Wisconsin will reportedly play in 2021 Maui Invitational

Wisconsin will reportedly play in one of the more prestigious early season basketball tournaments in 2021.

According to CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein, the Badgers are among eight teams slated to take part in the Maui Invitational.

Coach Greg Gard’s club last played in the annual November tournament in 2016 when it made a run to the finals before falling to North Carolina. The Badgers also played in the tournament in 2009 and 1995. The event dates back to 1984.

The trip to Hawaii will be the second-straight warm weather early season tournament for Wisconsin. The school is slated to play in Fort Myers Tip-Off this fall in Florida, with Butler, Colorado and South Florida also slated to take part.

Cowboys release snippet of online prospect interview with former Wisconsin LB Zack Baun

We are definitely living in a different time as COVID-19 impacts nearly every part of society. That’s certainly the case in the sports world where almost all games and competitions have either been canceled, suspended or postponed. We got another reminder of the impact Tuesday morning thanks to the Dallas Cowboys.

Because team facilities are shut down and teams can’t bring in draft prospects for visits, organizations are turning to technology to learn more about potential draftees. That was the case for Wisconsin linebacker Zack Baun, who was interviewed by Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, new coach Mike McCarthy and several members of his staff via Zoom. The team posted snippets of the interview on Twitter.

The NFL announced Monday that the draft itself will be fully virtual, with team personnel separately working from their own homes. The first round gets underway April 23.

The Swing: Remembering Wisconsin vs Kentucky in 2015

On this special episode of The Swing, Zach Heilprin looks back at Wisconsin’s epic 2015 Final Four win over a 38-0 Kentucky team. 

A number of guests join him to look at it from three different perspectives: 

Those that covered it: The Athletic’s Jesse Temple, Wisconsin State Journal’s Jim Polzin 

Those that coached in it: Former UW assistant Gary Close 

Those that played in it: Former UW guard Josh Gasser 

Two Wisconsin basketball commits earn major honor

A pair of Wisconsin basketball commits in the 2021 class earned one of the top honors possible in high school basketball on Thursday.

Guard Chucky Hepburn (Nebraska) and forward Matthew Mors (South Dakota) were named the Gatorade Player of the Year in their respective states.

It’s the first time Hepburn’s won the award and it comes after he led Bellevue West to a state title earlier in March. The junior averaged 17.7 points and 6.1 assists per game, while also adding 4.6 rebounds and 3.1 steals per game.

This is the second straight year that Mors has won the award in South Dakota. The 6-foot-7 junior had 19.5 points and 8.5 rebounds per game.

The two players join Illinois forward Chris Hodges in making up Wisconsin’s 2021 recruiting class. All three players are 4-star recruits and give the Badgers the top class in the country, according to 247Sports.

Previous Badgers to win the award include Sam Dekker, Josh Gasser, Jordan Taylor and Devin Harris.

The Gatorade Player of the Year in Wisconsin went to Sussex Hamilton forward Patrick Baldwin. Considered the No. 3 player in the country in the 2021 class, Baldwin is expected to choose between Duke and Northwestern for college.

Wisconsin extends season-ticket deadline for football

The coronavirus has impacted every aspect of the sports world and that includes tickets for the upcoming football season. Last week, the Green Bay Packers pushed their deadline to order season tickets by two months. On Wednesday, Wisconsin followed suit.

In an email, athletic director Barry Alvarez informed potential ticket buyers that the deadline to order season tickets and pay the minimum per seat contributions had been pushed back from April 20 to May 11.

“First and foremost, we hope this letter finds you and your families healthy and safe. Like you, our department is navigating through some uncharted waters these days. But I am confident we will get through this together and emerge as strong and stable as ever.

Fall Saturdays at Camp Randall Stadium have been a part of my life for 30 years. For some of you, it’s been even longer than that. That common experience and bond is something I am looking forward to rekindling.

