Wisconsin OL Jon Dietzen retires from football

Wisconsin will need to replace four starters from its 2018 offensive line.

The Badgers already knew they had to replace three with Beau Benzschawel and Michael Deiter graduating, and David Edwards leaving early for the NFL. Now, they’ll also need to fill the void left by Jon Dietzen, who announced on Twitter he was giving up football due to injuries.

Dietzen would have been a senior this fall and had started 32 games in his career. That included 12 this past season at left tackle, though he was only a part-time player, sharing snaps with Cole Van Lanen. That was in an effort to keep him as healthy has possible.

Even if Dietzen did play in 2019, it likely would have been back at left guard, the spot he occupied his first two years in the program. That would have allowed Van Lanen to be the full-time starter at left tackle.

Without Dietzen, the Badgers will likely turn to senior Jason Erdmann or redshirt sophomore Kayden Lyles at the two guard spots.

(Watch) Mark Johnson’s jersey retirement ceremony

For the first time in Wisconsin hockey history a retired jersey hangs from the rafters of the Kohl Center.

Prior to their game Saturday night against Ohio State, the Badgers honored all-time goal scoring leader, and hero of the 1980 USA Miracle on Ice team, Mark Johnson by making him the first player to have his jersey retired at the school.

Here is the full ceremony from a special night for No. 10.

No. 19 Wisconsin falls at No. 7 Michigan

No. 7 Michigan pulled away in the final minute to beat No. 19 Wisconsin 61-52 in Ann Arbor on Saturday, ending the Badgers winning streak at six games.

Senior Ethan Happ had a team-high 18 points, but had just four in the second half on 2 of 9 shooting. Foul trouble allowed him to play just 26 minutes, the second-fewest for him in a conference game this year.

Sophomores Brad Davison and Nate Reuvers each had nine points, with guard D’Mitrik Trice added eight.

Michigan was paced by guard Charles Matthews, who broke out of his recent slump to score 18 points, including 16 after the break. Center Jon Teske had 17 points and 12 rebounds, while Milwaukee native Jordan Poole had 10 points and nine rebounds.

The game marked the first time since Jan. 29, 2013 that Wisconsin didn’t make a single free throw. The two attempts the Badgers got were also the fewest since then.

With the loss, Wisconsin drops two games back of Michigan for first place in the Big Ten. The Badgers will host No. 9 Michigan State on Tuesday.

Wisconsin Basketball Roundtable: Feb. 8, 2019

On this week’s Wisconsin Basketball Roundtable, our former Badgers — Mike Bruesewitz, Josh Gasser and Zak Showalter — talk about the six-game winning streak, Brad Davison’s play, Ethan Happ’s celebration after the Minnesota victory and the chances UW can grab a piece of the Big Ten title.

13:41 — Mike Bruesewitz interview

25:12 — Josh Gasser interview

36:27 — Zak Showalter interview

Wisconsin coach Greg Gard says questionable play involving Brad Davison wasn’t malicious

Wisconsin coach Greg Gard said guard Brad Davison did nothing malicious in a video that went viral after the Badgers beat Minnesota 56-51 Wednesday night.

The clip appears to show Davison moving his foot under Minnesota’s Jordan Murphy as the latter went up for a rebound early in the game. No foul was called, but the Gophers, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, contacted the Big Ten on Thursday to determine whether one should have been.

Gard was asked about the play right after the game but said he hadn’t seen it live. When it was brought up again on Friday, the fourth-year coach made it clear he didn’t view the play as dirty.

“We don’t teach to that mode and I know (Davison) doesn’t have any of that intent with him,” Gard said. “He just plays the game extremely hard.”

Davison has drawn the ire of fans from other teams in his first two seasons with his style of play, including his willingness to throw his body around with little regard for his safety. But Gard doesn’t buy the idea that he would do something that could potentially hurt another player.

“Brad plays the game extremely hard,” Gard reiterated. “…I’ve never seen [any player in the Big Ten] try to do something to intentionally injure somebody or violate the spirit or the integrity of the game.”

Eight former Badgers invited to NFL Combine

There will be strong Wisconsin presence at this year’s NFL Combine in Indianapolis later this month.

The league released the list of the participants on Thursday and eight former Badgers were listed:

OL Beau Benzschawel
LB Ryan Connelly
OL Michael Deiter
DB D’Cota Dixon
OL David Edwards
LB T.J. Edwards
FB Alec Ingold
LB Andrew Van Ginkel

Wisconsin was one of seven teams with eight players invited to the combine, and only six had more.

The eight is the most for Wisconsin since also sending eight in 2013. The only times the Badgers have sent more came in 2005 (9) and 2001 (10).

