteville. Alvarez – who’s coaching Wisconsin the Rose Bowl – said he would have no problem recommending any of the assistants to whoever the next head coach is.
Beloit College swept the weekly swimming-and-diving awards in the Midwest Conference. Sophomore Will McAneny was named the men’s performer-of-the-week, after he won the 50-and-100 freestyle events at last weekend’s Beloit Triangular. He also ran the lead leg on Beloit’s winning 400-freestyle relay team. Freshman Shaunte Moss of Beloit was named the top women’s performer. She set a new school record in the 100-breast-stroke with a time of one-minute, :11.07 seconds. Moss also won the 200-individual medley and ran the second leg of the winning 400-medley relay squad.
Burlington High School senior Kaysie Shebeneck was named today as the Gatorade state volleyball player-of-the-year for the second straight time. The 6-1 setter and right-side hitter averaged nine assists per set, and she helped Burlington go 44-2 this season with their second straight Division 1 state championship. Shebeneck totaled 176 digs, 82 kills, 74 blocks, and 41 service aces with a kill percentage of .506. She plans to play her college volleyball at Texas A&M.