Wisconsin confirms the hiring of former OL coach Bob Bostad as its ILB coach.

MADISON — Wisconsin confirmed late Friday morning that it has hired former offensive line coach Bob Bostad as the team’s inside linebackers coach.

“I’ve had the privilege to work with Bob for a number of years. I know who he is as a coach (and) a person. I think it’s a great fit,” coach Paul Chryst told UWBadgers.com. “He’s been here. He knows the type of kids that have success at Wisconsin. Couldn’t really be more excited to have Bob here.”

Bostad is filling the void left by Justin Wilcox leaving to take the head coaching job at California. It will be Bostad’s first time on the defensive side of the ball in his 27-year career, though he did play linebacker in college at UW-Stevens Point in the late 1980s.

“Defensively, a lot of the conversations are about how to stop the run game, how to beat protections. As an offensive line coach, he’s been looking at defenses, specifically the front seven,” Chryst said. “I know he can teach. I know he can coach. I think it’s a great tool, especially for our veteran linebackers, to keep expanding their growth. I think they get to see the game through a little different lens.”

Bostad is more well known as an offensive line coach, serving in that post at Wisconsin from 2008 to 2011 after spending his first two seasons coaching the tight ends and serving as running game coordinator. Over his six years in Madison, Bostad coached 11 players that went on to get drafted in the NFL, including three first-round picks.

“There will be a learning curve and all that,” Bostad told UWBadgers.com of the move to defense. “I hope to take the edge off in the spring and all that stuff. Get to know the base defense and the calls and the fits and coverages and all those things. But after that, I think it’s going to come down to, like any other position, it’s going to come down to the details.”

Bostad went with Chryst when he got the Pittsburgh head coaching job in 2012 but never coached a game, instead being tabbed to coach the line with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFL. He was there for two years before taking the same position with the Tennessee Titans. He spent last season coaching the tight ends and fullbacks at Northern Illinois.

The group Bostad inherits is among the more talented on the Wisconsin roster. The Badgers return their top six inside linebackers from 2016, including juniors T.J. Edwards and Ryan Connelly, while senior Jack Cichy and sophomore Chris Orr will be back on the field after injuries end their seasons early last fall.

“It seems like a really blue collar group. Tough guys, finish guys,” Bostad said. “I like that mentality and what they’re going to bring to the table.”

Wisconsin falls in both national polls

MADISON — Despite a week in which it beat No. 23 Maryland, the Wisconsin basketball team tumbled in both national polls released on Monday.

The Badgers dropped five spots in the AP Top 25 to No. 16 and from No. 10 to No. 15 in the USA Today Coaches Poll.

It was a mixed bag for coach Greg Gard and his club last week. After losing to Northwestern on Jan. 12, the Badgers went on the road and fell at Michigan last Thursday — their first back-to-back losses of the season. They regained some semblance of stability on Sunday in a win over the Terrapins, but it wasn’t enough to sway voters.

Wisconsin was one of three Big Ten teams in both polls, with Purdue at No. 16 and Maryland at No. 24 in each survey.

The Badgers will hit the road twice this week, with a visit to Ohio State on Thursday, followed by a date with Michigan State on Sunday.

You can find both polls here.

Wisconsin picks up three in-state commitments in the class of 2018

MADISON — Wisconsin added three commitments to its class of 2018 on Monday.

First, it was Catholic Memorial (Waukesha, Wis.) inside linebacker C.J. Goetz, who received a scholarship offer from the Badgers on Sunday. He wasted no time in pulling the trigger, calling coach Paul Chryst Monday morning to commit.

Then, Kimberly (Kimberly, Wis.) defensive end Boyd Dietzen followed suit, announcing his commitment to the Badgers just before noon.

And finally, Menominee (Menominee, Wis.) linebacker Mason Platter gave his verbal pledge early in the afternoon.

Goetz, a 3-star recruit, according to 247 Sports, chose the Badgers over offers from Bowling Green, New Mexico and Northern Illinois. Michigan State and several other Big Ten schools were showing interest in the 6-foot-3, 205-pounder.

Dietzen, a three-time state champion at Kimberly, picked Wisconsin over recent offers from Minnesota, Iowa State and Syracuse. 247 Sports lists the 6-foot-3, 235-pound Dietzen as the No. 19 defensive end in the country, and the No. 1 player in the state of Wisconsin for 2018.

