T.J. Watt drafted 30th to Steelers, Ryan Ramczyk 32nd to Saints

PHILADELPHIA — Former Wisconsin offensive tackle Ryan Ramczyk waited longer than he thought, but was drafted 32nd overall by the New Orleans Saints to wrap up round one of the 2017 NFL Draft. Fellow Badger T.J. Watt went two picks earlier to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

An all-state selection as a high schooler in Stevens Point, Wis., Ramczyk passed up a scholarship offer from Paul Chryst when he was coaching at Pitt so that he could attend a local technical college. He was offered a chance to play for Division III Wisconsin | Stevens Point where he was a two-time all-conference selection.

Ramczyk made the jump to the Division I level at Wisconsin, sitting out the 2015 season due to transfer rules, before making his impact felt in his 2016 campaign. He earned Associated Press All-American honors while starting every game for the Badgers.

Report: Zaire hasn’t ruled out transfer to Wisconsin

NOTRE DAME, Ind. — According to a report from Tuesday, Notre Dame quarterback Malik Zaire is set to announce the school to which he’ll transfer — a list that still includes Wisconsin.

Zaire will complete his undergraduate degree this spring, with graduation set for May 19-21. His preferred schools include Florida, Texas, and Wisconsin, recently adding Harvard to the mix as well. The report states that Zaire has set a deadline of two weeks to make his decision.

“He just doesn’t want to get messed over so he is going to be very, very careful, understanding that’s nothing is fully for sure but fairness,” the unnamed source said.

Whether Wisconsin would accept Zaire into the program remains to be seen, but the Badgers appear ready to roll with Alex Hornibrook, Karé Lyles, and Jack Coan for the time being. Any decision by Zaire to transfer to Wisconsin would be interesting, given reports from back in December that he was already leaning that way.

Ex-Badger Jordan Hill transferring to Seattle

SEATTLE — Former University of Wisconsin guard Jordan Hill has finalized plans to transfer to Seattle University, a Jesuit Catholic College in the Western Athletic Conference.

Hill announced on Apr. 12 that he would be leaving the Badgers upon completing his degree this spring, enrolling elsewhere as a graduate transfer. While no specific reason was listed, it can be assumed playing time was a factor in his decision. While he averaged 15.6 minutes per game under the interim year of coach Greg Gard, his 2016-17 campaign saw that playing time decrease to 10.2 minutes per game.

Hill will be the eldest guard on the Redhawks roster, with redshirt seniors Manroop Clair and Brendan Westendorf playing out their final years of eligibility this past season.

Clay Matthews wants T.J. Watt in a Packers uniform

GREEN BAY | It’s not often NFL veterans mention specific players they want their teams to draft. But Clay Matthews doesn’t mind letting everyone know that he wants to see former Wisconsin Badger T.J. Watt in a Packers uniform this season.

“I know mock draft boards have him potentially coming here which would be great!” said Matthews on Tuesday afternoon inside Lambeau Field.

The Packers started their offseason workout program in Green Bay on Tuesday. Matthews, who is beginning his 9th NFL season all with the Packers, said “it would be great if (T.J.) is even half the player his brother was.”  Matthews referring to NFL star and former Badger J.J. Watt.

Matthews knows a little something about following in the footsteps of former NFL greats. His father, Clay Matthews Jr., was a four-time Pro Bowler with the Cleveland Browns. Matthews admits it will be tough for T.J. to follow in his brother’s footsteps. “I’m sure there’s pressure on him but if he’s anything like his brother he’ll have a drive and work ethic that can’t be matched.”

The NFL Draft begins on Thursday April 27, 2017 in Philadelphia. Matthews was drafted in round one of the 2009 Draft by the Packers with the 26th overall pick. He says his mom didn’t know he was a Packer until an hour or so after he was selected. “My mom actually thought it was the Patriots who drafted me so for about an hour and a half she thought I was going to New England,” said Matthews. “She was disappointed to find out I was going to Green Bay. But I think she’s come around.”

New England originally had the 26th overall pick in 2009. The Packers made a trade with the Patriots to acquire Matthews.

 

Former Wisconsin RB Dare Ogunbowale Joins The Joe & Ebo Show

MADISON | It’s an exciting time for a handful of Wisconsin Football players as the NFL Draft nears.

Eyeing up a professional career and possibly being drafted in just a few weeks, former Badgers running back, Dare Ogunbowale, joined the Joe & Ebo Show to talk about his future in the NFL.

Take a listen below:

Best of luck, Dare!

