Wisconsin remains inside the AP Top 25 despite a pair of losses

MADISON — Despite a pair of losses over the last week, the Wisconsin basketball team was still inside the Associated Press Top 25 poll when it was released Monday.

The Badgers, losers of four of their last five games, dropped six spots to No. 22, their lowest ranking of the season, and a dramatic shift from the poll just three weeks ago, when they were No. 7. Since then, though, they’ve lost to Northwestern, Michigan, Ohio State and Michigan State, with their only win coming against another team, Maryland, on the skids.

Wisconsin is at home for the final two games of the Big Ten season, with the first game on Thursday against Iowa.

The only other Big Ten team in the AP poll is Purdue, who checks in at No. 16, down two spots from last week after needing overtime to beat Penn State and losing at Michigan.

Purdue leads Wisconsin in the Big Ten standings by one game, and Michigan State, Maryland and Minnesota by two games. The Boilermakers finish out the regular season with a game against Indiana at home and a trip to take on Northwestern.

Click here for the full poll.

Wisconsin completes sweep of Michigan State in OT

EAST LANSING, Mich.— For the second Saturday in a row, the Wisconsin men’s hockey team defeated their opponent in overtime after giving up a lead late in the third period.

Finishing off an emotional weekend with the passing of legendary Wisconsin head coach Jeff Sauer, defenseman Jake Linhart ended the game 1:34 into overtime as the Badgers (15-8-1, 8-2-0-0 Big Ten) knocked off Michigan State (5-17-2, 1-8-1-0) by a count of 4-3 on Saturday night at Munn Ice Arena.

“They came out and wanted to get their season going by beating us tonight,” head coach Tony Granato said. “Fortunately, Matty (Jurusik) was real good early. That was a big part of the game and obviously when we got to overtime, we made a great play.”

UW led the game 3-2 late in the third period when Michigan State pulled its goaltender with 1:20 to go. MSU scored just 13 seconds later on a Brennan Sanford goal to make it 3-3 and force the game into sudden-death overtime.

“I think just the way we play now, our systems allow us to do that,” Linhart said. “We aren’t always going to have the best games but when we stick to our plan, support each other, we’re gonna come out with the W’s a lot.”

The Spartans dominated the first minute of overtime, peppering Matt Jurusik with shots but the sophomore goalie held strong in between the pipes before Linhart scored his third goal of the year from the slot on a nice feed from Seamus Malone.

The game went back and forth with the Badgers striking first in the late stages of the first period. Luke Kunin scored a short-handed goal with 1:51 left in the opening frame to make it 1-0 Badgers. Trent Frederic earned his 13th assist of the year on the captain’s 17th tally.

Jurusik made 16 saves in the stanza to ensure Wisconsin had a one-goal lead heading into the first intermission.

In the second period, which has been the Badgers’ strongest period offensively this season, Michigan State scored twice to give themselves a 2-1 lead heading into the third. Rhett Holland scored for MSU on a scramble in front of Jurusik which then sparked a fight that saw JD Greenway get a five-minute major for fighting and a game disqaulification. Greenway will miss the series opener next weekend against Penn State.

“We battled. I think that’s the fourth time in a row against Michigan State that we’ve gone down to five defensemen,” Linhart said. “It’s pretty tough when it happens that early, every time has been in the first or second period but we battled through it. I’m pretty tired right now, I think everyone is, so we’ll take the day off tomorrow and get ready for this week.”

Joe Cox then scored his fifth of the season 15:51 into the middle frame to give Michigan State their first lead of the series.

The final period turned out to be the Cardinal and White’s most effective, as Frederic squeaked in his 10th goal of his freshman campaign to tie the game at 2-2. Cameron Hughes and Cullen Hurley earned helpers on the play.

“He made some big plays for us this weekend. He’s heck of a player for an 18-year-old kid,” Granato said of Frederic.

UW then took a 3-2 lead on Cameron Hughes’ sixth goal of the year. The junior forward deflected a Corbin McGuire shot past MSU goaltender John Lethemon to put Wisconsin up with 9:55 to play in regulation. Hughes’ points extended his point streak to eight games.

“I think that segment in the third period was maybe our best hockey of the weekend,” Granato said. “We got the lead and then I thought we played really well despite the one mistake at the end.”

Jurusik ended up with 28 saves on 31 shots in the game to give him his eighth win of the year and fourth straight since returning from injury at the beginning of January.

The overtime victory gives UW its first five-game win streak since the 2013-14 season when the Badgers strung together a handful of victories from Feb. 15-March 8.

The sweep over the Spartans also capped off a season sweep of MSU, the first time Wisconsin has accomplished a season sweep since the formation of the Big Ten conference during the 2013-14 season. It also marked UW’s first sweep at Michigan State since December of 1977, though this was just the sixth series at Munn Ice Arena between the two schools since.

