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Take notes on March

first_imgWell, spring break is over. That means it?s time to hit thebooks again, head back to the classrooms and libraries, and spend hoursstudying something other than your bracket. But while classes may not have metover the past week, that doesn?t mean nothing was to be learned, as the firsttwo rounds of the NCAA tournament unfolded.After 48 games, many lessons have been demonstrated thatcan?t be found in any textbook or taught by any professor:?Friends will help you get places in life ? or in thetournament.USC?s O.J. Mayo and Kansas State?s Michael Beasley foundthat out the hard way. The two freshmen phenoms found themselves head-to-headin the first round, with Beasley and K-State prevailing. Mayo lead the Trojanswith 20 points, but the rest of the team couldn?t pull its weight in an 80-67loss.And despite putting up 23 points for the Wildcats againstthe Badgers in the second round, Beasley ? a one-man wonder ? found himselfheading back to Kansas while the more balanced Wisconsin team moved on to theSweet 16.?All you need is love ? Kevin Love.Another freshman sensation that has flown slightly under theradar with the emergence of Mayo and Beasley was simply unstoppable in thefirst two rounds. A 20-point effort against Mississippi Valley State and a19-point, 11-rebound showing in a close win over Texas A&M showed that thiskid is for real.It must have been him that the Beatles were singing about.??Torero? is Spanish for bullfighter.Bet you didn?t learn that in Spanish 101. But after the No.13 seed University of San Diego stunned No. 4 UConn in the first round, theentire country was shouting ?Ole!? for the Toreros.?Tampa is German for Upset City.OK, so that may not be a direct translation. But the fourlower seeds ? No. 12s Villanova and Western Kentucky and No. 13s USD and Siena? all advanced to the second round in that region.(The Badger football team must not speak Deutsch, since theyfailed to upset Tennessee in Tampa?s Outback Bowl.)?Never trust experts. They don?t know what they?re talkingabout.Well, this might not always be true. But when it comes topicking a bracket, forget what all the so-called ?bracketologists? try to sellyou. Don?t let the title fool you ? they didn?t actually major in selectingbasketball games. (Although how cool would that be if you could?)Take a gander at Sports Illustrated?s predictions, forexample, in their most recent issue. They had some very questionable picks ?Oral Roberts over Pitt, for example ? that illustrate this point exactly. Onthe flip side of the coin, nobody ? not even ?experts? ? can predict upsets.While SI did have Siena over Vanderbilt correct, there?s no way anyone wasgoing to pick all of the aforementioned upsets (San Diego and friends)correctly.But that?s the beauty behind the Madness.?Watch out when the clock strikes midnight.Every year, Gonzaga is the trendy pick as the tournament?s?Cinderella,? even if they?re a No. 7 seed, as they were this year. Forwhatever reason, people like them. But those days have come and passed, as wasevident by their first-round defeat at the hands of Wisconsin?s next opponent:Davidson, this year?s Cinderella after topping second-seeded Georgetown onSunday.?Don?t stay up past your bedtime.I?m looking at you, Purdue Baby Boilers. Robbie Hummell andCo. might have been a great story in the regular season ? they?re the only teamto beat the Badgers in conference play, and they did it twice ? but cometournament season, there are times when experience trumps youth. Case in point:Xavier. There?s a reason the No. 1 seeds were top seeds. They rely on abalanced attack from veteran players (with the exception of the freshman Loveat UCLA).?Cheaters never win.Isn?t that right, Indiana?Now before you attack me, I know the players and currentcoaches are not to blame for the whole Kelvin Sampson debacle. But sinceSampson resigned, the Hoosiers fell off the face of the planet, buried in aheap of controversy. They were upset by Minnesota in the Big Ten Tournament (onone of the most miraculous shots in recent memory) and were then upended byninth-seeded Arkansas in the opening round.For a team that once looked to be a contender for a titlebehind Eric Gordon and D.J. White, the Hoosiers panned out to be one of the biggestflops of the year.?So there you have it. If you keep these lessons in mindthroughout the rest of the month of March and into April, you?re golden. Skipyour lectures, sleep in until game time, and take notes from the greatestpostseason tournament of any sport.But when it comes time to explain to your parents thatyou?re failing economics, you?re on your own. Bo Ryan and Tyler Hansbroughcan?t help you there.?Tyler is a junior majoring in journalism (with anintended certificate in bracketology). Talk college hoops with him at tmason@badgerherald.com.last_img read more