In its latest seven-round mock draft, Bleacher Report has five Wisconsin players getting selected. Early entrant David Edwards projected to be the highest pick with the New England Patriots selecting him in the second round.

Another Friday night opener for Wisconsin football

A Friday night season opener is quickly becoming a tradition for the Wisconsin football team.

For a third-straight year, the Badgers will open the season under the lights on a day normally reserved for high school football, this time on Aug. 30 at South Florida. The game was originally slated for Aug. 31.

Wisconsin opened the 2017 season on a Friday at home against Utah State and last season on a Friday at home against Western Kentucky. A number of local high schools moved their normal Friday night games so as not to interfere with the happenings at Camp Randall Stadium.

This will be the first true road game opener for the Badgers since 2010 when they beat UNLV in front of 20,000 Wisconsin fans in Las Vegas. Prior to that, the last time was a 2003 loss at West Virginia.

South Florida finished 2018 7-6 under second-year coach Charlie Strong, losing its last six games, including a 38-20 loss to Marshall in the Gasparilla Bowl.

Wisconsin beats Minnesota for sixth-straight win

Make it six straight wins for Wisconsin.

The Badgers went on the road Wednesday night and beat Minnesota 56-51, avenging an earlier loss at home to the Gophers.

Senior Ethan Happ got off to a slow start but got going in the second half, finishing with a team-high 15 points and 13 rebounds. Cameras caught him blowing kisses and waving goodbye to the Minnesota student section after the final buzzer sounded.

“They’ve been very kind to me over the years,” Happ said with a smile. “I haven’t lost here and I just wanted to thank them for their hospitality. That’s kind of what that was.”

It was Wisconsin’s fourth-straight win in Minneapolis and the ninth win in the last 10 against the Gophers overall.

A pair of players — Brad Davison and Nate Reuvers — were playing in their home state for the first time as members of the Badgers. Davison had 10 points, while Reuvers had nine points, eight rebounds and seven blocked shots.

“It’s a great atmosphere,” Reuvers said. “They’ve got a lot of good fans here. It was a very fun game to play in.”

It was another banner night defensively for Gard’s club. For a seventh time in 12 conference games, the Badgers held an opponent to under 40-percent shooting. Minnesota managed to hit just 35.1-percent of its shots, by far the worst effort for the Gophers in Big Ten play this season.

“That’s huge because we didn’t have a great offensive game tonight,” Reuvers said. “Our defense, we definitely stepped up there and got the win.”

Wisconsin played another relatively clean game, turning the ball over just six times, tied for its lowest total in a Big Ten road game this season. It helped the Badgers move to 5-1 away from the Kohl Center in conference play.

Senior Jordan Murphy led Minnesota with 16 points and 19 rebounds, while freshman Daniel Oturu had 12 points and 11 boards.

The win pushed Wisconsin to 17-6 on the year and 9-3 in Big Ten play. It leaves the Badgers sitting in a third-place tie with Michigan State and just a game back of first-place Michigan, their opponent this Saturday.

Wisconsin in Bracketology

Wisconsin has won five-straight games and put itself into a very good position to make the NCAA Tournament after missing last year’s Big Dance for the first time in 20 seasons.

At 16-6, the Badgers already have more wins this season than they did all of last year, and their current winning streak has them sitting just a game out of first place in the Big Ten.

With about six weeks until Selection Sunday, here’s where various outlets have Wisconsin in the bracket.

CBS Sports: No. 5 seed playing UC Irvine in San Jose

ESPN.com: No. 5 seed playing Hofstra in Hartford

NCAA.com: No. 6 seed playing Wofford in Jacksonville

Fox Sports: No. 4 seed playing Belmont

SBNation: No. 4 seed playing Vermont in Hartford

T-Ranketology: No. 4 seed (99.7% chance of making the tournament)

TeamRankings.com: No. 6 seed (98% chance of making the tournament)

Bracketville: No. 4 seed playing Vermont in San Jose

Bracketeer: No. 4 seed playing New Mexico State in Salt Lake City

MakingTheMadness: No. 4 seed playing Belmont in Salt Lake City

BracketMatrix (collection of all bracketology sites): No. 5 seed

The Swing: Feb. 5, 2019

On this week’s episode of “The Swing,” Zach and Jesse talk about Wisconsin’s five-game winning streak, are joined by assistant coach Dean Oliver and answer your Twitter questions.

6:43 — Jesse thinks Wisconsin is good enough to beat any team in the country right now.

9:53 — Dean Oliver interview

22:20 — Fact or Fiction

1) The Big Ten is the best conference in the country.
2) The 20-game conference schedule will hurt the Big Ten come postseason play.
3) Minnesota is the game I’m most confident Wisconsin will win of the next three.
4) Ethan Happ will deserve to have his jersey retired at some point down the line.

36:13 — Twitter questions