Michigan tops Wisconsin in Big Ten title game 71-56

WASHINGTON — Derrick Walton, Jr. led the Michigan Wolverines to their first Big Ten tournament championship Sunday afternoon, defeating the Wisconsin Badgers 71-56.

Walton was a focal point for the Badgers defensively, but he still managed a game-high 22 points on 6-of-15 shooting. He added six rebounds and seven assists, while Bronson Koenig finished with 15 points for Wisconsin.

Koenig was an important piece for a Wisconsin team that battled back from a 10-point deficit to get within one point before halftime. Unfortunately for the Badgers, they’d come out of halftime to go nearly eight minutes without a field goal. The Badgers struggled shooting, despite grabbing 13 rebounds on the offensive glass.

Nigel Hayes added 14 points and 11 rebounds in the losing effort for Wisconsin.

Wisconsin routs Northwestern to advance to B1G title game

WASHINGTON — The Wisconsin men’s basketball team took advantage of a weary Northwestern squad to pick up a 76-48 win Saturday in a Big Ten tournament semifinal game.

The Wildcats had just come off a late night battle with Maryland, and the fatigue showed all game long. The Badgers’ defense was suffocating at times, forcing 12 turnovers, converting those miscues into 11 points. But the Northwestern defense was strong at times, too, forcing Wisconsin into 29 three-point attempts on the day. But the Badgers took advantage, knocking down 12 (41.4 percent) of them.

Nigel Hayes was the high point man, delivering 18 for the Badgers, along with 10 rebounds. Ethan Happ finished with 16 points and eight boards as a complement to Wisconsin’s outside shooting. The Badgers got 22 of their points in the paint, as compared with the Wildcats’ 16.

Wisconsin advances to the Big Ten tournament finale where they’ll meet Michigan Sunday at 2 p.m. CT. The Wolverines will be playing their fourth game in as many days — a factor that would seem to benefit the Badgers, given the result against Northwestern. It’s Wisconsin’s third appearance in the conference title game in the last five years.

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.

Koenig expects to start for Badgers vs Ohio State

MADISON, Wis. — Senior guard Bronson Koenig played through a left calf injury in Sunday’s win over Maryland and told reporters Tuesday night that he expects to be back in the starting lineup Thursday night at Ohio State.

Koenig suffered the injury Jan. 24 against Penn State, which caused a sharp decline in his play the next five games. His Big Ten season average of 57.5 percent from three-point range and 51.5 percent from the field dipped to 22.6 and 25.5 percent, respectively. He then missed the Feb. 16 contest at Michigan — his first time sitting out due to injury. That’s why his 31 minutes of action in the win over Maryland was significant.

“I didn’t know how many minutes I had played until I looked at the stat sheet after the game,” Koenig said Tuesday following practice. “I was kind of surprised and surprised at how good I felt.”

All nine of Koenig’s points against the Terrapins came in the second half after adjusting to playing off the bench.

Koenig acknowledged that he intends to play Thursday night in Columbus, and that “rest is key at any point of the season but especially at this point. I don’t think anybody is really 100 percent.”

Badgers complete sweep of Wolverines with 6-4 victory

MADISON, Wis. Coming off a back-and-forth game on Friday night, the Wisconsin men’s hockey team found themselves in another tough battle on Saturday night at the Kohl Center.

Fortunately for the Badgers (17-10-1, 10-4-0-0 Big Ten), they found themselves on the winning end once again as they defeated Michigan (9-16-3, 2-10-2-2) by a score of 6-4.

Trent Frederic opened the scoring for the Badgers just eight seconds into the first period, the fastest goal to start a game in program history. The freshman potted his 13th tally of the season as he crashed the net and received a feed from Matt Ustaski, who was behind the goal line. Luke Kunin also earned his 13th assist of the year on the play.

“I think the puck was coming to me and guys were making nice plays and I just happened to be there. It was a good weekend and good to get two wins,” Frederic said.

Wisconsin did not lead for long, however, as Michigan tied the game just 35 seconds later on James Sanchez’s fifth goal of the season. The Wolverines then took their first lead of the weekend 4:40 into the period on a goal from Cutler Martin.

Frederic denied Michigan a lead at intermission as he scored his second goal of the period, a short-handed tally after Luke Kunin blocked a shot in the defensive zone. The 19-year-old center then had an incredible effort to spring himself on a breakaway which he calmly finished with just over two minutes left in the frame.