McCue: Ryan may start guard-heavy lineup next season

first_imgKelsey Fenton / The Badger HeraldThe hangover has faded, all but disappeared. Spring football and an intriguing quarterback battle has replaced the dark memories of a certain game in Kansas City that’s buried in the furthest reaches of every Wisconsin fan’s mind after less than three weeks.Like every college socialite who pledges to never again let alcohol come within temptation’s reach the morning after a particularly rowdy night on State Street only to renege on that promise the following night, it’s amazing how quickly fans can forget such sour memories. With the mourning period of Wisconsin’s ugly loss to Ole Miss in its opening game of the NCAA tournament finished, it’s time to look forward with unbridled optimism, to let imaginations run wild with what could be.Such is the cycle of sports and even my own cynical mind is not averse to dreaming about what the near future holds for Wisconsin men’s basketball. Though this may be the natural mental cycle for any overcommitted sports fan, the combination of experience and raw talent returning has set the stakes enticingly high for next season.Much of that bubbling optimism can be credited to one player: Sam Dekker. As a true freshman, he was the Badgers’ most efficient scorer and managed to fulfill the promise he came in with as one of the country’s top 20 recruits. Despite ranking sixth on the team in minutes (22.3 per game), his 9.6 points per game were just 1.5 below that of UW’s leading scorer, junior guard Ben Brust.The even more telling number was 47.8 percent, Dekker’s team-leading field goal percentage. Pair that with a 40.7 percent conversion rate from three-point territory in the regular season, fifth-best in the Big Ten and a full percentage point better than Brust, who still earned a reputation as Wisconsin’s most dangerous sharpshooter.More importantly, anyone who watches Dekker for any significant period sees the potential for him to become an offensive anchor in 2013-14, the kind of pure scorer this year’s team lacked. It’s no coincidence that he led the team in shooting percentage. His refreshing aggression and ability to create his own shot opened up lanes to the hoop and gave him higher percentage looks closer to the basket.But Dekker must first be given a leash long enough to allow him to showcase his rare offensive talent. It was no secret Dekker’s flaky defense kept him from starting as a freshman, and though head coach Bo Ryan should have no reason to hold him back next year, it’s about the only thing that could keep him from a breakout sophomore campaign. If Dekker doesn’t lead the team in scoring (and even shot attempts) next year, it would be a surprise.Next most important on the list of returnees is junior guard Josh Gasser. After missing his entire junior campaign, Gasser is not critical to this team so much for his scoring ability, but for the stabilizing presence he brings to the floor. He is the grandfather-like figure, the calming voice in the huddle when the Badgers are down 10 on the road in a decisive conference game late in the season. As a sophomore two years ago, Gasser was on the floor more than 80 percent of the time.His 7.6 points and 1.9 assists per game should both improve in his third year as a starter. While his point totals are not overwhelming, he can drive to the basket with regularity – a skill that was in short supply on this year’s team. Now sharing the hardwood with an electric scorer like Dekker, Gasser should become an even distributor as he becomes more comfortable manning the point.By now you may be wondering why I haven’t made more than a brief mention of Brust. He will be a key accessory in next year’s backcourt, but if the offense operates as planned, he should be Wisconsin’s third scoring option. He can be an absolute lights-out shooter, especially when he gets his feet set – like the Badgers’ version of Nik Stauskas.Yet Brust was often reluctant to penetrate the lane instead of settling for an outside look (61.5 percent of his shot attempts were three-pointers this season) and is best suited for a “pure shooter” role with Gasser back in the lineup. He is the type of player who will erupt on a few nights for 20-plus points and keep opposing defenses honest by forcing them to defend beyond the three-point arc.Next comes a player who best fits the “wild card” designation: junior forward Frank Kaminsky. Still a slender 230 pounds, the 6-foot-11 forward is the closest thing Wisconsin will have to a true scoring threat in the post next year.He is by no stretch a traditional big man, but if Kaminsky trades in his trigger-happy three-pointers for better looks in the paint, he could become a dynamic offensive player who creates serious matchup issues. He is by far the least experienced of the five probable starters, averaging just more than 10 minutes per game in 2012-13, and needs to make bigger strides than any other projected starter for this unit to shift into its highest gear.Leading the race for that fifth spot on the floor is Traevon Jackson. Jackson, a shooting guard by trade, did an admirable job taking on the starting point guard spot after Gasser went down. The sophomore also never shied away from the big moment, hitting game-winning shots against Penn State and Minnesota.The guard-heavy rotation seems like the best option unless incoming freshman Nigel Hayes or Vitto Brown show they are well ahead of the steep freshman curve – unlikely considering even Dekker did not pass that test. Aside from the relatively inexperienced Kaminsky, each of these players has averaged at least 6.9 points per game. Together, this could bring a sizable jump in offensive production (dare I say, more than 70 points a game?) for a team that unraveled due to a complete lack of consistent scoring.Let the visions of Dekker’s high-flying slams off a nifty no-look pass from Gasser and followed by a punch-in-the-gut deep three-pointer by Brust take hold. Because this is the season of speculation, and with the NCAA tournament finished, what else are we supposed to do?The cycle turns on.Ian is a senior majoring in journalism. What are your predictions for next year’s basketball team? Let him know by email at imccue@badgerherald.com or on Twitter @imccue.last_img read more