The comeback triumph was also the Badgers’ first win in 51 tries when trailing heading into the third period.

Conference play is now officially halfway done and UW still sits atop the standings tied with Minnesota after 10 games. The two teams share an identical 8-2-0-0 record in Big Ten matchups and sit eight points clear of third-place Penn State, who head to the Kohl Center next weekend.

“They throw a lot of pucks at the net,” Linhart said. “We’re going to have to be strong defensively, get it in our forwards hands and play offense as much as we can.”

(uwbadgers.com)

Wisconsin tops Michigan State 6-3

EAST LANSING, Mich.—Following their sweep over No. 8 Ohio State last weekend and the team’s first USCHO ranking in over two years, the Wisconsin men’s hockey team continued their momentum in East Lansing on Friday.

The 18th-ranked Badgers (14-8-1, 7-2-0-0 Big Ten) defeated Michigan State (5-16-2, 1-7-1-0) by a score of 6-3 after scoring five goals in the first two periods at Munn Ice Arena.

“I think they should feel good about themselves,” head coach Tony Granato said. “We did a lot of things, they scored five goals and we made plays when we had to. I felt the first two periods we played really solid defensively.”

The five-goal output came in just 30:02 of game-time, which was the fastest UW has reached five goals since Oct. 29, 2011, when the Badgers reached the mark in 23:03 against Omaha.

Trent Frederic began the scoring outburst just 5:28 into the first period after netting a wrist-shot from the slot off a pass from Jake Linhart. The freshman’s eighth goal of the season was also assisted by Max Zimmer.

Luke Kunin would double the Badgers’ lead 3:27 later after making a strong move to the net and slipping it past MSU goaltender Ed Minney. The captain’s 16th goal of the year was supported by Frederic and Ryan Wagner.

UW finished off a strong opening frame after Taro Hirose took a five-minute major for kneeing, which also earned him a game misconduct penalty after going knee-to-knee with Tim Davison. Davison was forced to leave the game and would not return. Will Johnson capitalized on the five-minute man-advantage with a power-play goal to make it 3-0, a lead Wisconsin would take into the first intermission.

“One thing you can say about our team is that it doesn’t matter what the score is, they’ll slide in front of one and take a big shot,” Granato said. “That’s one thing we’ve been focused on. We don’t like it when people score against us and that’s been really solid for us all year.”

MSU switched goalies after the first period, turning to John Lethemon in relief.

The Cardinal and White picked up where they had left off to start the second period as Aidan Cavallini scored his second goal in as many games to extend the lead to four. The senior picked up a loose puck in front of the MSU net and calmly fired it past Lethemon for his third goal of the season.

The Spartans had an immediate answer, however, as they scored just 50 seconds later to cut the UW lead to 4-1 with 13 minutes to play in the middle period.

As was the case for most of the game, the Badgers had a response to the Michigan State tally when Ryan Wagner scored his sixth goal of the season to restore the four-goal lead. The junior’s goal was assisted on a nice feed from behind the net from Cameron Hughes with Peter Tischke getting the secondary assist.

Wisconsin carried the 5-1 lead into the second intermission as Jack Berry stopped 7-out-of-8 shots in the period.

MSU made the game interesting in the third period, scoring two goals in 2:45 to cut the Badgers’ lead to 5-3 with just over seven minutes to go in regulation.

Despite the offensive push from the Spartans, UW shut the door for the rest of the game and sealed their 6-3 victory on a Trent Frederic empty-net goal. Grant Besse earned his 15th assist of the year on the play.

“They played hard,” Granato said. “They kept coming and got themselves back in the game for sure. But we did what we needed to do in the beginning of the game.”

Jack Berry made 20 saves on 23 shots he faced to give him his seventh win of his freshman campaign.

(uwbadgers.com)

Wisconsin downs Michigan State 5-1 without Luke Kunin

MADISON, Wis. — Coming off of a break that spanned nearly a month with the determination to start the year on the right foot, Wisconsin secured its first win of 2017 with a 5-1 victory over Michigan State at the Kohl Center on Friday.

“I thought we were good,” UW head coach Tony Granato said. “I thought after the 26-day break we were all nervous as coaches because you never know. I thought we were a little sloppy at times and a little bit rusty trying to get into the game, but fortunately we were able to get a couple goals.”

With Wisconsin (9-7-1, 2-1-0-0) sophomore captain Luke Kunin taking a rest after captaining Team USA to the gold medal at the 2017 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship, the rest of the Badgers stepped up for a balanced team effort as five different players tallied a goal.

“I think without Luke (Kunin) we changed the lines a little bit,” Granato said. “We created some offense, as always we made some nice plays in the offensive zone that were big plays to get us some nice goals.”