Catch the Joe & Ebo Show weekdays from 8a-11a on 106.7FM/1670AM The Zone.

UW assistant Lamont Paris leaves for head coaching job at Chattanooga

MADISON, Wis. — Fresh off its second straight loss in the Sweet 16, the Wisconsin men’s basketball team will be losing a key piece to its program. Assistant coach Lamont Paris is leaving the Badgers to take over as the head coach at Chattanooga.

Reports indicate Paris’ deal with the Mocs is for six years. He replaces the departed Matt McCall. The Mocs finished fifth in the Southern Conference, finishing the 2016-17 campaign with a 19-12 record.

Paris spent the last seven seasons at Wisconsin, where he witnessed two Final Four appearances in 2014 and 2015. Prior to that, Paris had spent six years with the Akron program.

No. 1 Badgers finish season as NCAA runners-up

ST. CHARLES, Mo. — Despite outshooting Clarkson 41-20, the No. 1 Wisconsin women’s hockey team fell to the No. 2 Golden Knights, 3-0, in the NCAA championship game on Sunday at The Family Arena.

The Badgers (33-4-4) dominated possession, but Clarkson (32-4-5) tallied a power-play goal in the second period before scoring twice in the third.

“As I told the team, we are disappointed with the outcome,” UW head coach Mark Johnson said. “But the kids played hard, played well, they created opportunities. I’m very proud of their effort, especially our senior class who for four years have done so much to help our program grow and have obviously won a lot of hockey games and created a lot of great memories for our team. It’s a tough pill to swallow. When you lose this game, you’re so close to the end. But I told them too as time goes on and you reflect on the season, it’s a special group, a special season and they are going to have some great memories to reflect on, so I’m certainly proud of that.”

“I think hockey has a funny way of humbling you,” said junior Annie Pankowski, who was named to the all-tournament team. “When you think you’re doing well and you have all the things going the right way, it reminds you that not everything is perfect. I’m really proud of this group and we laid it out there. You can’t ask for much more.”

Clarkson opened up scoring in the second period with a power-play goal from Savannah Harmon 27 seconds into the frame.

CU’s Cayley Mercer doubled the CU lead with less than three minutes remaining before scoring an empty-net goal with 44 seconds to go.

Senior goaltender and 2017 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award winner Ann-Renée Desbiens made 17 saves in the contest to complete her historic season. Desbiens finished the season leading the NCAA in goals-against average (0.71), save percentage (.963), win percentage (.886) and shutouts (17).

Desbiens departs Wisconsin as the NCAA career record holder for shutouts with 55, a 0.90 goals-against average and save percentage with a .955 clip.

Sunday’s game marked the end of a remarkable season for the Badgers, as UW captured the WCHA regular season and tournament titles while advancing to the NCAA title game for the first time since the 2011-12 season.

“It was a great way to go out, but unfortunately when you don’t win your last game it’s a little bit of a disappointment,” senior captain Sydney McKibbon said. “This is going to sting definitely for a while, being so close, and I thought we played a great game, but it’s definitely going to take a while to process. The group played well today, we had a great group all year and so thanks to them.

(uwbadgers.com)

2OT loss to Penn State ends Wisconsin’s storybook season

DETROIT – The 2016-17 Wisconsin men’s hockey team was within one goal of a Big Ten tournament title and an NCAA bid, but despite outshooting Penn State 52-35 over more than four periods of play, the Badgers fell, 2-1, to the Nittany Lions on Saturday at Joe Louis Arena.

The game ends a season that saw Wisconsin (20-15-1) reach 20 wins and runner-up finishes in the Big Ten regular season and tournament after combining for 12 victories the prior two years.

“We took a great jump,” sophomore captain Luke Kunin said. “We put Wisconsin hockey back on the map where it should be. We even feel like it should be higher than we are right now. I think it was a great turn in the right direction for our program.”

Liam Folkes scored both goals for Penn State (24-11-2), including the winner on a breakaway 6:43 into double overtime to end the night.

Folkes gave PSU a lead at 15:37 of the first period, shortly after an expiring power play, to make it 1-0.

Even play through the first two periods gave way to Badger dominance for the third period as they looked to tie. The Badgers held an 18-5 shot advantage in the third period, and got the equalizer when Matt Ustaski poked home a rebound for a power-play goal at 11:45.

The game stayed scoreless the rest of regulation.

Wisconsin earned the lone power play of the overtimes, but failed to convert. Among the chances in the overtimes for the Badgers were a Trent Frederic crossbar, a pair of Matthew Freytag one-timers and a Malone back-door play, among others.

