Evening State News Briefs: Three state schools make Division III men's hoops tourneyThree Wisconsin schools were named today to the NCAA Division III men’s basketball tournament.
Three Wisconsin schools were named today to the NCAA Division III men’s basketball tournament.
Defending champion UW-Whitewater joins Stevens Point and Saint Norbert in the Field-of-62. All first-round games are set for Saturday. Whitewater, which won the WIAC conference tournament, will host Dubuque. The Warhawks, ranked ninth by D3hoops.com, are 23-4. Unranked Dubuque is 22-and-6. The 10th-ranked Pointers will be at home against Northwestern College. Point is 21-5. Northwestern is 21-6. And Saint Norbert, which won the Midwest Conference tournament, will host No. 20 Wheaton. The unranked Green Knights are 20-5, and Wheaton is 20-6. That winner will most likely face top-ranked Saint Thomas in the Second Round, which is slated for the following Saturday, March 9th
The University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team rose two places to 17th today in the AP college basketball media poll. And the Badgers rose one spot to 16th in the USA Today coaches’ survey. Bo Ryan’s team is 19-8, and will host Nebraska tomorrow night. The Marquette men dropped to 22nd both polls – a decline of five spots by the media, and two spots by the coaches. Marquette is 19-7 overall, and will host Syracuse this evening. On the women’s side, UW-Green Bay rose four places to 21st in today’s new AP poll. The Phoenix are 22-2, and can clinch the Horizon League title outright at Detroit on Thursday night.
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said today that if his city builds a new arena, there needs to be a regional approach to pay for it. The board of the Bradley Center has long contended that the 24-year-old arena has become too small to generate the revenue that a pro team like the Milwaukee Bucks needs. Barrett said during his annual “State of the City” address that he wants Milwaukee to be the home of the Bucks for decades to come. But he said he could not support a financing plan that includes only the city or Milwaukee County. He said a regional plan is needed because the Bradley Center is a regional asset, just like Miller Park and State Fair Park. The Brewers’ stadium was built with a one-tenth-of-one-percent sales tax in five area counties – and people in Racine County were so mad about it, they recalled their state Senator George Petak when he changed his mind about opposing the tax and voted yes at the last minute. Bucks’ owner Herb Kohl has said he would make a significant private gift for to build a new arena. Tim Sheehy, head of the Metro Milwaukee Association of Commerce, says he’ll create a task force in the next month-and-a-half to start talking about what should be done.
Former Green Bay Packers’ executive Mike Reinfeldt says he’s weighing his options, after the Tennessee Titans fired him almost two months ago as their chief operating officer. Reinfeldt and Packers’ general manager Ted Thompson have been talking more lately – but not necessarily about returning to Green Bay in some capacity. The two are reported to be best friends, and he says the talk has not gotten that deep yet. Reinfeldt says he’s in no hurry to find a new post – and he wants to make the right choice. The 59-year-old Reinfeldt is a native of Baraboo, and he helped former Packers GM Ron Wolf bring the team back to prominence from 1991-through-’98. After that, he went with Mike Holmgren to Seattle and spent five years as the Seahawks’ senior vice president. At Tennessee, he was the Titans’ GM from 2007-through-2011, and was a senior vice president before being let go on New Year’s Day. There appears to be a solid opportunity for Reinfeldt in the Packers’ front office, after the team saw John Dorsey, Reggie McKenzie, John Schneider, and Shawn Herock leave over the past four years.
The University of Wisconsin men’s hockey team went up two spots to Number-16 in today’s new Division-One poll from U.S. College Hockey Online. The Badgers are 14-10-7, as they go for a sweep of their two-game home series against Penn State tonight. The Badger women remain at No. 6 in their College Online poll. They’re 21-9-2 overall, going into this weekend’s WCHA playoffs.In Division III, Eau Claire remains second in the country. Saint Norbert is fourth, up one spot from a week ago. Milwaukee Engineering also received votes. In the Division III women’s poll, River Falls is sixth, same as a week ago. Saint Norbert returned to the poll in a three-way tie for ninth.
UW-Eau Claire will host Saint Norbert on Saturday night in the title game of the men’s Peters Cup Playoffs in the Northern Collegiate Hockey Association. Both teams won their semi-final contests this past weekend. Eau Claire eliminated River Falls by five, while Saint Norbert churned out a 2-1 victory over Saint Scholastica. Meanwhile, the O’Brien Cup women’s playoffs will have their semi-finals coming up. Saint Scholastica of Duluth will play at Saint Norbert, and UW-Stevens Point travels to River Falls. All four teams won their opening round series during the weekend. Both semi-finals are set for Saturday night – and the winners will advance to the league title contest the following weekend. Both NCHA champions will earn automatic berths to their NCAA Division-Three tournaments in March.
