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WISCONSIN SPORTS ROUND-UP: Kohl looking for partners in new Bucks' ownership group

MILWAUKEE - Milwaukee Bucks' owner Herb Kohl said today he's looking for new ownership partners who are committed to keeping the NBA team in Wisconsin.  

Kohl tells the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel he has retained Steven Greenberg, the managing director of Allen-and-Company of New York, to advise him on suitable partners.  He expected to talk more about the matter at a news conference this afternoon.  The 78-year-old Kohl bought the Bucks in 1985, to keep them from moving to Minnesota before the Twin Cities got the expansion Timberwolves.  Kohl said he's looking for as broad of a group as he can possibly find, and they don't have to be from Wisconsin.  However, Kohl said anyone brought into the ownership must commit fully to keeping the Bucks in Milwaukee.  The current owner said he does not know how the process will unfold -- but he knows that additional owners will add quote, "more strength, more stability, more certainty."  Kohl said he does not have a targeted number of partners in mind.  He also said investors must commit to building a new arena for the Bucks and Milwaukee's other indoor sports and concerts.  A task force is currently looking into the arena issue.  The Bucks have one NBA championship to their name, that being in 1971.  They have not made it past the first round of the playoffs in 13 seasons.  


The Milwaukee Bucks have the worst record in the NBA -- and they're on pace to have the worst record in their nearly 45-year history.  With almost 30-percent of their season down, the Bucks are 5-19.  That would put them on a pace to go 18-64, with two fewer victories than the Bucks' all-time low of 20-62 exactly 20 seasons ago under coach Mike Dunleavy Sr.  Even if the Bucks do finish with the league's worst record, it's no guarantee they'll get the No. 1 draft pick next June, due to the uncertainty of the lottery's ping-pong ball system.  If there's a silver lining, second-year forward John Henson says it's that young players like him are getting some valuable NBA experience.  19-year-old Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Bucks' top draft choice, was expected to pay his dues on the end of the bench.  Instead, he's part of coach Larry Drew's rotation, as the Bucks continue to deal with a major bout of injuries to their veterans.  He had 13 points, nine rebounds, and four assists in Milwaukee's loss at Dallas on Saturday night.  The Bucks' next game is at home on Wednesday night against the New York Knicks.


The Green Bay Packers remain in the playoff race -- but they still need help to make the post-season.  The Detroit Lions control their own destiny in the NFC North Division.  If the Lions win their final three games, they'll win the NFC North.  If that happens, the Packers would most likely watch the playoffs on TV, even if they sweep their final two games against Pittsburgh on Sunday and at Chicago on December 29th.  The Lions host Baltimore tonight.  They're 7-6, percentage points ahead of the Packers at 7-6-1.  Both are a half-game behind Chicago, which beat Cleveland yesterday to improve to 8-6.  After tonight, the Lions host the New York Giants, and then close out the regular season at Minnesota.  The Packers have won two straight without quarterback Aaron Rodgers.  Matt Flynn helped engineer comebacks the past two weeks in victories over Atlanta and Dallas.  Green Bay is 2-4-1 without Rodgers, who broke his left collarbone six weeks ago tonight.


Dallas Cowboys' owner Jerry Jones calls his team's 37-36 home loss to Green Bay one of the quote, "hardest losses that I've ever experienced."  It put Jones on the defensive over the future of his head coach, after Jason Garrett was given a vote of confidence a week ago when the Chicago Bears blew out the Cowboys 45-28.  Yesterday, the Packers came back from 23 points down at halftime to win.  Pundits almost immediately began criticizing the Cowboys for not running the ball much in the fourth quarter, keeping the Packer offense off the field and not giving them a chance to come back.  Instead, Dallas quarterback Tony Romo threw interceptions in his final two possessions -- Green Bay scored five touchdowns in the second half -- and the Packer defense had enough stops to stay in the playoff hunt at 7-6-1.  Three years ago, Garrett was promoted after the Cowboys got crushed at Green Bay 45-7 on a Sunday night, and coach Wade Phillips got the ax the next day.  Yesterday, Jones said it would be a "bad mistake" to jump to conclusions about Garrett's future so soon after such a bitter defeat.  Cowboys' receiver Dez Bryant walked off the field with 1:22 left, after Tramon Williams intercepted Romo's final pass.  Bryant refused comment after the game but he tweeted quote, "I was emotional -- It had nothing to do with my teammates -- We fought and didn't finish."


Former Milwaukee Brewers' closer John Axford is about to join his third team in five months.  He has agreed to a new contract with the Cleveland Indians, pending the results of a physical.  If everything checks out, the 30-year-old Axford will become the Indians' closer next spring.  He'll replace Chris Perez, who was let go at the end of October.  Axford had 46 saves for the Brewers in 2011, and he was the winning pitcher in the game that decided Milwaukee's first playoff series clincher since 1982.  However, he has struggled the past two seasons.  Axford lost his closer's role with Milwaukee early this past season, and was traded to Saint Louis in August.  He blew a half-dozen save opportunities with the Crew in 2013 before moving on to the Redbirds, where Axford had a 1.74 ERA in 13 games.


The University of Wisconsin men's basketball team remains at No. 4 in the AP media poll this week, after having its best start in school history at 12-0.  The Badgers had wins last week over UW-Milwaukee and Eastern Kentucky.  The Top-10 teams are all unchanged from a week ago with Arizona, Syracuse, and Ohio State first-second-and-third.  Wisconsin remains at No. 6 in the USA Today coaches' poll.  Arizona is also No. 1 in that survey.  Ohio State and Syracuse are tied for second, followed by Louisville, Michigan State, and then the Badgers.  The Marquette men did not get any votes in either poll.  The Golden Eagles will host Ball State tomorrow night.  Wisconsin does not play again until December 28th, when it hosts Prairie View A&M.\


The University of Wisconsin men's hockey team moved up one place to 14th in a new poll released today by U.S. College Hockey Online.  The Badgers are 8-5-1 overall, after sweeping two games from former WCHA opponent Colorado College over the weekend, 4-1 and 4-3 in overtime.  Coach Mike Eaves' Badgers are now on a break for final exams and Christmas.  Their next games are December 27th-and-28th at home against Alabama-Huntsville.  Minnesota moved back into the top spot in the Division I men's poll. Last week's leader, Saint Cloud State, dropped to fourth after the Huskies were beaten by Union at home 4-1 Friday and then tied the Dutchmen 3-3 on Saturday.


UW-Green Bay guard Tesha Buck was named today as the Horizon League women's basketball freshman-of-the-week.  Buck was chosen for the third time this season, after she scored a season-high 17 points in a Green Bay home loss to Wichita State yesterday.  She's the only Horizon League freshman to average in double figures with 10-point-three points a game.  Buck also leads the conference with a two-point-eight-five assist to turnover ratio.  Guard Tay'ler Minto of Wright State was named the Horizon women's player-of-the-week.

________________________________ Wisconsin's Division I college basketball teams all have the night off.  In Division III, Lawrence University of Appleton hosts Illinois College in a men's-and-women's double-header in the Midwest Conference.  In men's play, eighth-ranked UW-Whitewater hosts Alma of Michigan.  And Knox College is at the Milwaukee School of Engineering.  The Alverno College women will play at Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference game at nearby Concordia of Mequon.  UW-Oshkosh hosts Saint Norbert.  Mount Mary is at Silver Lake.  And Lakeland plays at Maranatha Baptist, which is an independent this year after leaving the NACC.