Wisconsin men’s hockey claims its first Big Ten regular season title

The fifth-ranked Wisconsin hockey team is the Big Ten regular-season champion for the first time.

The Badgers got two goals from star Cole Caufield, his 24th and 25th on the season, in a 2-1 win over Michigan State on Saturday afternoon. The win gave UW its fourth regular season conference title and its first since 2000 when the Badgers were still in the WCHA.

After a scoreless first period, Michigan State jumped ahead with a Charlie Combs goal at the 13:09 mark of the second period. It looked like it would stay 1-0 but Caufield sniped a one-timer with 17 seconds left to tie the game. The sophomore then added his second 7:49 into the final period, which proved to be the winning goal.

Dylan Holloway, Linus Weissbach and Ty Pelton-Byce each had an assist as Wisconsin won for a 13th time in its last 16 games.

Cameron Rowe more than held up his end by stopping 40 of the 41 shots he faced. The Badgers improved to 9-1-1 in games Rowe starts this season.

With the win, the Wisconsin will be the top seed at the Big Ten Tournament meaning the Badgers will get a first-round bye.

No. 5 Wisconsin blanks Michigan State

The fifth-ranked Wisconsin hockey team won for a ninth time in its last 11 games Friday afternoon with a 4-0 victory at Michigan State.

The Badgers jumped on the Spartans early, as Tarek Baker scored just 1:49 into the game, just his third goal of the season. Jack Gorniak followed minutes later with his sixth goal of the year to make it 2-0.

In the second period it was Cole Caufield’s turn. The sophomore found the back on the net on the power-play with goal No. 23 on the season. Wisconsin added its fourth goal a short time later with Ty Pelton-Byce scoring on another power-play.

Linus Weissbach had a pair of assists, while Caufield and Pelton-Byce each had one.

Goalie Robbie Beydoun earned his third shutout by stopping all 28 shots he faced and improved to 10-7 this year.

The Badgers improved to 18-8-1 overall and 16-6-1 in Big Ten play.

Wisconsin will close out the regular season against Michigan State on Saturday.

Wisconsin anticipating guard Lorne Bowman Jr. will return to Madison in June

Lorne Bowman Jr. will be back in Madison by this summer.

The Wisconsin guard left the team and withdrew from school in November to return home to deal with a personal family matter. Coach Greg Gard said last month that Bowman was back taking classes but doing so remotely from his home in Detroit. Bowman’s day, Lorne Sr., posted an update on Twitter Thursday morning.

“What’s up guys! Thank you for all the well wishes! Lorne Jr. is doing AWESOME! Back in school full time and working out in the gym hard everyday. Our family situation has been dealt with and is behind us now we’re looking forward to the future! Madison bound, see you soon!”

Asked about Bowman’s status, a UW official said they are looking forward to having him back in Madison with the team and are anticipating his return in June.

The 6-foot-2 Bowman was part of Wisconsin’s 2020 recruiting class that featured five players. A 3-star recruit, Bowman was the fourth-best player in the state of Michigan and a top-20 combo guard in the country, according to the 247Sports Composite. He averaged 25.2 points, 6.2 assists and 6.0 rebounds per game in his senior year.

Big Ten to allow limited number of fans at conference tournament

The Wisconsin basketball team will play in front of fans at next week’s Big Ten Tournament.

The conference announced Thursday morning that the Marion County Heath Department had agreed to allow up to 8,000 fans inside Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis for games. The first round gets underway March 10 and a champion will be crowned March 14.

In an email sent after the announcement, Wisconsin said it would offer its allotment of tickets to donors and season-ticket holders over the next two days on a first-come, first-served basis.

The 2020 tournament lasted all of two games before it, along with nearly every other sporting event in the country, was canceled at the start of the coronavirus pandemic. This year’s tournament was supposed to be in Chicago but was moved to Indy because the conference felt it was better setup to handle the restrictions that will be in place. The tournament will serve as a bit of a dry run for the NCAA Tournament that will be held in its entirety in Indianapolis and the surrounding areas beginning the following week.

You can find more information here.

