Rose Bowl Preview: 1 major edge on TCU held by UW

first_imgThere’s not a whole lot left to be said about this game.The prestige of the Rose Bowl has been examined, the matchups have been analyzed, and we’ve given Texas Christian its due respect.We’ve established in the past two weeks that Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema looks to have set the UW program up for continued success and that this season’s success hinges on not just getting to Pasadena, but coming away with a victory.TCU’s defense is No. 1 in the nation, both in scoring and yardage. The Horned Frogs have a standout quarterback and put up as many points this season as the Badgers did (520). They even rushed for more yards than the vaunted UW running game.Still, there’s one stat Wisconsin beat TCU handily in this season, though it’s hard to quantify. I can’t speak for Texas Christian’s fans; I can only make an educated assessment. But there is one area the Badgers dominated the Horned Frogs in, and in my eyes, it’s not even close. It’s not even up for debate.Yeah, I’ll feed you, baby birds.Badger fans, what are you going to remember about this season?I’ll give you a moment to think about it.Like Pringles, once you pop, the fun don’t stop.It’s hard to pick out one defining moment for this Wisconsin team. Beating No. 1 Ohio State comes to mind. Even then, what was better, David Gilreath’s opening kickoff return for a touchdown or storming the field after the game?You can argue the road win the following week against an Iowa team that wasn’t yet deflated was gutsier and more impressive. That last scoring drive was one for the ages – a fake punt to preserve the game? Montee Ball’s it-looks-better-in-slow-motion touchdown run? Classics.But they wouldn’t have mattered if J.J. Watt doesn’t get that shoestring sack of Ricky Stanzi on the Hawkeye’s comeback bid. Hell, you can point to Watt’s blocked PAT as the biggest play of the game.Bielema exorcised every demon he had left this season – beating OSU, getting signature wins, winning against a ranked team on the road, winning at the Big House, and maybe most importantly, not dropping a game to a lesser team. And if you try to rank those memories, you’re more likely to come up with a 1A, 1B and 1C than a top-three.Meanwhile, TCU had an undefeated season – for the second year in a row. Ho hum. That Utah game turned out to be a wash. The only close game the Horned Frogs won by less than a touchdown was one they’d like to forget, allowing San Diego State to mount a second-half comeback upset bid.Everything TCU did this season was a building block for something else. While the Horned Frogs would love to be playing for a national title, a BCS win over Wisconsin would still legitimize the season. But it’s clear a TCU fan’s memories of the 2010 season hinge on a Rose Bowl win.If at any point Wisconsin had stumbled after Oct. 16, there was still that OSU win to relish. Don’t underestimate the weight beating the No. 1 team in the nation at home has in one’s memory. My roommate’s father could still talk your ear off about Wisconsin’s upset of No. 1 Michigan in 1981.Had TCU lost a game, the season was over. Look at Boise State – the Broncos lost to a ranked team on the road and had to settle for an appearance in the Las Vegas Bowl. What would there have been to remember had SDSU completed the comeback, or had Utah proven to be a legitimate top-10 team? Probably just regret.I don’t mean this as an insult to TCU fans; like I said, I can’t speak for you. I imagine though, if I were in your shoes, there wouldn’t have been a lot to look back on this season had the Horned Frogs stumbled. When you outmatch your competition the whole season, what’s the defining moment? It probably won’t come until Jan. 1, regardless of who wins the Rose Bowl.So I’ll issue a plea I issued back before the Badgers taught the Buckeyes how to Bucky: Savor the moment. That’s for both TCU and UW fans. If you’re in Pasadena, take in the mountains in the distance and the warm weather and the fact your team is in the Rose Bowl and you got to see it. Otherwise, just enjoy the fact you got to watch one on TV in your lifetime. My Gopher fan-father has only been around for one Minnesota Rose Bowl; he was less than a month old at the time.And even if TCU is the victor, Badger Nation, remember this: The Rose Bowl was just one of many good memories from a remarkable season. The Horned Frogs could be hard-pressed to say the same.Adam is a senior majoring in journalism that doesn’t mean to insult TCU fans; if you have a favorite Horned Frogs moment from 2010, share it with him at aholt@badgerherald.com or tweet @AdamJSHolt.last_img read more

