17 Sep
2020

Braun: NCAA Tournament lock for Bo’s squad

first_imgFor you few avid Point-Counterpoint followers, you would know that a couple weeks ago, I predicted that the University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team would make the NCAA Tournament.You probably all would have laughed in my face, considering the Badgers couldn’t buy a win at the time. They were in the midst of a six-game losing streak and blew lead after lead.Now, four wins later, including two big home wins over then-No. 23 Illinois and a tough Ohio State squad, I think I can safely say that the Badgers are NCAA Tournament bound. This time, though, I don’t think I would get ridiculed for saying so.Whatever was plaguing the Badgers during their six-game losing streak seems to have gone away. Saturday’s game is a perfect example to show how Wisconsin has put its rough stretch out of its mind.For those who watched the game Saturday, it seemed like the Badgers wouldn’t be able to pull out the victory. I mean, if you saw the way they played two weeks ago, you would just figure that they would find a way to lose the game. They couldn’t beat Iowa or Northwestern, but they would be able to pull out a win over a very talented Ohio State team?Well, I guess the Badgers are back.Before the game on Saturday, ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi had the Badgers as one of the last four teams in the Big Dance. Now, with a big win against the Buckeyes on the nation’s center stage, getting to the tournament shouldn’t be much of a problem.UW has two home games and three road matches remaining on its schedule. Although it might be presumptuous to say the Badgers will beat Michigan State or Minnesota on the road, they should be able to win the rest of their home games quite easily.First, Wisconsin heads to Indiana to take on Tom Crean’s joke of a basketball team. The Hoosiers have only beaten one team in the Big Ten, and with the Badgers playing as well as they have of late, a loss at Assembly Hall seems a bit far-fetched.After they face Michigan State, the Badgers come home to play Michigan and Indiana again. If you remember the way Wisconsin’s defense manhandled the Big Ten’s leading scorer in Manny Harris in the teams’ first match this season, a win at the Kohl Center shouldn’t be too far out of reach.That would leave the Badgers at 10-7 in the Big Ten going into their last game of the season (assuming they beat Indiana twice and lose to Michigan State), a tough road game against Minnesota at The Barn.The first time Wisconsin played the Golden Gophers, it blew a 14-point lead, something that reoccurred time after time during the Badgers’ losing streak. Now, though, the Badgers have a swing of confidence that they didn’t have earlier in the season, especially during that streak.With the season winding down, these aren’t the same Badgers that were NIT bound just two weeks ago. They’ve been doing what they’ve had to do to win their last four games.They’ve been able to allow an opponent to shoot over 50 percent from the field and still get a win.Jason Bohannon can shoot 1-for-8 from 3-point range and the Badgers can still pull it out.Trevon Hughes can miss eight of his nine shots, but it won’t really matter throughout the course of the game.Simply put, everything that wasn’t working then is working now.With only five games remaining, it won’t take so much for the Badgers to get a bid. As Bo Ryan put it after the win against Ohio State, “You have to just find a way.”If the Badgers continue to follow that slogan, then getting to the NCAA Tournament won’t be much of a challenge at all.Jonah is a sophomore majoring in journalism and Hebrew and Semitic studies. Still don’t think the Badgers will make the NCAA Tournament? Can Bo Ryan make it 11 straight seasons for Wisconsin? Send him your thoughts at jbraun@badgerherald.com.last_img read more

Read More
16 Sep
2020

Making waves: New swimming coach Yuri Suguiyama already has championship aspirations