“Our guys played their hearts out. We had lots of chances, we made good shots on too, but they couldn’t find their way in,” head coach Tony Granato said. “Some games you battle and play like crazy and get great chances and they don’t go in.”

However, it was Folkes with the lone breakaway of the overtimes, and he found the net for the winner.

Freshman goaltender Jack Berry made 33 saves in the loss, while PSU’s Peyton Jones stopped 51 of 52 Badgers’ shots.

(uwbadgers.com)

Wisconsin overcomes fouls, turnovers to knock off defending champion Villanova

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Ethan Happ and Bronson Koenig played much of the second half with four fouls apiece, but Wisconsin’s defense held to knock off top-seeded Villanova 65-62 Saturday afternoon.

It’s the fourth time in seven years the Wildcats have lost in the round of 32 while being seeded No. 1 or No. 2. Previous early exits came in 2015 (No. 1 seed), 2014 (No. 2 seed), and 2010 (No. 2 seed).

The Badgers turned the ball over 14 times. but shot 53.1 percent from the field as part of a complete effort against a Wildcat team that struggled from the field early on. They converted on just 30 percent of their shots in the first half. Wisconsin had double-digit efforts from four players in the win, led by Nigel Hayes’ 19 points and eight rebounds.

A problem for much of the regular season, Wisconsin struggled at the free throw line against Villanova (6-of-18, 43.8 percent), but they’ve now reached the Sweet 16 for the fourth consecutive year. Wisconsin faces the winner between (5)Virginia and (4)Florida.

 

Wisconsin beats Ohio State, advances to B1G Tournament finale

DETROIT—Headed into the Big Ten tournament, the Wisconsin men’s hockey team knew what they had to do in order to make the NCAA tournament and that was to win the championship. The first step was accomplished on Friday afternoon at Joe Louis Arena.

The No. 2-seeded Badgers (20-14-1) took down third-seeded Ohio State Buckeyes (21-11-6) in a tightly-contested game by a score of 2-1, advancing UW into the championship game on Saturday night.

“I think today’s game is what you want to see in college hockey,” head coach Tony Granato said. “I think every inch of ice was battled for and it was two teams that understood what was available to them. I thought our guys played one of their most solid games of the year.”

The first period was evenly played, with Wisconsin having a slight 7-6 shot advantage. Luke Kunin opened the scoring 17 minutes into the frame after collecting a rebound in front of the goal and firing it passed OSU goaltender Matt Tomkins. The captain’s 22nd goal of the year was assisted by JD Greenway and Tim Davison.

Thanks to the goal, the Badgers held a one-goal lead heading into the first intermission. Jack Berry, who made several key saves in the beginning of the period, finished with six stops in the stanza.

“When Matt (Jurusik) went down and Jack (Berry) had to step in the first time, I think that’s when we realized he was an amazing goalie and he’s been stepping it up ever since,” Will Johnson said.

The Cardinal and White looked to build a lead in the second period, but Ohio State’s top-ranked power play capitalized on a Ryan Wagner tripping penalty on Dakota Joshua’s 12th goal of the year to tie the game at 1-1 with 6:12 remaining in the middle frame.

Despite giving up a goal, the Badgers limited Ohio State to just 13 shots through the first two periods while holding a 22-13 shot advantage in that time period.

With UW’s season on the line heading into the third period, Johnson netted his 10th goal of the year just 1:30 into the final period of regulation to put the Badgers up 2-1, a lead they would not relinquish. The sophomore forward slotted the puck into an empty net following a great pass from Seamus Malone. Senior Aidan Cavallini also added his sixth assist of the season on the game-winning goal.

“It all started with him (Malone) winning the face-off and we were able to get the puck out of the defensive zone,” Johnson said. “That first move he made around the defenseman was unbelievable and him getting the puck over to me, I just had to tap the puck in.”

The Buckeyes continued to push for a tying goal but a five-minute major and game misconduct assessed to defenseman Josh Healey with 2:28 remaining in the game gave the Badgers a five-minute power play. UW was able to pass around the puck for most of the extended power play and saw out the rest of the game without any threat towards their net.

Berry finished with 23 saves on 24 shots in the game.

With the win, Wisconsin improved to 16-1-1 when scoring first.

“At the beginning of the week, we just talked about sticking to the game plan and wearing the other team out,” Kunin said. “We were able to do that for all three periods and everyone bought in to what we had to do in order to be successful tonight.”

(uwbadgers.com)