“Little stuff like that with a blocked shot and I get the opportunity like that or the pass like last night, he’s obviously great to play with,” Frederic said. “The first goal, he made a nice play to just get the puck on the net and Ustaski made a nice play to me and it just happened to go in. My line, I thought it was good playing with them and it was a good weekend.”

The game continued to swing both ways over the next two periods as Aidan Cavallini scored his fourth goal of the season and first at the Kohl Center just 2:01 into the second period to give the Badgers a 3-2 lead. Cameron Hughes extended his point-scoring streak to 12 games with an assist on the play.

“He’s been a workhorse for us all year, his role has become more important as we’ve gone along,” head coach Tony Granato said. “I think it’s just his consistency, how he’s played has put us in a position where we want him on the ice. We thought putting him in that spot tonight would be a chance to play him more.”

Just under 11 minutes later, Joseph Cecconi knotted the game at 3-3 with his first goal of the season and the two teams headed into the final period tied.

About seven and a half minutes into the final stanza, Jake Linhart regained the lead for the Badgers as he crashed the net on a Ryan Wagner shot. The puck deflected off of his leg and past goaltender Zach Nagelvoort to put UW up 4-3.

UM responded right away, finding the back of the net just 51 seconds later on a goal from Adam Winborg.

The Cardinal and White finally found the eventual game-winner from Peter Tischke with under nine minutes to go in regulation. The UW defenseman deflected a Will Johnson back-handed shot under Nagelvoort’s legs to give the Badgers a lead they would not surrender.

Cavallini added his second goal of the game into an empty Michigan net to ensure Wisconsin’s 6-4 win.

“Yeah I think it’s pretty cool,” Cavallini said. “People say to play every game like your last and I think now that’s actually starting to hit me hard because when you’re younger you don’t think about it. It’s definitely pretty special but I just really care about winning and having a good finish to this year.”

Goaltender Matt Jurusik finished with 34 saves on 38 shots faced on the evening.

“It was one of those games, it was weird the way the bounces were going around the net. The one that floated in, I think their guy got a piece of it, but it was a floater through,” Granato said. “Jurusik was looking through traffic and it floats in. He looked square, it looked like he was confident and he made some big saves when he had to.”

With the win and six conference games to go, UW can finish no lower than fourth place in the Big Ten standings. The three points also keeps the Badgers in second place and on pace with first-place Minnesota, who swept Penn State over the weekend, making the margin just three points between the two teams.

First place will be on the line for Wisconsin next weekend as it heads to Minneapolis to take on the Gophers in the second Border Battle of the season. The two teams split the first matchup in Madison earlier in the year.

“Next week will be a challenge. We had two great games against Minnesota there a few weeks back. We know the skill that they have, we know we’ll have to be at our best,” Granato said. “Minnesota and Wisconsin, doesn’t matter what the records are, but now you see that one-two in the (Big Ten Conference) standings, it’s only going to be that much more meaningful and exciting.”

(uwbadgers.com)

Badgers open series against Wolverines with 5-2 win

MADISON, Wis. —  Riding behind three goals in the last 10 minutes of regulation, 20th-ranked Wisconsin (16-10-1, 9-4-0-0 Big Ten) defeated Michigan (9-15-3, 2-9-2-2) by a score of 5-2 at the Kohl Center on Friday night.

Heading into the final stanza, UW held a slim 2-1 lead, but Michigan tied the game at 2-2, eight minutes into the period on Evan Allan’s third goal of the season.

Wisconsin did not let the game remain a tie for very long, as they responded with Trent Frederic’s second goal of the game just 1:35 later to take back the lead for good. Frederic tapped in a laser-like pass from Luke Kunin, who found the freshman through bodies and sticks. Corbin McGuire was given a secondary helper on the play.

“When they tied it 2-2 was when I thought our team stepped up,” head coach Tony Granato said. “Luke Kunin made a great pass to Trent Frederic and (Aidan Cavallini’s) pass to (Jarod) Zirbel. I thought those were big moments and big for our team. They still had plenty of time to get another one but we got back after it and made a couple plays that were huge.”