Three Wisconsin schools are among the Final Four in the Midwest Collegiate Hockey Association men’s playoffs. Northland College of Ashland will play top-seeded Adrian of Michigan – and the Milwaukee School of Engineering faces second-seeded Marian of Fond du Lac. Both games are set for Friday night at Adrian, which has won six straight regular season titles. The winners will face each other Saturday afternoon for the league crown and an automatic Division III bid. Northland advanced to the semi-finals by splitting a two-game first-round set with Lawrence of Appleton, then winning a mini-game 1-0. Milwaukee Engineering advanced with a split of Lake Forest, and a 1-0 mini-game victory. Adrian received a first-round bye.
NFL.com says the Green Bay Packers are thinking about using their franchise tag to keep receiver Greg Jennings around for at least one more year. If they do, the tag requires that Jennings get just over $10-million dollars for next season. We’ll find out in the next couple weeks what Green Bay decides to do, as the mid-March free agent signing period gets closer. It appears that the Packer brain-trust does not want to risk losing the 29-year-old Jennings, despite lack of a media speculation about his possible future. Or a sign-and-trade deal could be in the offing – but observers say the odds of that are slim. Jennings is an unrestricted free agent, and the Packers would lose him if he signs somewhere else. Media reports say his contract value has diminished after his abdominal surgery which kept him out of action for two months this past season. If the Packers do franchise Jennings, all of his salary would be put on this year’s cap. And then the front office would probably have to make other decisions to reduce the cap – like possibly cutting tight end Jermichael Finley. At the NFL Scouting Combine over the weekend, Packers’ coach Mike McCarthy said he’d feel comfortable about going with a lineup with receivers James Jones, Randall Cobb, and Jordy Nelson – with Jeremy Ross and Jarrett Boykin as the top back-ups.
The Milwaukee Brewers will get a look at two of their possible future starters today. The Brewers are playing their first split-squad games at Spring Training in Arizona, as they host San Diego while hitting the road to face Cincinnati at Goodyear. Right-hander Hiram Burgos is starting against the Padres, while right-hander Tyler Thornburg faces the Reds. The Brewers can improve to 3-and-1 in the Cactus League season with a pair of victories. The 25-year-old Burgos started last season at Class-“A” Brevard County – and by the end of the year, he was given a pair of promotions to Triple-“A” Nashville. He went 2-and-2 there in eight games last year, with an ERA of 2.91. Thornburg had a couple of stints with the Brewers last season. He had no record in eight appearances in both starting and relief roles, with an ERA of 4.50.
For only the third time in their 44-year history, the Milwaukee Bucks have lost three straight games by three points or less. The Bucks are coming off a one-point home loss to Atlanta on Saturday, in which a potential game-winning shot by Monta Ellis bounced off the back of the rim at the buzzer. On Wednesday night, Milwaukee lost by three at home to the Brooklyn Nets – and the night before, the Bucks lost a two-point overtime contest at Brooklyn. Bucks’ guard Mike Dunleavy says the final possessions are the hardest parts of the game – and it all comes down to executing and doing the little things right. Bucks’ coach Jim Boylan says his players have not been precise during key moments – and the problems have been on both offense and defense. It’s something the Bucks will need to shore up if they want to make the playoffs. The Bucks still hold the eighth-and-final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference by four games over both Philadelphia and Toronto. But Milwaukee’s slipping behind for the playoff spots above them. The Bucks are now three games behind Boston for the No. 7 slot in the East. Milwaukee has lost nine of its last 11. They’re two games under .500, and their next game is tomorrow night at Dallas.
Steve Stricker of Madison rose three places to 13th in the new World Golf Rankings released this morning. Stricker made the Final Eight at the Accenture Match Play Championship near Tucson. He won three matches before losing to Ian Poulter on Saturday. Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods are still first-and-second in the World, after both lost their opening matches in the Accenture tournament. Pewaukee native Mark Wilson dropped two spots to 121st, and Jerry Kelly of Madison fell six spots to 259th. In the Fed-Ex Cup season point standings, Stricker rose two places to Number-15. Kelly dropped eight spots to 93rd, and Wilson also fell eight places to 111th. Stricker – who has cut back on his schedule this year – says he will not take part in the Fed-Ex Playoffs this fall, even if he qualifies. He’s spending more time in Madison this year with his family and charity work.