The Badgers quickly put a 2-0 lead on the board, as junior forward Jason Ford picked up his third goal of the season just 2:21 into play. Sliding through the slot, Ford fired a loose puck past Michigan State (4-12-1, 0-3-0-0) goaltender Ed Minney to give UW the 1-0 advantage.

Exactly four minutes later, junior forward Cameron Hughes split the Spartan defense and sent a rocket in under Minney’s pad to secure the 2-0 lead.

Michigan State would respond a minute later, when Villiam Haag snuck a shot off the post and in to cut the Wisconsin lead to 2-1.

Will Johnson would help Wisconsin regain a two-goal lead early in the second frame, picking up his sixth goal of the season during a Badger power play. With a 5-on-3 advantage, the sophomore forward found space in front of the Spartan crease and fired a wrister past a diving Minney.

“When it is a 5-on-3, it’s not the end of the world if the eight seconds go up,” sophomore Seamus Malone said of his pass to Johnson late on the advantage. “You need to look for that right opportunity. Will (Johnson) got open and I saw him, so I just gave him the puck right away. He did a good job so it made it pretty easy on my part.”

Defenseman Jake Linhart would add a goal of his own in the period, striking on the penalty kill for the junior’s first career short-handed goal. Linhart crashed in on a loose puck sitting in the slot, beating the MSU defensemen and sending a backhand shot past Minney.

“I saw we had a little bit of an odd man rush,” Linhart said. “I jumped in the play and (Trent Frederic) threw it to the net and luckily it popped out to me. It was kind of a flukey goal, but I’ll take it.”

Rookie forward Max Zimmer notched the final goal of the game for Wisconsin at the 10:52 mark of the third period, finishing off a textbook play set up by senior Grant Besse and Malone. Malone skated deep into the Spartan zone, then dished the puck to the slot for Zimmer’s one-timer into the wide open net.

“I think that line has been good for us,” Granato said of Zimmer, Malone and Besse. “I think Max (Zimmer) is going to continue to gain confidence playing with those guys. I thought his jump in practice this week, he just looks like he’s a confident player now.”

Wisconsin outshot Michigan State 36-26 in the game with freshman goalie Jack Berry collecting 25 saves in the win.

The defeat of Michigan State marks Wisconsin’s 199th win at the Kohl Center, where the team began playing its games in 1998.

“I think we have a lot more to bring tomorrow,” Frederic said. “I don’t know if that was our best, obviously we haven’t played in a long time. We have a lot more to bring. They hit a lot of posts so it could’ve been a close game. The bounces went our way, but I think tomorrow we have to come out a little bit better.”

(uwbadgers.com)

Wisconsin falls to No. 11 in AP poll

MADISON, Wis. — A 14-7 loss to the Michigan Wolverines drops the Wisconsin Badger football team from No. 8 to No. 11 in the newest Associated Press poll released Sunday afternoon.

After not appearing on the AP poll to begin the season, Wisconsin quickly shot up the boards following a 16-14 win over LSU to open the season at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis.

A big win over then eighth-ranked Michigan State put the Badgers in the No. 8 spot before Saturday’s only loss of the season. Michigan remains No. 4 after this weekend’s contest, while Michigan State’s surprise 24-21 loss to Indiana knocked them off the Top 25 completely.

The AP Top 25 for week six is below:

1. Alabama | 53 first-place votes

2. Ohio State | 6 first-place votes

3. Clemson | 1 first-place votes

4. Michigan | 1 first-place vote

5. Washington

6. Houston

7. Louisville

8. Texas A&M

9. Tennessee

10. Miami

11. Wisconsin

12. Nebraska

13. Baylor

14. Ole Miss

15. Stanford

16. Arkansas

17. North Carolina

18. Florida

19. Boise State

20. Oklahoma

21. Colorado

22. West Virginia

23. Florida State

24. Utah

25. Virginia Tech

Wisconsin upsets Michigan State at Spartan Stadium

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Wisconsin’s defense recorded four takeaways and Alex Hornibrook threw for 195 yards and a touchdown in a 30-6 win over Michigan State Saturday afternoon.

Hornibrook replaced incumbent Bart Houston this week following a narrow win over Georgia State. He went 16-of-26 in his first career start, with his lone interception coming just before halftime as the redshirt freshman heaved the ball towards the end zone to try and extend a lead.

Paul Chryst was very pleased with his freshmen quarterback:

Running back Corey Clement (ankle) was healthy enough to play, but he was held to just 54 yards on 23 carries, though he did find the end zone twice.

Clement was also very pleased with the performance of Hornibrook:

The Spartans didn’t have an answer for Justin Wilcox’s defense, led by D’Cota Dixon’s seven tackles. He added a sack, forced fumble, and tackle for loss. T.J. Watt had 2 ½ sacks.

