Badgers get a commitment from 4-star LB Jack Sanborn

MADISONWisconsin has picked up its eighth commitment in the class of 2018.

247Sports was the first to report that four-star linebacker Jack Sanborn (Lake Zurich, Ill.) had given his verbal commitment to the Badgers.

The 6-foot-2, 210-pound Sanborn is rated as the No. 3 player in the state of Illinois and the 12th-best inside linebacker in the country, according to the 247 Composite.

Sanborn chose Wisconsin over 13 other offers, including Duke, Iowa and Michigan State.

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)

Bronson Koenig’s 28 points, 8 three-ptr’s leads Wisconsin to win over Viginia Tech

BUFFALO, N.Y. | Wisconsin senior Bronson Koenig wasn’t about to let Thursday night’s NCAA first round game vs. Virginia Tech be his final game in a Badgers uniform. Koenig scored a game-high 28 points and hit 8 of 17 three-pointers to lead the Badgers to an 84-74 win over the Hokies. Wisconsin (26-9) will play top-seeded Villanova (32-3) in the second round Saturday at approximately 1:40 p.m. CT on CBS. The defending national champion Wildcats advanced with a 76-56 win over No. 16 Mount St. Mary’s earlier on Thursday.

Koenig hit 3 of 8 three-pointers and scored 11 points in the first half to help UW build a four-point lead. He was even better in the second half when he hit 5 of 9 three-pointers.

Koenig got some help from his friends especially senior Nigel Hayes who hit 8 consecutive free throws, many coming in some key moments late in the second half. Hayes recorded a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Sophomore Khalil Iverson also provided solid play off the bench. Playing less than a week after two of his cousins were shot to death in Columbus, Ohio, Iverson scored 11 points and added 7 rebounds in 21 minutes.  It was his best performance of the season.

 

UW, which has had problems hitting free throws at times this season, finished 19 of 25 from the line (76.0%). The Badgers built a four-point halftime lead without sophomore Ethan Happ for the final 10:13 after Happ picked up his second foul. Wisconsin also played without senior Zak Showalter for the final five minutes of the game after Showalter fouled out on a questionable call.  Fortunately for Showalter it was not the end to his Badgers career as his teammates held off the Hokies and advanced to Saturday’s second round to face the defending champs.

Wisconsin Basketball Roundtable – former Badgers preview NCAA tournament

This week on the Wisconsin Basketball Roundtable, former Badgers Josh Gasser and Mike Bruesewitz talk about Wisconsin’s upcoming game vs Virginia Tech in the NCAA tournament in Buffalo, New York. The two former Badgers also give their thoughts on Wisconsin getting an 8 seed, the Badgers’ performance in the Big Ten tournament, and their personal experiences in the NCAA tournament.

Take a listen:

 

Wisconsin Pro Day results and observations

MADISON, Wis. — 12 former University of Wisconsin football players took part in the annual pro day held at the McClain Center hoping to make one final impact ahead of the NFL Draft.

For the third year in a row, Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson was in Madison scouting potential new talent for the roster. Of particular interest was linebacker T.J. Watt, who many draft analysts believe would be a legitimate option for Green Bay with the 29th overall selection. But there were plenty of other Wisconsin prospects, as well…

Biggest winners

RB Corey Clement: Clement took part in every drill but the bench press after a less-than-stellar NFL Scouting Combine performance. His biggest area of improvement was in the 40-yard dash, where Clement clocked in at 4.54 seconds — a significant improvement over his official 4.68 from Indianapolis. His vertical jump increased from 28.5 inches to 32, while his broad jump was five inches better at 120 inches.

“I came back from the combine and I was so down on myself,” Clement said. “I was like, ‘That’s not me, that’s not a reflection of who I am and what I can run.’ …If you’re in a groove and you’re having a positive day, I think everything is going to reflect [that].”

S Leo Musso: While he didn’t get a chance to compete at the combine, Musso proved that height is only a number. He posted impressive figures in the vertical jump (40.5 inches), broad jump (128 inches), three-cone drill (6.56 seconds) and several others, proving he should have gotten an invite to Indianapolis.

WR Rob Wheelwright: Perhaps Wheelwright falls into the same category. Like Musso, he would have ranked in the top five in multiple drills among receivers had he competed at the combine. Wheelwright’s best efforts were in the 40-yard dash (4.54 seconds), vertical jump (38 inches), and broad jump (128.5 inches).

“I showed I can run well, I can move, I can catch, and I can jump,” Wheelwright told reporters after his workout. “That’s what you need to be — athletic. But you also need to be able to know the game.”

Wheelwright noted that a handful of teams showed interest in him at the pro day, including the Packers, Raiders, and Chiefs.

Here’s a look at the official figures, courtesy of the Badgers:

Other notes and observations

Linebacker T.J. Watt mainly worked on position drills for team scouts, and as Jared Tokarz put it, the Packers were “very impressed” by what they saw from Watt during his pro day.

Left tackle Ryan Ramczyk didn’t take part in any of the on-field work and simply used his time to meet with prospective teams. At the conclusion of the workouts, all former Badgers were available for media interviews, except for Ramczyk who left for a private lunch with an unnamed NFL team representative.

Wisconsin hockey coach Tony Granato named B1G Coach of the Year

MADISON — In his first season as Wisconsin’s hockey coach, Tony Granato largely surpassed any outside expectations on the Badgers way to a second place finish in the Big Ten. On Monday, he and many of his players were honored for that success as the conference unveiled its award winners.

Granato was named the Big Ten Coach of the Year after helping a program that had won 12 games combined the last two years to a 19-14-1 overall record and a 12-8 record in conference play.

Meanwhile, freshman forward Trent Frederic was chosen as the Big Ten Freshman of the Year and also the only unanimous choice for the Big Ten All-Freshmen team. Frederic was second on the team with 15 goals and tied for fourth in assists with 18.

Frederic, top goal scorer Luke Kunin and defenseman Jake Linhart were second-team All-Big Ten picks, while goalie Jack Berry and defenseman Peter Tischke earned Big Ten honorable mention accolades.

Wisconsin got a first-round bye in this week’s conference tournament.

Wisconsin names Alex Hornibrook its starting quarterback for 2017

MADISON — Wisconsin has named its starting quarterback before spring practice even got underway.

In an article on the team’s website, coach Paul Chryst said that redshirt sophomore Alex Hornibrook is his starter heading into 2017.

“He is the guy,” Chryst told UWBadgers.com. “He knows it and he thinks it.”

As a redshirt freshman, Hornibrook started nine games while sharing time with senior Bart Houston. He threw for 1,262 yards, nine touchdowns and seven interceptions.

“Couldn’t be more excited about Alex,” offensive coordinator Joe Rudolph said on National Signing Day. “What he was able to do in his redshirt freshman year is huge. You don’t see that. It’s uncommon.”

With Hornibrook installed as the starter, the battle for the backup job falls to redshirt freshman Kare Lyles and true freshman Jack Coan, who enrolled early.

“It’ll elevate that position and provide us depth going into the season. Real depth, not just someone who can go out there and line up,” Rudolph said of the competition. “Somebody with enough knowledge and the ability to learn this spring, go through some good and some bad, (and then) truly have a plan in the summer of how they better approach it to get themselves ready for fall camp. I think it will be really beneficial for us.”

Wisconsin opens spring practice on Tuesday morning. It’s the first of 15 sessions, culminating with the annual Spring Game on Friday, April 21.