Platter is the third commitment from Menominee in as many years, joining linebacker Mason Stokke from 2016 and lineman Alex Fenton in 2017. A 3-star recruit, the 6-foot-5, 220-pound Platter had a scholarship offer from Northern Illinois, but as generating interest from Iowa and Minnesota.

The trio joins quarterback Ben Bryant (La Grange, Ill.), safety Reggie Pearson (River Rouge, Mich.) and safety Trent Ingalls (Menasha, Wis.) as commitments in 2018.

Wisconsin snaps a two-game losing streak with a 71-60 win over Maryland

MADISON — No. 11 Wisconsin turned a six-point halftime deficit into a much needed double-digit win on Sunday, snapping a two-game losing streak by beating No. 23 Maryland 71-60 at the Kohl Center.

“I thought guys, especially in the second half, answered the bell, so to speak,” coach Greg Gard said of his team’s effort.

After managing to hit just 28 percent of their shots in the first half, the Badgers saw Nigel Hayes and Ethan Happ shoot a combined 9 of 15 after the break on their way to making 51.5 percent from the field in the second half. Add in the fact they turned the ball over just once in the final 20 minutes and limited Maryland to just eight made field goals, and it was clear why they were successful.

“That was more like (who) this team is,” Gard said.

Hayes, two days after saying he needed to be more assertive and step his game up, did just that, scoring a game-high 21 points and grabbing 10 rebounds — his second double-double in Big Ten play. Nine of his points came at the free throw line, an indication of his aggressiveness.

“We’re not the best outside shooting team, currently,” said Hayes, who was 0 of 2 from 3-point range on a team that made just 2 of their 12 shots from deep. “I tried to do my best to get to the rim, try to draw some fouls.”

Happ scored 20 points and added seven rebounds despite dealing with foul trouble in the second half.

But the biggest lift may have come in the form of Bronson Koenig. Wisconsin prepared like they wouldn’t have the senior guard for a second straight game due to a calf injury, but he ended up coming off the bench and played 31 minutes.

His first make, a 3-pointer, tied the game at 36 with 16:29 left. The next time down the court he hit a jumper to give the Badgers a 38-36 lead. He made two more shots later in the game and finished with nine points, all in the second half.

“It was great for him to get back in the flow of things,” senior Zak Showalter said of Koenig. “He’s had five days off so he was a little bit slow but it was good to see him come in and contribute.”

Koenig wasn’t the only one off the bench to help. Redshirt freshman Brevin Pritzl, who didn’t play a minute in the loss to Michigan on Thursday, gave the Badgers seven points and seven rebounds, including five on the offensive end, which led to six second-chance points for Wisconsin.

Maryland was paced by Melo Trimble’s 27 points, but the junior guard didn’t play in the final 4:32, with coach Mark Turgeon saying he was tired, pointing to five missed free throws during the game.

The win leaves Wisconsin (22-5, 11-3 Big Ten) in a tie with Purdue atop the Big Ten with four games to play.

The Badgers next to contests are on the road, with a trip to Ohio State on Thursday and a visit to Michigan State on Sunday.

Notes:

— Former Wisconsin running back James White was honored during the game for his performance in Super Bowl LI. He caught a Super Bowl-record 14 passes and scored three touchdowns, including the game-winner in overtime to help the New England Patriots beat the Atlanta Falcons and win their second title in three years.

— Green Bay Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson was in attendance, sitting behind the Wisconsin bench. He was recognized during the game as well as the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year.

— Former Wisconsin forward Duje Dukan, currently playing with the Chicago Bulls’ D-League team, was also at the game.

Gard: ‘I don’t know when (or) if’ Bronson Koenig will return

Wisconsin’s offense could certainly use a boost from a healthy Bronson Koenig, but it’s unclear whether the Badgers will get that when they host Maryland on Sunday.

The senior guard was held out of Thursday’s 64-58 loss at Michigan due to a calf injury suffered against Penn State on Jan. 24.

“I don’t know,” coach Greg Gard said when asked if Koenig would be available for the game against the Terrapins. “It’ll be day-to-day. It has been — and will be — in the medical staff’s hands. They’ll tell me what his status is each day.