312 Teams Qualify for Trophy 5-a-side Next Stage

first_imgTo qualify for the super fan draws, fans are to visit select bars where they will get a scratch card upon purchase of at least two bottles of Trophy lager. With the scratch card, fans can win either t-shirts, face caps or receive a raffle ticket. At the finals of the tournament, a live raffle draw will be held and four lucky winners selected to go on the trip to Tanzania. A fifth winner will be selected via online draws.The maiden edition of the tournament is currently taking place the across four states of Lagos, Ogun, Oyo and Osun States as a pilot phase. Subsequent editions will cover more states and eventually extend to the 36 states of the federation. The next round of matches will begin April 13 and 14 across the four states.In Lagos, they will hold at National Stadium Surulere, Trade Fair Complex Mini Stadium, Ojo and Gbagada mini stadium. In Oyo State, matches will take place at the Liberty stadium, Ibadan, Adamasigba stadium, Ibadan and Ogbomoso stadium.Matches in Osun will take place at the OAU football field, Arubidi football field, Ile-Ife and Osun State University football field, Oshogbo.In Ogun State, the draws and matches will happen live at the MKO Abiola stadium, Abeokuta, practice pitch Dipa Dina stadium, Ijebu Ode and Honda football field, Sango.All participating teams will go home with memorabilia and other merchandise in appreciation of their participation. The semi-final and final matches will take place May 11.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram With the conclusion of the first round of knock-out matches, the Trophy 5-a-side Field of Honour tournament has entered the next round geared towards producing the successful 16 teams that will vie for the top prize.The first round matches were exciting as teams came with their supporters who cheered them on to victory, fighting for the top position that will see them play for N3 million, as well as, earn bragging rights of being the best 5-a-side team in the country. In addition, the winning team will proceed to the Pan African regional finals taking place in Tanzania to compete for the African title. They will also have the opportunity of meeting with Samuel Eto’o, the African ambassador for the tournament.Five lucky winners, also known as super fans, will be selected to accompany the victorious team to Tanzania on an all-expense paid trip. The selection of the super fans has commenced and four of the super fans will be selected via in-bar recruitments across the four states. One super fan will be selected online.last_img read more