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.

Badgers earn #8 seed in NCAA tournament, will face Virginia Tech Thursday

WASHINGTON D.C. | There’s not many years a team finishes 2nd in the Big Ten regular season and 2nd in the Big Ten Tournament and ends up with an 8 seed in the NCAA tournament. But this is not your normal year. Despite finishing the season 25-9 and 2nd in both the conference regular season and tournament, Wisconsin will be an 8 seed in the NCAA east region. The Badgers will play 9 seed Virginia Tech on Thursday in Buffalo, New York.  The winner most likely faces #1 seed Villanova on Saturday. Villanova is the defending national champs and faces the play-in winner of No. 16 Mount St. Mary’s and New Orleans.


This marks the 19th straight N.C.A.A. tournament appearance for Wisconsin, tied for the fourth-longest current streak in the country.


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 drops season finale vs Ohio State 3-1

MADISON, Wis  Saturday night at the Kohl Center was filled with celebration, as four seniors were honored, all alumni were recognized and the 1977 NCAA championship team celebrated its 40th anniversary.

However, the Badgers (19-14-1, 12-8-0-0 Big Ten) were unable to finish the evening with a happy mood as they were defeated by Ohio State (20-10-6, 11-8-1-1) by a 3-1 score at the Kohl Center.

“The effort was there. I wouldn’t question our effort yesterday either,” head coach Tony Granato said. “I question the fact that we came out a little bit, waiting to see what was going to happen instead of trying to dictate how the game’s going to be played.”

OSU began the scoring just 2:46 into the first period on a power-play goal from Mason Jobst, his 18th of the year.

The Badgers looked to quickly respond, but they were outshot during the period, 10-7, and headed into the first intermission trailing by one.

Jack Berry made nine saves in the opening stanza.

The Buckeyes grabbed control of the game in the second period, adding a second goal 10:42 into the period on Kevin Miller’s 11th of the season.

Wisconsin wasn’t able to capitalize on two power plays during the period and were put in a three-goal hole on the latter man-advantage as Brendon Kearney scored a short-handed goal to make it 3-0 in favor of the Buckeyes with just over two minutes to play in the second.

“It’s pretty tough when they’re blocking a lot of shots. I think they had 20 plus shots this game,” Ryan Wagner said. “It’s kind of what coach said between the second and third periods, just throw a little fake in there and if another guy comes to block it throw it off the back wall. We can’t really be giving them all of those blocks like that because they build off that.”

In terms of shots on goal, the third period was the strongest for the Badgers, as they outshot OSU 10-5. Matt Ustaski seemed to cut the Buckeyes’ lead to 3-1 after he beat Tomkins. However, the play was challenged and ruled offside, nullifying the marker.

Luke Kunin was eventually able to make it 3-1 on a power-play goal 11:37 into the final period. The captain finished off a cross-ice feed from Cameron

Hughes for his 21st of his sophomore campaign. Trent Frederic also earned an assist on the play.

The Cardinal and White continued to push for goals but they were unable to find the back of the net, falling 3-1 in their regular-season finale.

Berry finished with 25 saves on 28 shots on the evening.

“I mean obviously it’s disappointing,” Kunin said. “It’s not the way we wanted the weekend to go, but our group’s bounced back all year and we’ve had a lot of ups and downs but I believe in this group and what we can accomplish.”

The Big Ten tournament starts next weekend in Detroit and the Badgers will be the second seed in the single-elimination championship. UW will play on Friday, March 17 against the winner of Ohio State and Michigan State at 3:30 p.m. CT. Those two will play on Thursday at 3:30 p.m. CT.

The Big Ten championship games takes place Saturday, March 18 at 7 p.m. CT.


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.

Buckeyes steamroll Badgers 5-1

MADISON, Wis. — Goaltending proved to be the difference as Ohio State defeated Wisconsin 5-1 at the Kohl Center Friday night.

The Badgers outshot the Buckeyes 29-17 but the Buckeyes’ Matt Tomkins stopped 28 of the 29 shots he faced. Wisconsin, on the other hand, was forced to roll with the struggling Jack Berry due to an injury suffered in the second period by Matt Jurusik.

About five minutes into the contest, penalties by both teams equaled two minutes of four-on-four play, where Wisconsin seemed to have the upper hand in terms of possession. But lazy passing by the Badgers nearly resulted in turnovers on two occasions during the power play. That lack of discipline also meant a couple missed chances at shots on goal.

But it didn’t take long for Ohio State to take advantage of Wisconsin’s miscues. 8:54 into the first period, Miguel Fidler’s pass was deflected off a Wisconsin player and cleaned up by Drew Brevig , who found the net while surrounded by white jerseys. It only took three minutes for the score to become lopsided in the Buckeyes’ favor. David Gust scored his 16th goal of the year just seconds after the puck was dropped for a faceoff in Wisconsin’s zone.

The second period was more of the same, as Dakota Joshua scored with 12:56 left before intermission to make it 3-0 Ohio State. That appeared to end Berry’s night, replaced by Jurusik. But after the Badgers struck back on a Matt Ustaski power play goal, Jurusik would leave the game with an injury and Berry would re-enter the game.

Berry’s nightmare continued at the 14:22 mark after Fidler showed his play-making ability on a deke move to give the Buckeyes a 4-1 lead. The Kohl Center crowd went silent after realizing Wisconsin is just 5-9-0 when opponents score four or more goals. Down by three, the Badgers are facing a 1-10-1 record when trailing after two periods.

Wisconsin tried to mount a comeback in the third period, but a goal was disallowed because of a J.D. Greenway penalty on the Badger end of the ice. The last time Wisconsin had overcome a three-goal deficit was Feb. 6, 2004 against North Dakota. To make matters worse, the Buckeyes tacked on another goal just moments later when Mason Jobst found the back of the net on a power play.

Frustrations came to a head with 5:25 remaining when Seamus Malone received a five-minute major penalty for spearing and a game disqualification.

Badgers hold off Hoosiers 70-60 to advance to Big Ten tournament semifinals

WASHINGTON D.C. | For the third time this season the Badger men’s basketball team beat Indiana | this time for a trip to the Big Ten tournament semifinals. Wisconsin won 70-60 and was led Bronson Koenig who scored 16 points and hit 4-of-5 three pointers. Ethan Happ also scored 14 points and had 12 rebounds. Zach Showalter added 12 points and Nigel Hayes 10.

Hayes was forced to sit much of the first half after picking up two quick fouls. It was the second straight game the Badgers lost one of their stars to early foul trouble. In both cases Wisconsin was able to weather the storm. Last Sunday it was Koenig against against Minnesota and Friday night Hayes against Indiana.  Hayes hit his first two shots and had 6 points in the first five minutes but then picked up his second foul.  Six Badgers helped pick up the slack scoring five or more points in the first half.

Wisconsin came into the Big Ten tournament as the #2 seed but took the court as the top seed remaining because #1 seed Purdue lost to Michigan on Friday. The Badgers will play either Maryland or Northwestern Saturday afternoon in a Big Ten tournament semifinal.