Afternoon State Sports Briefs: Pro Bowl selections will be announced tonightWisconsin Sports
-- The NFL will announce the final selections for the Pro Bowl tonight – and injuries could limit the number of Green Bay Packers who are chosen to start for the NFC squad.
GREEN BAY - The NFL will announce the final selections for the Pro Bowl tonight – and injuries could limit the number of Green Bay Packers who are chosen to start for the NFC squad.
Linebacker Clay Matthews remains near the top of the league sack totals with 12 this season. But he also missed four games due to a hamstring injury. It’s possible that San Francisco’s Aldon Smith and DeMarcus Ware of Dallas could jump ahead of Matthews – but Matthews will still most likely make the NFC roster. Packer receivers Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson have both missed a good number of games due to injuries – and with a talented corps of receivers throughout the conference, it’s possible that not even James Jones will start. He leads the NFL with 13 receiving touchdowns, and Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers recently campaigned on Jones’s behalf. Fullback John Kuhn led the fan vote at his position, so there’s a chance he’ll be named.
On defense, Green Bay’s Morgan Burnett leads all DB’s with 116 tackles – and he has a chance for a starting spot. Safety Charles Woodson does not appear to be a candidate, because of all the games he missed due to a broken collarbone. Randall Cobb and Jarrett Bush have a chance as special teams’ players. And of course, some Packers could be named later as nominees bow out due to injury concerns.
The Pro Bowl will be played before the Super Bowl in Hawaii. Commissioner Roger Goodell has hinted that it could be the last one, unless players do more to put on a show for the paying fans in Honolulu. Rodgers said many didn’t even try a year ago – leading more credence to what’s now a traditional notion that being named is more important to many players than the actual Game Day in Hawaii.
The University of Wisconsin’s new football coach, Gary Andersen, appears to be hanging onto most of the players who committed to former coach Bret Bielema. Only one player from the Class-of-2013 has officially dropped his commitment. Junior college defensive back Tiquention Coleman decided to follow Bielema to Arkansas. Athletic director Barry Alvarez said last night that he thought the commitments were quote, “very solid” for the most part. Alvarez said over a dozen recruits went to his home during the Badgers’ official “recruiting weekend” in early December. It was just a few days after Bielema had left. And Alvarez said he knew that as soon as a new coach could be hired, the team would be okay. The Badger football team has 17 known recruits committed for next season.
The Milwaukee Bucks will try to win their 13th straight game over the Brooklyn Nets’ franchise tonight at the Bradley Center. The Nets may have moved to Brooklyn and added Joe Johnson, but their losing streak to the Bucks kept going on December ninth, when Milwaukee won 97-88 at the new Barclays’ Center. Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings combined for 50 points that night, including 14-of-15 from the free throw line. The Nets’ 7-foot center, Brook Lopez, missed that game with a sprained foot. He’ll play tonight, but he’s only averaging 14 points a game against the Bucks – the lowest of any team in the NBA’s Eastern Conference. The Bucks have had shooting problems lately, and they’ll get to get past them this evening. Milwaukee only shot 39-percent last Saturday, in losing by 12 at home to Cleveland. The Nets only shot 40-percent on Christmas Day, in a 17-point home loss to Boston.
It’s another silent night for Wisconsin college basketball. None of the state’s Division-One men’s-and-women’s teams play until at least Friday – and only a couple Division III schools return to action tomorrow.
Andrew Schwoerer of Saint Norbert College has been named the men’s basketball performer-of-the-week in the Midwest Conference. Schwoerer, a sophomore forward, had 21 points and eight rebounds in Saint Norbert’s 14-point road win over Carroll. He has scored at least 21 in each of last three games, to improve his season scoring average to almost 17 points per contest. Rikki Mulloy of Cornell is the honored women’s player.