No. 25 Badgers fall again, this time at No. 23 Purdue

No. 25 Wisconsin lost its seventh straight game to a ranked team, falling at No. 23 Purdue 73-69 Tuesday night at Mackey Arena.

The Badgers had no answer inside for 7-foot-4 freshman Zach Edey. The Boilermakers’ freshman scored a career-high 21 points (8-for-11 FGs) and grabbed seven rebounds, while fellow freshman Jayden Ivey contributed 18 points.

Wisconsin’s offense was once again anemic, as the Badgers shot just 40.4% from the field, the 11th time in their last 14 games they’ve hit less than 41.7% of their shots. Things were even worse from beyond the arc where they went 7-for-29. That included going just 4-for-26 after making their first three shots from deep to open the game.

Guard Brad Davison led the way for the Badgers by scoring 15 points (4-for-12 FGs), while Aleem Ford, Micah Potter and Nate Reuvers all had 11 points. Reuvers shot 5-for-10 and had a couple blocks on the defensive end. Potter played just 15 minutes due to foul trouble. D’Mitrik Trice had 10 points but was just 2-for-10 from the field.

The game was a foul fest, with the two teams combining for 41, including 21 by Wisconsin, which was one off a season-high. The Badgers did get it done at the free throw line, going 16-for-21. Of Purdue’s 73 points, 58 came in the paint or at the free throw line (20-for-26).

The Badgers fell to 10-9 in Big Ten play and still don’t have a win against a conference team with a winning record, falling to 0-7 against teams higher than them in the standings. They’ll have one more chance to get one in the regular season on Sunday when they go to No. 5 Iowa.

Badgers drop to No. 25 in latest AP Top 25

Wisconsin is still in the Associated Press Top 25 but just barely.

The Badgers came in at No. 25 in the latest poll released Monday morning, down two spots from last week. It came after Wisconsin played just one game, a 74-69 loss to then-No. 5 Illinois.

UW is one of six Big Ten teams in the poll. Michigan jumped one spot to No. 2, while Illinois moved up a slot to No. 4. Iowa made the biggest jump among conference teams, going from No. 9 to No. 5. Ohio State lost a pair of games last week but fell just three spots to No. 7. Purdue is the other team in the poll at No. 23.

Wisconsin will close out the regular season this week with difficult road trips. The Badgers will first head to West Lafayette, a place where they have just one win since 2006, though no fans will certainly help their cause. Then Wisconsin will visit the Hawkeyes on Sunday. They beat the Badgers by 16 in the first meeting in Madison.

Gonzaga stayed at No. 1 as the lone remaining unbeaten team in the country. You can find the full poll here.

JJ Watt announces he’s signing with Arizona

JJ Watt isn’t coming home.

The former Wisconsin star took to Twitter late Monday morning and announced he was signing with the Arizona Cardinals.

Minutes later, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported the contract details.

Green Bay was among numerous teams that were interested in landing Watt, who was cut by the Houston Texans last month. But with salary cap issues of their own, the Packers were unlikely to be able to swing anywhere close to what the defensive end ended up getting from Arizona.

Wisconsin men’s hockey team completes a sweep of Ohio State, Wisconsin women claim WCHA title

The fifth-ranked Wisconsin hockey team cruised to an easy 7-0 win Saturday over Ohio State to sweep the weekend series.

The Badgers started their scoring in the first period, as sophomore Cole Caufield found the back of net, but it was in the second period when Wisconsin blew the game open. Caufield scored just 37 seconds into the period. That was followed by goals from Dylan Holloway and Ty Emberson. For Holloway, it was his third goal of series and his 11th on the year.

Caufield wasn’t done, though. He completed the hat-trick just 1:59 into the third period, nabbing his 22nd goal of the season. Ty Pelton-Byce finished the scoring with a pair of goals later in the period.

Linus Weissbach finished with four assists, while Brock Caufield had a pair for the Badgers, who won for a 12th time in their last 16 games.

Cameron Rowe got the start in goal and was up the challenge, stopping all 21 shots he saw.