“I don’t know when (or) if (he’ll return). I don’t know any more than I did before the game that he wasn’t going to play (Thursday night).”

In the five games after the injury, Koenig hit just 7 of 31 shots from 3-point range and was shooting under 30 percent overall — both figures a steep decline from his career numbers. And it just so happens the injury coincides with the Badgers dip in production on the offensive end.

After shooting under 40 percent in two of their first 20 games of the season with a healthy Koenig in the lineup, the Badgers have been under that figure in four straight games — the longest such streak for the program since the start of the 2003-2004 season. And after averaging more than 76 points per game to start the season, that number is down to 60.8 over the last six.

Koenig’s replacement on Thursday, true freshman D’Mitrik Trice, was up and down, handing out four assists with just two turnovers, but also shooting a dismal 2 of 15 from the field.

“He got himself in some positions where he had to take tough shots,” Gard said. “I’ll break it down shot-by-shot of what was good and what was not. I thought he got himself in trouble at times, too. But he also found himself open a few times, too, and you got to knock down shots when you have the opportunity.”

D’Mitrik Trice to get his first career start in place of an injured Bronson Koenig

Wisconsin will be without their starting point guard when they take on Michigan Thursday night.

The team announced that senior point guard Bronson Koenig will miss the game as he deals with a calf strain that has hampered him since first injuring it against Penn State on Jan. 24.

“The medical staff made a decision (on Wednesday),” coach Greg Gard told UWBadgers.com “We knew it was unlikely he was going to play and then (we) made a final determination (Thursday) morning.”

In Koenig’s place will be true freshman D’Mitrik Trice, who is averaging 5.5 points and 1.6 assists per game.

“He’s ready for this moment,” Gard said. “I’ve said all along he’s wiser and older than his freshman year says in the program. It’s a great opportunity for him.”

Trice said Tuesday he was preparing like he was going to start, and he spent the entire week as the No. 1 point guard with Koenig sitting out.

“(I) just have to go out and do what I need to do to help my team win,” Trice said of his role. “Whether that’s pass the ball, come off screens and find open guys or knock down the 15-footer, hit an open 3 here and there and just direct the offense.”

Koenig had seen his performance drop off significantly since the injury, making just 7 of 31 shots from beyond the arc and shooting under 30 percent from the field overall.

“We know it’s huge loss,” senior Nigel Hayes said this week. “As I’ve always answered when another team loses a key player, other players will step up. That’s just what happens.

“We know what Bronson does. Bronson takes his shots. All that means is there are more shots for someone else, another opportunity for someone to step up.

“Trice has been playing well. Brevin (Pritzl) has been doing well. Gives more opportunities for Jordan (Hill) and those guys to step up and try and make something happen.”

Entering the day, No. 11 Wisconsin (21-4, 10-2) owns a 1/2 game lead in the Big Ten on Purdue and Maryland.

Nigel Hayes a finalist for the Senior CLASS Award

MADISON — Nigel Hayes has proven to be far more than just a basketball player during his time at Wisconsin. The senior has taken a visible role in the Black Lives Matter movement and in pushing for college athletes to be compensated for their contributions to the multi-billion dollar business that is the NCAA.

It was for those reasons, along with his involvement in the Badgers Give Back program and strong academic history, that he was named one of 10 finalists for the Senior CLASS Award on Wednesday.

“I believe it is our responsibility as people to try to better the world around us, but I recognize that the platform I have allows for greater visibility,” Hayes said in a release from the school. “I’m trying to use that influence I have to make a positive change.”

In addition to his role in the community, Hayes is also a 3.0 student and two-time Big Ten Academic honoree as a business finance and investment banking major.

On the floor, Hayes is averaging 13.6 points, 5.9 rebounds and 2.9 assists for a Badgers squad that is ranked No. 11 in the country.

CLASS is an acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School. Hayes is the fourth Wisconsin player to be named a finalist, with Alando Tucker winning the award in 2007. This year’s winner will be announced at the 2017 Final Four in Phoenix.

The other finalists are:

Jaron Blossomgame, Clemson
Evan Bradds, Belmont
Josh Hart, Villanova
Josh Hawkinson, Washington State
Amile Jefferson, Duke
Peter Jok, Iowa
Przemek Karnowski, Gonzaga
Tim Kempton, Lehigh
Frank Mason III, Kansas

Penn State snaps Wisconsin’s 5-game winning streak

MADISON | Wisconsin’s five-game winning streak came to a screeching halt on Friday night, as No. 10 Penn State rolled into town and beat the Badgers 6-3.

