Morning State Sports Briefs: Badgers move up in poll before tourneyWisconsin Sports
-- The University of Wisconsin men's basketball team enters the NCAA men’s basketball tournament with a rise in the polls – while Marquette took a dip after being one-and-done in the Big East tourney.
The University of Wisconsin men's basketball team enters the NCAA men’s basketball tournament with a rise in the polls – while Marquette took a dip after being one-and-done in the Big East tourney.
The Badgers jumped four places to No. 18 in the AP media poll released yesterday. And they rose six spots to 17th in the USA Today coaches’ poll, after they beat both Indiana and Michigan in the Big Ten Tournament before falling to Ohio State in the conference final. Wisconsin is 23-11 going into their NCAA opener on Friday morning against Mississippi. Ole Miss received votes in both polls. They’re six spots away from the Top-25 in the AP poll, and five spots away in the coaches’ survey. Meanwhile, Marquette dropped three places in both polls. The Golden Eagles are now ranked 16th by the coaches and 17th by the media. They’re 23-8 going into Thursday’s national opener against unranked Davidson. Gonzaga, the No. 1 seed in the West Region, remains atop both polls.
Sam Barber of UW-Stevens Point has been named a women’s basketball All-American in the NCAA’s Division III. Barber, a senior guard, made the national first team from D3hoops.com. Cortney Kumerow of UW-Whitewater is the only other Wisconsin player to be honored. The senior forward was given an honorable mention. Barber was earlier named the player-of-the-year in the Division III Hoops Central Region. She’s also the WIAC’s player-of-the-year, average she averaged 19 points and seven-and-a-half rebounds per game this season. Kumerow helped lead Whitewater to the Division III title game and a runner-up finish to DePauw.
Milwaukee Bucks’ coach Jim Boylan says his team has been giving up way too many points inside. The players devoted part of yesterday’s practice to watching film of their mistakes, in the hopes of fixing the problems before tonight’s home game against the Portland Trail Blazers. Orlando out-scored the Bucks 62-40 in the paint on Sunday, when the Bucks beat the Magic by six. Miami had a six-point edge in the paint on Friday night, and Washington scored 16 more points inside than Milwaukee last Wednesday. Opponents’ big men are out-muscling the Bucks close to the hoop, but Boylan says it’s not the only problem. He says players are running in from the perimeter to get easy shots close in – and it’s often because a defender is just a few feet out of position. The Bucks comfortably hold the eighth-and-final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference – but they’re trying to move up, so they can avoid playing Miami in the first round. Milwaukee is now two-and-a-half behind both Chicago and Boston for the sixth-and-seventh playoff spots, with 17 games left.
The Milwaukee Brewers lost to Cleveland 4-2 yesterday in a Cactus League exhibition in Goodyear Arizona. Brewers’ starter Marco Estrada went two-and-a-third innings on short rest, as he aligns himself to start the second game of the regular season in two weeks. Estrada allowed one run on three hits, and his spring ERA is a stingy 0.96. Logan Schafer scored on a wild pitch from Indians’ starter Ubaldo Jimenez, who left in the sixth after being hit on the right foot by a drive from Jean Segura. Brewers’ prospect Blake Lalli went 2-for-3 with a run-scoring double. Manager Ron Roenicke says Lalli has a chance to make Milwaukee’s regular season roster as a back-up first baseman and a possible third catcher. The Brewers have lost six-of-their-last nine exhibitions, and are 8-12-1 in the Cactus League. They’re expected to get Ryan Braun back today, when they take on the Angels of Anaheim.
The Brewers released veteran infielder Bobby Crosby yesterday. The 33-year-old veteran was attempting a comeback after being out of baseball for two years. But he got a late start at Spring Training with a thigh injury, and he struggled after that. Crosby hit just .188 in seven Cactus League with no homers and no RBI’s. He played at first base, third, and short. General manager Doug Melvin said Crosby’s chances of making the team were slim – so he decided to be released, leaving him open to hook up with somebody else. Manager Ron Roenicke said Crosby would benefit from an extended stay in Triple-“A,” where he could play every day and get his entire game back. The skipper said Crosby played well in the field, but he needs a lot of at-bats.
The UW-Whitewater baseball team is ranked 16th in the new Division-Three poll from D3baseball.com. The Warhawks are 3-2, and they dropped six places from a week ago, when they were in the Top-10. UW-La Crosse fell two spots to No. 18. Stevens Point rose three places to 20th. Oshkosh also received votes. Salisbury of Maryland moved into the top spot. Last week’s No. 1, Cortland State, dropped to third.