The Cardinal and White sealed their victory with 2:17 to go in regulation as Aidan Cavallini fed a behind-the-back pass to Jarod Zirbel who roofed the puck to make it a two-goal game. JD Greenway earned an assist on the play.

Seamus Malone then added an insurance goal 18 seconds later to make it 5-2 Badgers.

“They became a little more aggressive trying to get the puck out of their end,” Granato said. “I don’t think we did anything different after we got the 3-2 lead, I just thought they were a little more desperate to try to make plays. We took advantage of it and made some plays on their end. We outnumbered them at the net.”

Earlier in the game, Frederic opened the scoring halfway into the first period for his 11th marker of his freshman campaign. He collected the puck off of a shot that had went wide and deposited it into the net. Jake Linhart and Peter Tischke earned assists on the goal.

The Badgers held the 1-0 lead until the opening minute of the second period, when Michigan tied the game for the first time on Cooper Marody’s fifth goal of the year.

UW regained the lead on the power play after Cameron Hughes finished off a nifty give-and-go between him and Kunin. The nice passing play led to the junior’s seventh goal of the year and extended his point-scoring streak to 11 games.

“I think any time a team scores, you want a good response. We were lucky enough to get a power play and get a chance to get right back into it,” Hughes said. “I think we executed pretty well. We’ve been working on that in practice, so that payoff was the goal and the momentum.”

The last time a Wisconsin player had a point-scoring streak of 11 games was Tyler Barnes during the 2011-12 season. That streak lasted from Oct. 8-Nov. 12, 2011.

Michigan-native Jack Berry defeated the Wolverines for the second time this season, making 25 saves on 27 shots faced.

“Our team is confident around him. He’s been the same pretty much every game he’s played. Obviously we need him and he was rock solid,” Granato said.

(uwbadgers.com)

Wisconsin, Penn State both miss College Football Playoff field

INDIANAPOLIS — As runner-up in the Big Ten Championship game, Wisconsin wasn’t expected to make the College Football Playoff field, but Sunday’s release also omitted Big Ten champion Penn State.

The Top Six (Top Four make CFP)

  1. Alabama
  2. Clemson
  3. Ohio State
  4. Washington
  5. Penn State
  6. Michigan

After a 42-35 win over Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship game, Clemson rose to No. 2 in the committee’s eyes, while Ohio State dropped to No. 3, having not played a conference championship game.

After missing out on the playoff field, Wisconsin will find out its postseason bowl game and opponent at 1:30 p.m. central time.

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

Preview: (8) Wisconsin (4-0, 1-0) at (4) Michigan (4-0, 1-0)

THE BASICS

The teams: The No. 8 Wisconsin Badgers 4-0, 1-0) vs the No. 4 Michigan Wolverines (4-0, 1-0)

The time: 2:30 p.m. CDT, Saturday

The place: Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, Mich.

The TV coverage: ABC with Dave Flemming and Brian Griese on the call, and Todd McShay on the sideline.

The last time: In 2010, Wisconsin ran the ball 30 straight time at one point in the second half on their way to a 48-28 victory in Ann Arbor.

The series: Michigan 49-14-1

The line: Michigan -11

The Badgers injury report:

OLB Vince Biegel (foot) — OUT

K Rafael Gaglianone (back) — OUT

ILB Chris Orr (knee) — OUT

CB Natrell Jamerson (leg) — OUT

RB Bradrick Shaw (shoulder) — OUT

G Jon Dietzen (foot) — QUESTIONABLE

THE BREAKDOWN: FIVE THINGS TO WATCH

1) Next man up

Wisconsin has been stung by injuries throughout the past two seasons and got more bad news on Thursday. That’s when the school announced kicker Rafagel Gaglianone would miss the rest of the year after back surgery and ESPN reported that outside linebacker Vince Biegel would be out 2 to 4 weeks after undergoing surgery to fix a cracked bone in his foot.

Both injuries will test Wisconsin, but especially Biegel’s. The emotional leader of the team, his presence raised the level of play for everyone around him.

247Sports reported on Friday that junior Garrett Dooley will get the first crack at filling Biegel’s spot, though other options include redshirt freshman Zack Baun and junior Jack Cichy, who played at outside linebacker for 2 ½ years before moving to the inside last season.

2) An encore?