Wisconsin out-shot the Nittany Lions 14-8 in the first period, but couldn’t take advantage of any of those opportunities, with goalie Peyton Jones shutting things down. While the Badgers struggled, Penn State got goals from David Goodwin and Brandon Biro to take a 2-0 lead after one.

The Badgers showed life in the second period, with Seamus Malone knocking home his eighth goal of the year, followed by captain Luke Kunin finding the back of the net on the power play just 1:02 later to tie the game at 2. The goal was Kunin’s 18th of the year.

But Penn State had a swift answer, retaking the lead less than a minute later thanks to Denis Smimov’s 12th goal of the year.

“Yeah, a little bit,” Kunin said when asked if the quick strike back took their momentum away. “We have to keep our emotions (in check). Never too high, never too low during a game like that.

“We have to be better on the bench when things like that happen and bounce back quicker.”

Goodwin would add his second goal of the night for the Nittany Lions, giving them a 4-2 lead at the end of two.

A Trevor Hamilton short-handed goal just 56 seconds into the third period essentially sealed the game for Penn State, which snapped a four-game losing streak with the victory.

A late goal from Wisconsin’s Jake Linhart, his fourth of the year, and then an empty-netter from Penn State topped off the scoring.

The Badgers fell to 15-9-1 on the year, and 8-3 in the Big Ten. Thanks to a Minnesota loss, Wisconsin stayed in a tie for first place in the conference with the Gophers.

Wisconsin will look for a split of their two-game series with Penn State on Saturday night, with the puck dropping at 7 p.m.

Happ, Wisconsin’s defense push the No. 10 Badgers past Indiana

MADISON | Wisconsin got 20 points from Ethan Happ and held Indiana to its second-lowest point total of the year in a 65-60 win on Sunday at the Kohl Center.

“I’m not going to claim it’s our most intelligent display of basketball at times,” coach Greg Gard said, “but we were able to do enough good things at the right times.”

The Badgers built a 12-point lead in the first half, but a 14-2 run by the Hoosiers tied things up with 2:33 left. Wisconsin scored just five points in the final 8:22 of the period, and led 27-24 at the break.

The Badgers managed to build a 9-point lead in the first 5:20 of the second half, but another scoring drought allowed a banged-up Indiana squad to stay within single digits the rest of the way, getting within two on a Robert Johnson jumper midway through the period.

Wisconsin seemingly put Indiana away thanks to a 3-pointer from Zak Showalter with 1:37 left to make it 58-50, but the Hoosiers weren’t done. They got a pair of free throws from Josh Newkirk with 28 seconds left to get within three points, before the Badgers hit 5 of 6 free throws to close the game out, earning their 19th straight win at the Kohl Center.

It was another struggle on the offensive end for Wisconsin, who shot 40 percent from the field and just 4 of 17 from beyond the arc. The lone consistent option was Happ, who made 8 of his 10 shots, including a late steal and dunk that gave him his fourth 20-plus point game of the year.

“I don’t think it’s anything we can do except keep shooting,” Happ said of the struggles. “We’ve got shooters and sometimes they just slump a little bit.

“We’ll eventually start making them.”

The Badgers overcame those struggles because of their work on the other end. For the fourth straight game, Wisconsin held its opponent under 1.0 points per possession, a metric the program has lived by since former coach Bo Ryan took over in 2001, with anything under 1.0 being acceptable. Indiana came in a .938.

“Thank goodness there’s two sides of basketball, and we’re able to make up some things on defense,” Nigel Hayes said. “This is a high scoring Indiana team, so to hold them to 60 points is a really good deal for us. It’s the only reason why we won.”

Hayes finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds, with nearly half his points coming at the free throw line. A problem area for the Badgers much of the season, Hayes was 7 of 8 and the team went 23 of 31 from the line.

The win was the seventh in a row for the Badgers, who are now 20-3 on the year and 9-1 in the Big Ten. With the win, and Maryland’s loss on Saturday, Wisconsin now leads the conference by one game on the Terrapins and two games on Purdue.

The Badgers travel to Nebraska this Thursday.