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WISCONSIN SPORTS ROUND-UP: Collins hopes to return to the NFL

GREEN BAY - Former Green Bay Packers' safety Nick Collins has not played in the NFL for almost three seasons -- but he made it clear the past two days that he's anxious to play again.

 The 30-year-old Collins issued two tweets since yesterday which said he's quote, "ready for action" and "ready to dominate." Collins suffered a serious neck injury after Carolina running back Jonathan Stewart jumped over the defender in Week-Two of the 2011 season. He had cervical fusion surgery and never played after that. The Packers later released him, and the team made him an honorary captain for their January fifth home playoff loss to San Francisco. He said at the time that he's satisfied with his family life, although it's still quite an adjustment from football. Collins said a month ago he has not decided whether to open himself up to the game again -- but he admitted he had no control over that.


Packers' assistant special teams' coach Chad Morton has reportedly been let go. The Green Bay Press-Gazette said the 36-year-old Morton would not be back, after he spent the last four years with the Pack. The Green Bay special teams dropped in the annual rankings from the Dallas Morning News. They were rated 20th for last season, down from 12th the previous year based on 22 statistical categories. The Green Bay Press-Gazette says the Packers will probably fill their staff vacancies in time for the NFL Scouting Combine, which begins on February 19th. They also need to replace quarterbacks' coach Ben McAdoo, who recently became the offensive coordinator for the New York Giants. Also, outside linebackers' coach Kevin Greene said he was taking a break from the NFL to spend more time with his family.


Wisconsin natives received two of the National Hockey League's three top player honors for January. The league named Madison area native Phil Kessel of Toronto as the "Second Star" for both last week and last month. Plover native Joe Pavelski of San Jose was honored as the NHL's "Third Star" for January. Kessel tied for the NHL's scoring lead with 20 points in 15 games last month, leading Toronto to a 9-5-and-1 mark. For the season, Kessel leads the Maple Leafs in goals with 30, total points with 61 and game-winning goals with four. Meanwhile, Pavelski led all NHL skaters with 12 goals last month as he helped San Jose go 9-6. Pavelski, a former Badger, had the game-winning goals in three straight games -- and he had his first-ever hat trick over Tampa Bay. Pavelski is now third in the NHL in season goals with 29, one behind second-place Kessel. Pavelski, Phil Kessel, and his sister Amanda Kessel are all representing Wisconsin and the U.S. in the Winter Olympics which begin this weekend in Sochi Russia. Amanda Kessel gave up her senior season at the University of Minnesota to play hockey at the Sochi Games.


 The Marquette University men's basketball team will open the second half of its Big East Conference regular season tonight at home against Butler. The Golden Eagles are 12-10 overall, and 4-5 in league play. Coach Buzz Williams says there's still a chance his team can make the NCAA Tournament, by going 7-2 the rest of the way. So far, Marquette has not won more than two-in-a-row all season. They've dropped three-of-their-last-five, after falling by 15 points at Saint John's on Saturday. Four Golden Eagles scored in double figures in that game, led by junior guard Derrick Wilson with 14. Butler comes in at 2-7 in the conference and 12-9 overall. One of those victories came on January 18th over Marquette, when the Bulldogs prevailed in overtime at Indianapolis, 69-57. Butler is coming off a seven-point win at Seton Hall last Wednesday night. Khyle Marshall scored 13 in that game.


Milwaukee Bucks' forward Caron Butler is out indefinitely, after he sprained his left ankle in the fourth quarter of last night's home win over New York. The Racine native was scrambling to put up a three-pointer as the shot clock expired, when he landed awkwardly and was helped off the court. Butler had three points and five rebounds against the Knicks before leaving. In 31 games this season, Butler has averaged 11 points, five rebounds, and two assists. Meanwhile, Bucks' forward John Henson is recovering from a sprained right wrist. Coach Larry Drew says he could return to the lineup soon. The same cannot be said for forward Ekpe Udoh, whose return is uncertain with a sprained left ankle. Guard O.J. Mayo returned to the Bucks' bench last night but was in street clothes. He's been out for over a week with reports of flu-like symptoms. Drew said Mayo will need to get in shape again, but it was good to see him back. He had not been with the team since January 25th. The Bucks play at Denver tomorrow night.


 In Division III college basketball, the Wisconsin Lutheran women will try to hang onto first place tonight in the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference. Lutheran is 13-1 in league play, with a game this evening at Marian of Fond du Lac. Lutheran is on a 14-game winning streak. Concordia-Wisconsin is a game back in the standings at 12-and-1. The Falcons from Mequon are at home against Lakeland. Third-place Milwaukee School of Engineering hosts Edgewood. And Alverno travels to Dominican. Also tonight, the Northland College men-and-women will host Saint Scholastica in Ashland. 