Quarterback Alex Hornibrook looked nothing like the redshirt freshman he is when he made the first start of his career last week against Michigan State. Though he turned the ball over twice, he more than made up for the mistakes with timely third-down throws that moved the chains.

Now comes a Michigan defense that loves to get after the passer, ranking second in the country in sacks (17) through the first four games of the year. The confidence in sending additional players at the quarterback is buoyed by a solid secondary, though they must replace starting corner Jeremy Clark, who is gone for the season after tearing his ACL. Still, the challenge for Wisconsin’s receivers will be just as big as it was in the opener against LSU’s talented back end.

If the Badgers are to win, Hornibrook and his stable of weapons have to be on the top of their game.

3) What an opportunity

For the third time this year, the Badgers will take on a team ranked in the top 10 of the AP Top 25. The victories in those games have set them up for this opportunity against the fourth-ranked team in the country. It can be argued it’s the biggest regular season game the Badgers have played since 2011.

A win here, where nobody on a national level is picking them and they are 11-point underdogs, would dwarf the victories over LSU and Michigan State, and set the Badgers up with potentially the biggest home game in school history against Ohio State on Oct. 15.

Yes, what an opportunity indeed.

4) Can the running game be effective?

Most thought Wisconsin’s running game would be better than a year ago, when they averaged just 150 yards per game, the lowest total for the program since 1995. But that hasn’t materialized so far through four games. Just once this year — against Akron — have the Badgers run for more than 200 yards and had a per carry average of more than 4.0 yards. For a school that prides itself on being able to run the ball effectively, it just hasn’t happened.

The chances they breakout against Michigan are rather low, though teams are averaging 122 yards rushing against the Wolverines this season. What should help is a healthier Corey Clement. The junior tailback is still dealing with an ankle injury, but he said this week he’s as healthy as he’s been since before suffering the injury against Akron.

No matter what, though, Wisconsin has to stick with the running game. In the 10 games under Chryst where they’ve run the ball at least 40 times, they are 10-0. It means they’re controlling the clock and keeping Michigan off the field.

5) Rise to the occasion

A week after bottling up Michigan State’s offense, the Badgers defense must come up with an even better effort against Jim Harbaugh and company. That’s because for the first time in school history, the Wolverines scored 40 points or more in the first four games of the season and did it with a balanced group on offense. They are averaging 229 yards per game on the ground and 238 yards through the air. This will be the first offense Wisconsin has seen this year with that kind of balance, meaning they won’t be able to sell out to stop one or the other.

What the defense can do, though, is create confusion for sophomore quarterback Wilton Speights. He’s thrown nine touchdowns and just one interception, but the looks Wisconsin throws at him on Saturday should lead to some indecision on his part, just like they did a week ago against the Spartans’ Tyler O’Connor.

Doing that will be the key to slowing a Michigan team that has seemed unstoppable at times this year.

NUMBERS TO CONSIDER

1 — That’s how many times Wisconsin has won at Michigan since 1995

7 — That’s how many turnovers Wisconsin has forced in their two other matchups with top-10 teams this year

8-0 — That’s Wisconsin’s record in their last 11 games when holding teams under 100 yards rushing

29 — That’s the consecutive number of starts by outside linebacker Vince Biegel, a streak that will come to end on Saturday.

PREDICTIONS

Zach Heilprin’s prediction: Michigan 23, Wisconsin 13 (2-2 on the season)
Ebo’s prediction: Wisconsin 23, Michigan 17 (2-2 on the season)
Jake Zimmermann’s prediction: Wisconsin 21, Michigan 20 (3-1 on the season)
Joe Miller’s prediction: Wisconsin 23, Michigan 20 (3-1 on the season)
Eric Rogers’ prediction: Michigan 21, Wisconsin 20 (2-2 on the season

Wisconsin to face Michigan for 2:30 p.m. kickoff

MADISON, Wis. — The Big Ten announced Monday that Wisconsin’s football game at Michigan on Oct. 1 will start at 2:30 p.m. CT. The game will be televised on either ABC, ESPN or ESPN2 with the network being determined following the games on Sept. 24.

The game will be the teams’ first meeting since the Badgers defeated Michigan, 48-28, in Ann Arbor on Nov. 20, 2010. Both teams are currently ranked in the top 15 of the Associated Press poll. If that holds, it would mark just the fifth time in 65 meetings that the game would feature two top-15 teams.