It’s the first time Wisconsin has knocked off two AP Top-10 teams in the same regular season since 1962.

 

UW’s Clement will start vs Michigan State

EAST LANSING, Mich. — After being limited for much of the week in practice, Wisconsin running back Corey Clement will start Saturday when they begin Big Ten play against Michigan State.

Clement tweaked his left ankle late in the first half against Akron back on Sept. 10 and missed the following week’s game against Georgia State because of the injury. By resting his ankle, he had hoped to be ready to go against the Spartans, but it wasn’t announced until early Saturday morning that he’d be able to start. Wisconsin’s injuries in the backfield this week have already claimed Bradrick Shaw (shoulder | OUT) and Taiwan Deal (ankle | QUESTIONABLE).

Clement’s status was perhaps one secret the Badgers were able to keep as word slipped out on Tuesday that redshirt freshman Alex Hornibrook would be the starting quarterback.

Badgers on Hornibrook: “He’ll start this week”

MADISON, Wis. — While there’s been no press release, it appears Alex Hornibrook will be the starting quarterback against Michigan State after Matt Lepay, Mike Lucas, and Chris Hall discussed the matchup via Facebook.

All three are University of Wisconsin Athletics employees, and Hall began the video by saying “there will be a change after we saw what happened last week in the third quarter…He’s going to start this week.”

Hall was referring to the quarterback swap after halftime in the 23-17 win over Georgia State in which Hornibrook replaced Bart Houston and went 8-of-12 for 122 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. Hornibrook’s poise helped lead a comeback touchdown drive in the fourth quarter and ultimately the win.

The video confirmed what Hornibrook seemed to leak to the media after Tuesday’s practice in regards to reports he’d be the starter. Hornibrook also revealed he’d taken more first-team reps in practice than normal.

During Monday’s weekly press conference, head coach Paul Chryst dodged a question about Houston’s status, responding with the notion that both quarterbacks will be ready to play and both would be needed against Michigan State. That will be an 11 a.m. CT kickoff from East Lansing, Mich.

UW drops two spots in AP poll to No. 11

MADISON, Wis. — After surviving  unranked Georgia State Saturday afternoon 23-17, the Wisconsin football team dropped two spots in the weekly Associated Press poll from No. 9 to No. 11.

Wisconsin is now 3-0 overall entering their first Big Ten Conference game against Michigan State (No. 8) this Saturday at 11 a.m. The Spartans climbed four spots from No. 12 after taking down Notre Dame 36-28 Saturday night.

The Badgers only put up 400 yards of offense against the Panthers, with 213 coming through the air. They converted just 8-of-16 (50 percent) of their third downs while turning the ball over twice. It was the most points allowed by the Wisconsin defense this season as Georgia State averaged 5.6 yards per play. On a positive note, the Badgers are now 3-0 on the season for the first time since 2011.

B1G Media Days: Badgers not concerned about schedule

CHICAGO — Much has been made about Wisconsin football’s difficult schedule for the 2016 season, but the Badgers remained calm during questioning at the Big Ten Media Days on Tuesday.

“You guys are probably eating it up,” senior linebacker Vince Biegel told reporters Tuesday afternoon. “A lot of story lines here; you can’t write this up. Dave Aranda leaving University of Wisconsin [and] going to LSU. They’ve got Leonard Fournette. Big time game; It’s at Lambeau Field.”

That’s just the beginning of a very difficult 2016 schedule, which features a stretch from Sept. 24 to Oct. 29 against Michigan State, Michigan, Ohio State, Iowa, and Nebraska. Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio has hopes to give Wisconsin a challenge.

“I respect Wisconsin’s football team and I hate to say it, but I’m not concerned who they play after us,” Dantonio said during a podium session Tuesday afternoon. “I’m just concerned who they’re playing before us…They’ll come to East Lansing and it’ll be a great opponent.”

Wisconsin then travels to Michigan who they haven’t played since 2010 due to a quirk in the conference schedule. The Badgers have won their last two meetings with the Wolverines, but UM holds a 49-14-1 all-time record against the UW. Badgers senior defensive back Sojourn Shelton embraces the challenge.

“They’re just one of those teams you can’t shy away from…I hear it’s a crazy atmosphere [at Michigan Stadium] and they’re a good, solid team. They have a lot of good, solid players. Of course, everyone will pick them to be this and that but at the same time, when game time comes around, all the team’s have got to put it together.”

Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst took a similar stance when making his opening remarks Tuesday morning.

 

Wisconsin will report to fall camp on Aug. 7 for media availability and will hold their first practice the following day up until their Sept. 3 meeting with LSU at Lambeau Field.