Black River Falls native Jack Taylor is being honored again. The Grinnell College guard was named the Midwest Conference men's basketball player-of-the-week, after he scored 27-and-22 points in back-to-back games. Taylor -- who scored 138 points in a game last season -- leads the NCAA Division III in scoring this year with just under 32 points per contest. Heidi Van Sistine of Saint Norbert is the Midwest women's player-of-the-week. Van Sistine, a sophomore center, had career-highs of 24 points and 14 rebounds in a 110-76 Saint Norbert victory over Knox College.


Reggie Hearn of UW-Whitewater and Myranda Tyler of Stevens Point are the WIAC men's and women's basketball players-of-the-week. Hearn, a senior forward, had 25 points and six rebounds in a Whitewater road victory at Platteville. Tyler, a senior post player, averaged 16-and-a-half points and 13 rebounds in the Pointers' wins over Eau Claire and Superior -- and she had a career-high 17 boards against Superior. The WIAC also recognized Tyler Green and Nikki Kothenbeutel, both of Eau Claire, in men's-and-women's hockey -- Patrick Jenkins of Stout and Jaime Ludwigson of La Crosse in indoor track -- Jared Bradfish of Platteville and Bria Halama of La Crosse in indoor field events -- Nazar Kulchytskyy of Oshkosh in wrestling -- and Kari Willett of La Crosse and Krystal Walker of Oshkosh in women's gymnastics.


Justin Ward of Lakeland College is the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference men's basketball player-of-the-week. Ward scored a career-high 35 points with 10 rebounds, to help Lakeland come from behind to beat Concordia-Wisconsin last Wednesday night. Also, Kristen Schulz of Wisconsin Lutheran was named the NACC women's player-of-the-week. The junior center averaged 18-and-a-half points and 13 rebounds in a pair of victories that extended Wisconsin Lutheran's winning streak to 14 games. The league also recognized Jerome Rhodes of Milwaukee School of Engineering in men's indoor track, and Patrick Lagman of Edgewood in men's tennis.


 The University of Wisconsin men's basketball team dropped out of the AP Top-25. The Badgers were ranked third by the media when they were 16-0. But after losing five-of-their-last-six, Bo Ryan's team is now 4-5 in the Big Ten Conference and 17-5 overall. Wisconsin is still hanging on in the USA Today coaches' poll, falling 11 places to No. 24. Wisconsin will play at Illinois tomorrow night. The Fighting Illini have lost seven straight, after starting their Big Ten campaign at 2-0. Syracuse is the new No. 1 in both polls. Arizona dropped to second in the media poll and third in the coaches' poll after losing its first game of the season. Wichita State is now ranked second by the coaches.


Avyanna Young of UW-Milwaukee was named today as the Horizon League co-women's basketball player-of-the-week. Young scored a league season-high of 36 points on Saturday, in Milwaukee's 85-80 home win over Valparaiso. Young shared the weekly honor with Cori Coleman of Cleveland State. Also, Mehryn Kraker of UW-Green Bay is the Horizon freshman-of-the-week. She scored 30 points in a Phoenix victory over Detroit with nine rebounds and two steals.


The University of Wisconsin men's hockey team dropped three places to 12th in the new Division I poll from U.S. College Hockey Online. The Badgers are 14-8-2 overall after beating and tying Michigan over the weekend. Michigan moved up two spots in the new poll to No. 10. Wisconsin will remain home for a series against top-ranked Minnesota on Thursday and Friday nights at the Kohl Center. 


The University of Wisconsin wrestling team has won 12 dual meets for the first time in six years. The 15th-ranked Badgers took advantage of bonus-point victories in the early bouts Sunday to beat No. 21 North Dakota State 23-17 at University of Wisconsin Field House. Scott Liegel scored the biggest upset of the day for Wisconsin, beating 11th-ranked Hayden Zillmer in a 3-2 decision at 174-pounds. The Badgers improved to 12-4 overall. North Dakota State dropped to 7-4.


Concordia-Wisconsin is the pre-season favorite to win its fourth straight men's tennis title in the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference. The Falcons from Mequon are unbeaten in league play over the last three seasons. The Milwaukee School of Engineering is picked to finish second in the pre-season poll of NACC coaches and sports information directors. MSOE also went 8-0 in league play a year ago. Aurora is picked to place third, Edgewood fourth, and Wisconsin Lutheran fifth.