first_imgEvery dominant athletic program begins somewhere — pieces of a puzzle that came together somehow to create a dynasty. What is it that flips the switch? What makes a team turn the corner and become unstoppable?The University of Wisconsin women’s swimming team has never won a single Big Ten championship or NCAA title in school history. While the team has seen many amazing individual careers, they’ve never been able to put the pieces together and become a dominant force in the swim world.Other schools like Stanford, Georgia and Auburn hold five or more NCAA titles in women’s swimming alone. But this season for the women’s swim team may be the turning point we’ve all been waiting for.Former three time Pac-12 championship swim coach from the University of California Yuri Suguiyama has been named the new head coach for Wisconsin. After a mess of new coaching staffs for the past four years, it seems as if Badger Swimming has finally found what it’s been looking for in Suguiyama.Volleyball: Wisconsin comes off win against Illinois, heads to Iowa CityThe kills rained down on the Illinois defenders Wednesday night as Sophomore Dana Rettke went for a career-high 23 kills Read…“At the beginning of the year, we sat down as a staff and made a list of all of the characteristics and qualities of the best athletes we’ve worked with,” Suguiyama said. “Out of all of the most successful teams that I’ve been a part of, there’s been two dominant characteristics: one being trust and the other resilience.”Suguiyama’s positive outlook comes from this list of swimmers who he knew carried these traits — those of champions.UW senior Jess Unicomb has had undeniably one of the best swimming careers at Wisconsin over the past four years. Last year she qualified for three events in the NCAA championships — finishing in the top ten for both the 200 and 100 meter backstroke.Football: Zander Neuville suffers season ending injuryWisconsin Badgers tight end Zander Neuville is likely to miss the remainder of the season after suffering a serious left Read…Unicomb has been a part of countless dominant relay squads in the Big Ten and has even more career awards under her belt. Coming from Australia, she had never thought of traveling to the United States to swim until she was recruited by the Badgers.“We’ve got a really great freshman class,” Unicomb said. “I am excited to leave the team in a better place than when I joined it and I’m jealous of the freshman that they get four years of this coaching staff. They’re awesome.”Eleven freshmen will get that opportunity to work closely with Suguiyama, a group the head coach helped recruit.When asked about her expectations for the future of Badger swimming Unicomb expressed her utmost optimism.“I truly believe this group could win a Big Ten championship and, hopefully, a national one,” Unicomb said. “I have no doubt in my mind that they will reach great things.”Women’s soccer: Wisconsin finishes home stand with draws versus Rutgers, MarylandThe No. 22 University of Wisconsin women’s soccer team (8-2-3, 2-1-3 Big Ten) tied both Rutgers (7-1-4, 3-0-2 Big Ten) Read…For these goals to be met, Wisconsin will rely heavily on their star swimmer, Beata Nelson.Nelson, a junior, has been in the swimming spotlight her entire career. In high school, she was a 12-time state champion and received multiple offers from across the nation.In fact, she never thought she would end up a Badger. But after an unofficial home visit, Nelson was left convinced that Madison was the way to go.With plans for a new pool and facilities at the now under construction Nicholas Recreation Center and a solid team of hardworking individuals she grew up watching, Nelson couldn’t see herself anywhere else.In her freshman year, Nelson was a four-time Big Ten freshman of the week and appeared at both the Big Ten and NCAA championships. By her sophomore season, she qualified for the NCAA championship in three individual events, medaling in two.All eyes had turned on Nelson rapidly, but what did she believe was going to make this program great?“Toughness,” Nelson said. “We are some of the toughest people I’ve ever been around.”Nelson explained that with all the great experiences she has had as a Badger she has no regrets in choosing Wisconsin.Cross Country: Badger men’s, women’s teams impress at Nuttycombe InvitationalThe University of Wisconsin men’s and women’s cross country teams enjoyed successful finishes to Friday’s Nuttycombe Invitational. The event took Read…In just her junior year, Nelson has already raised the expectations for women’s swimming to a completely new level. She has set a high bar with the program but she believes in her freshman class.Though unable to name one single person who will take over the team, Nelson believes that they, along with the new coaching staff, will be exceptional in the years to come.“There is nowhere but up that this program will go,” Nelson said. “This team has the mentality and the work ethic to make anything happen.”Both Nelson and Unicomb have extremely high expectations for not only this season but seasons to come. According to them, all the pieces of the puzzle are there, they just need to be put together. With an exceptional new coaching staff, brand new pool, and solid incoming class of swimmers, what will stop this Badger powerhouse from rising to the top?last_img read more

Read More