State Basketball Roundup: Ryan named Big Ten Coach-of-the-YearWisconsin News
-- Bo Ryan of Wisconsin is the Big Ten men’s basketball Coach-of-the-Year.
Bo Ryan of Wisconsin is the Big Ten men’s basketball Coach-of-the-Year. The announcement was made last night on the Big Ten Network – where Ryan said his players fought through a lot of things this season and quote, “It was just really nice to see the way they came together.” Wisconsin lost its starting point guard, Josh Gasser, to a knee injury just before the season began – and senior forward Mike Bruesewitz missed time with a severe leg injury before camp even began. Still, the Badgers played to a 12-and-6 conference record in the regular season, with a Number-four seed and a first-round bye in this week’s Big Ten Tournament. It was the third time in Ryan’s 12 seasons in Madison that he received the Coach-of-the-Year honors. Wisconsin was in contention for the regular season title until the final week, even though they were picked last fall to finish as low as eighth. Three Badgers also received individual honors last night. Senior center Jared Berggren was named to the All-Big Ten second team by both the league’s coaches and media. He also made the coaches’ All-Defensive team. Guard Ben Brust was a consensus honorable mention. And Sam Dekker made the coaches’ All-Freshman team, and was an honorable mention by the media. Trey Burke of Michigan was named the Big Ten’s consensus Player-of-the-Year. The Badgers will play either Michigan or Penn State in their Big Ten Tournament opener on Friday.
The Big East men’s basketball tournament begins today at Madison Square Garden. It’s the last one before Marquette and the league’s six other Catholic members start their own conference and take the Big East name with them. Most matchups this week will be the final ones as members of the current conference – which includes many of the best teams in the nation. No fewer than six nationally-ranked teams will square off. Louisville is the highest at Number-Four, and Marquette is 12th. The Golden Eagles will not play until Thursday, because they have a double-bye. They’ll face Rutgers, DePaul, or 24th-ranked Notre Dame in the quarter-finals – and coach Buzz Williams says his team is working on game plans for all of those possibilities. Williams says the Eagles will definitely be ready by the time they find out their opponent tomorrow night.
The Milwaukee Bucks will go for a two-game season sweep of the Dallas Mavericks tonight at the B-M-O Harris Bradley Center. The Mavs, who won the N-B-A title two seasons ago, are in danger of missing the playoffs for the first time in 12 years. That’s the second-longest current playoff streak in the league. Dallas is in 10th place in the Western Conference at 29-and-33, three games behind the L-A Lakers for the eighth-and-final playoff spot in that circuit. The Mavericks are coming off a 23-point win at Minnesota on Sunday, in which reserves Vince Carter, Elton Brand, and Brandan Wright teamed up for 45 points. Bucks’ starters Ersan Ilyasova and Larry Sanders are questionable for tonight with knee injuries. J-J Redick and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute are day-to-day with foot injuries. Milwaukee holds a comfortable eight-and-a-half game lead for the final post-season spot in the East. And if they can make a good run, the Bucks still have a shot at the Number-Four spot and home-court advantage in the first round. Milwaukee is just four games behind Brooklyn for the fourth spot with 21 games left.
Cardinal Stritch of Milwaukee will play tonight for a national title in the N-A-I-A Division-Two men’s basketball tournament. Stritch won its semi-final game last night, 69-to-56 over Indiana Southeast in Point Lookout Missouri. Tony Smit scored 21 points, as the second-seeded Wolves improved to 34-and-3. They’ll play top-seeded William Penn of Iowa for the championship tonight. Penn advanced with a 79-to-58 win over Grace.