We are adjusting the deadline to order your 2020 Football season tickets from April 20 to May 11, 2020. This includes annual recommended minimum per seat contributions and all donations for the Badger Select seating and parking selection process. May 11, 2020 will also be the priority deadline for single-game ticket requests, including the Wisconsin vs. Notre Dame game at Lambeau Field on Oct. 3.”

The email goes on to say that if the season is not played, all money will be refunded.

Wisconsin basketball among favorites to win 2021 national title

For the first time since 1938, the NCAA tournament did not take place and we did not crown a champion in college basketball. But it will be back in 2021 and oddsmakers have already put out who they believe will be in the mix for a national title, and it includes Wisconsin.

According to BetOnline, the Badgers are 20/1 to win their first title since 1941, tied for the ninth-best odds of any team in the country.

Wisconsin won its final eight games of the season and clinched a share of its first Big Ten championship in five years. Coach Greg Gard’s club will return everyone in its rotation except for senior Brevin Pritzl. The starting lineup could include five seniors — Nate Reuvers, Aleem Ford, Micah Potter, Brad Davison and D’Mitrik Trice — while the Badgers bring in a recruiting class ranked No. 20 in the country and third in the Big Ten. It’s a group highlighted by 4-star forward Ben Carlson (Saint Paul, Minn.) and 3-star guard Johnny Davis (La Crosse, Wis.).

At 20/1, Wisconsin owns the second-best odds among Big Ten teams. Michigan State comes in at 12/1, while Ohio State (28/1), Michigan (33/1), Illinois (50/1), Indiana (50/1), Iowa (50/1), Penn State (50/1) and Purdue (50/1) fall in behind the Badgers.

Overall, the oddsmakers have Virginia and Gonzaga as the co-favorites at 9/1, with Kanas (10/1), Kentucky (12/1) and the Spartans rounding out the top five.

Former Badgers standout retires from the NFL at age 29

A former Wisconsin standout has retired early from the NFL.

Dallas Cowboys center Travis Frederick announced Monday that he was hanging up his pads at the age of 29.

Frederick, one of the best centers since entering the league in 2013, missed the entire 2018 season with Guillain-Barre Syndrome.

“I started a journey almost two years ago that completely blindsided me,” Frederick wrote in his statement. “When I developed Guillain-Barre Syndrome, I did not know how to handle things. I was scared. That experience forced me to reevaluate my life priorities. I spent much of that year thinking about the past and future. I realized how fortunate I was to play a game for a living. I realized how fortunate I was to make friends and become teammates with some men. Most of all, I realized the importance of my family and how much I want to be there for their peaks and valleys as they were for me.”

Frederick returned to the field in 2019, starting all 16 games and being named to the Pro Bowl for a fifth time in his career. But he felt he wasn’t at his best.

“Each day I faced a struggle: I could no longer perform at my highest level,” Frederick wrote. “Playing ‘well’ is not what I expect of myself and is not what my teammates deserve. Because of this, I know my days as a football player are done. I am proud of what I have accomplished in my career, and I walk away with my head held high.”

Frederick started 30 games during his career at Wisconsin before being a first-round pick of the Cowboys in 2013.

Former Wisconsin RB Melvin Gordon headed to Denver

Former Wisconsin star Melvin Gordon has a new NFL team.

As first reported by WISN’s Stephen Watson, the Los Angeles Chargers running back agreed to a deal with the Denver Broncos on Friday. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported its a two-year contract worth $16 million and $13.5 million guaranteed.

After a scoring 26 touchdowns in 2017 and 2018, Gordon held out of training camp last year in hopes of getting a new contract from the Chargers. They balked at the idea and he eventually reported, but was limited to 12 games. He finished with a career-low 612 yards rushing and averaged just 3.8 yards per carry.

Still, the $8 million average makes Gordon, for the time being, the fourth-highest paid running back in the NFL, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.

The Broncos announced Gordon’s signing, kind of, with a tweet that played on Gordon’s “Flash Gordon” nickname.