The Badgers improved to 17-8-1 overall and 15-6-1 in Big Ten play. It left Wisconsin sitting behind only conference-leader Minnesota in the standings.

UW will close out the regular season next weekend at Michigan State.

Women’s hockey team clinches WCHA title

No. 1 Wisconsin erased a 3-2 lead in the final period to beat Minnesota-Duluth 4-3 in overtime and claim the WCHA regular season title.

The Badgers trailed 1-0 when Daryl Watts evened things up 4:14 into the second period. The Bulldogs would score the next two before Lacey Eden cut the lead in half at the 17:43 mark of the second.

The score stayed the same until there was less than two minutes left in the game and Brette Pettet beat the Minnesota-Duluth goalie to tie the matchup and send it to overtime.

Once there, the Badgers ended it quickly, with Watts knocking home the game-winner just 41 seconds into the extra period.

The win gave Wisconsin its ninth WCHA regular-season title and its fifth in the last six years.

The Badgers will now face Minnesota in the semifinals of next weekend’s WCHA Final Faceoff in Minneapolis.

Wisconsin’s late rally comes up short in 74-69 loss to Illinois

No. 5 Illinois was missing its best player but that didn’t matter Saturday afternoon as the Illini held off a late Wisconsin run to beat the 23rd-ranked Badgers 74-69.

Illinois led by 12 with 2:13 left and the game appeared to be safely in the win column, but then D’Mitrik Trice took over. Playing in likely his final home game, the senior scored Wisconsin’s final 19 points, including a 3-pointer with 7 seconds left to make it 70-69. After hitting two free throws, the Illini never allowed the Badgers to get a look for a game-tying 3-pointer, fouling Trevor Anderson with 1.9 seconds left and essentially sealing the win.

Trice finished with 29 points (6-for-9 on 3P) before fouling out. Fellow senior Micah Potter was the only other player in double figures for Wisconsin, as he had 15 points and six rebounds.

Before Trice’s explosion, the Badgers offense was failing them, something that has become common place in the second half of the season. Wisconsin started 1-for-15 from the field and fell behind by 13 just 6:58 into the game. At one point in the second half the Badgers were shooting only 25% before finishing the game at 34.8%.

The Illini were without All-American guard Ayo Dosumu due to a broken nose, but it didn’t hurt them on the offensive end. Center Kofi Cockburn had a team-high 19 points and seven rebounds, as Illinois shot 52.1% from the field, including 55.6% from beyond the arc.

It was Senior Day for the Badgers and it was largely a forgettable one for several of Wisconsin’s veterans. Nate Reuvers, Brad Davison and Aleem Ford went a combined 5-for-26, as the Badgers dropped to 0-6 in games against the top four teams in the Big Ten.

Wisconsin is now 6-7 in its last 13 games and sits at 16-9 overall and 10-8 in conference play. The Badgers will close out the regular season with road games at Purdue and Iowa.

Wisconsin hockey beats Ohio State in overtime

It took a little extra work but the fifth-ranked Wisconsin hockey team earned a 2-1 win over Ohio State on Friday night.

The game was tied 1-1 after three periods, forcing the Badgers to go to overtime for a second straight game. But this one ended better and it did so quickly, as Dylan Holloway found the back of the net on the power-play just 42 seconds into the overtime period to give Wisconsin the win.

The Badgers got on the board first in the game, taking a 1-0 lead on Holloway’s first goal of the night, which also came on a power play. He’s now got 10 goals on the season, which is the third-best mark on the team.

Ohio State answered on its own power-play in the second period when Gustaf Westlund beat Robbie Beydoun. It was the lone shot to get by the goalie, who finished with 30 saves and picked up the win.

With the victory, Wisconsin improved to 16-8 overall and 14-6-1 in Big Ten play. Because all the teams in the conference won’t play the same number of games due to COVID-19 pauses, the winner of the Big Ten will be determined by winning percentage. Minnesota (.750) is currently at the top of the standings, while the Badgers (.690) are second.

Wisconsin and Ohio State will see each other again Saturday afternoon at LaBahn Arena.