In the NBA...Milwaukee 101, New York 98

 In men's college basketball... Lakeland 78, Edgewood 70Marian 84, Dominican 51 In women's college basketball...UW-Green Bay 70, Valparaiso 42Marian 81, Dominican 65 Wisconsin Boys Basketball...Almond-Bancroft 61, Tigerton 30

Antigo 48, Mosinee 38 

La Crosse Aquinas 63, La Crosse Logan 51 

Ashland 44, Hayward 41 

Augusta 55, Gilman 38 

Barron 68, Baldwin-Woodville 49 

Black Hawk 61, Warren, Illinois 55 

Bonduel 69, Wittenberg-Birnamwood 53 

Brookfield Academy 89, Beaver Dam Wayland Academy 58 

Campbellsport 56, Kiel 47 

Chippewa Falls McDonell 78, Altoona 72 

Clear Lake 56, Lake Holcombe 29 

Madison Edgewood 52, Fort Atkinson 47 

Elkhart Lake/Glenbeulah 61, St. Lawrence Seminary 41 

Fox Valley Lutheran 40, Berlin 20 

Sussex Hamilton 56, Menomonee Falls 27 

Hermantown, Minnesota 89, Superior 80 

Independence 67, New Auburn 51 

Kickapoo 60, Coulee Region Christian 47

Marinette 44, Menominee, Michigan 39 

Marshall 78, Cambridge 58 

Milwaukee Bay View 52, Oak Creek 47 

Neillsville 57, Greenwood 49 

Oconomowoc 53, Watertown 49 

Osseo-Fairchild 74, Stanley-Boyd 53 

Owen-Withee 51, Spencer 50 

Palmyra-Eagle 46, Milwaukee St. Anthony 33 

Port Edwards 50, Wild Rose 43, OT 

Randolph 35, Pardeeville 33 

Rosholt 55, Gresham 53 

Shiocton 58, Amherst 53 

Solon Springs 60, Minong Northwood 54 

Sparta 49, Viroqua 36 

Tomahawk 52, Crandon 36 

Hartland University Lake School 84, Eastbrook Academy 53 

Waukesha North 63, Waukesha West 60 

Wauzeka-Steuben 49, Ithaca 42 

West Bend West 54, Jefferson 50 

Wisconsin Valley Lutheran 60, Weyauwega-Fremont 57

 Girls' high school basketball...Amery 53, Spooner 22  

Amherst 47, Wausau Newman 41 

Arcadia 61, Independence 22 

Barron 51, Rice Lake 36 

Belleville 46, Pecatonica 35 

Belmont 52, Argyle 41 

Benton/Shullsburg 70, Black Hawk 59 

Bloomer 50, Boyceville 49 

Brillion 52, Hilbert 47 

Brookwood 84, De Soto 24 

Cameron 80, Glenwood City 65 

Cashton 53, Melrose-Mindoro 44 

Cedar Grove-Belgium 47, Random Lake 43 

Chippewa Falls McDonell 45, Altoona 30 

Colfax 50, Eau Claire Regis 44 

Cuba City 75, Boscobel 28 

DeForest 68, Columbus 41 

Delavan-Darien 59, Westosha Central 37 

Dodgeville 50, Iowa-Grant 33 

Drummond 53, Washburn 40 

East Troy 53, Walworth Big Foot 43 

Eau Claire Immanuel Lutheran 69, Plum City 49 

Eau Claire Memorial  57, Menomonie 30 

Elk Mound 45, Stanley-Boyd 43 

Franklin 60, Kenosha Bradford 39 

Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau 52, Whitehall 22 

Gibraltar 66, Stockbridge 36 

Gilmanton 46, Alma/Pepin 37 

Goodman/Pembine 54, Crivitz 29 

Milwaukee Heritage Christian 65, Living Word Lutheran 45 

La Farge 45, Wonewoc-Center 44 

Laconia 47, Mayville 42 

Lake Country Lutheran 42, Sheboygan County Christian 33 

Lancaster 52, Darlington 19 

Onalaska Luther 64, Blair-Taylor 44 

Manitowoc Lutheran 55, Menasha St. Mary's 41 

Markesan 38, Waupun 35 

Mauston 48, Lake Mills 42 

McFarland 54, Jefferson 42 

Mellen 58, Solon Springs 49 

Mineral Point 62, Southwestern 32 

Monroe 46, Fort Atkinson 41, 3OT 

New Berlin Eisenhower 62, Cudahy 32 

North Fond du Lac 67, Weyauwega-Fremont 63 

Port Edwards 55, Gresham 17 

Prairie du Chien 32, River Ridge 27 

Prentice 65, Three Lakes 49 

Prescott 54, Elmwood 17

Racine William Horlick 49, Milwaukee Pulaski 42 

Rhinelander 45, Tomahawk 29 

Sauk Prairie 55, Portage 44 

Sevastopol 35, Marinette St. Thomas Aquinas 31 

Shiocton 54, Stevens Point Pacelli 15 

Somers Shoreland Lutheran 66, Wilmot 60 

South Shore 63, Bayfield 23 

Spring Valley 51, Clear Lake 22 

Superior 74, Esko, Minnesota 54 

Suring 56, White Lake 12 

Thorp 52, Cadott 44 

Turtle Lake 56, Bruce 37 

Valders 39, Howards Grove 32 

Waukesha North 49, Waukesha West 47 

Beaver Dam Wayland Academy 62, Dodgeland 46 

Westby 47, Royall 28 

Westfield 44, Pardeeville 32 

Weston 39, New Lisbon 34 

Wisconsin Heights 60, Ithaca 40 

Wittenberg-Birnamwood 38, Antigo 37