Hot shooting carries Badgers to 79-71 victory

first_imgJared Berggren led the Badgers\’ post presence with 16 points and nine boards.[/media-credit]INDIANAPOLIS – His first Big Ten tournament victory since 2008 wasn’t the only achievement Bo Ryan left the court with Friday, as Wisconsin’s 79-71 win over the Indiana Hoosiers also made him the winningest head coach in program history. With the victory, the Badgers will square off with Michigan State in Saturday’s Big Ten tournament semifinals.Despite playing in front of a crowd that recreated the raucous Assembly Hall atmosphere in Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Ryan earned his 266th win with the Badgers to pass legendary coach Bud Foster. Though Indiana never built a lead of more than two and were never up in the final 20 minutes, the Hoosiers climbed within three at the 1:55 mark and refused to let Wisconsin’s hot-handed offense take control.With just under four minutes on the clock, Hoosiers guard Jordan Hulls sunk a jumper that brought his team within one at 63-62, but Jared Berggren and Rob Wilson quieted the run as UW finally built a substantial lead in the game’s closing minute.“Every time we were close to getting momentum going back our way, they made a big play,” Indiana head coach Tom Crean said. “And it was usually Rob Wilson making that play.”Senior swingman Wilson turned into the story of the game – finishing with 30 points on his way to sinking seven three-pointers – but strong, team-wide shooting carried the Badgers through both halves. Finishing 50 percent (13 of 26) from beyond the arc and 48 percent from the field, Wisconsin’s ability to build a rhythm from outside allowed them to push away a talented Indiana squad in the game’s most critical moments.The Hoosiers matched Wilson and co. with similarly strong shooting numbers, but a pair of blocks inside the closing three minutes by Berggren and fellow forward Ryan Evans gave UW the lift it needed to hand Jordan Taylor his first-ever Big Ten tournament win.“Both of those turned out to be pretty big plays,” Berggren said. “They were kind of chipping away at our lead and trying to make a comeback, so any time you can get a stop when they’re trying to get a little momentum going, trying to get the crowd back into it, things like that – both of them were big.”Indiana – powered by three 17-point performances from Hulls and forwards Christian Watford and Cody Zeller – began to chip away at the lead after the midway point of the first half. The Hoosiers went into the locker room down by just five with the crowd growing louder, but it was Wilson who refused to let IU capture the lead.Though the game often turned into the Rob Wilson show, his open looks outside came as a product of Berggren’s success closer to the hoop. The redshirt junior scored 16 points on 5-of-9 shooting and converted all five of his chances from the charity stripe.“They did a great job of fighting back. Every time we kind of pushed our lead up, they just kind of threw it right back down to two or three,” Taylor, a senior guard, said. “We did just a good enough job, like coach said, to withstand the runs.”The Badgers surrendered 71 points to Indiana – the second most any opponent has managed against UW’s stingy defense this year – and struggled to slow down Indiana’s success from the field. Unlike the first matchup between these teams in late January, Big TenFreshman of the Year Cody Zeller found success in the paint andfinished with 17 points. Despite the halftime adjustments Ryan made inan attempt keep the ball out of the post, the freshman forward made morethan half of his shots from the floor and landed Berggren in foultrouble late.However, Wisconsin’s combination of timely stops and dynamic shooting proved to be just enough for a nail-biting victory. As the Badgers worked the ball around the perimeter, Ryan felt his team’s passes and quick ball movement created high percentage shots. “I thought our guys moved the ball extremely well,” Ryan said. “Wasn’t that Indiana wasn’t playing good defense, I just thought we made the extra pass several times and I thought guys spaced better than we have in some games. I think that allowed for open looks.”As the Badgers prepare for a matchup with Michigan State on the same floor Saturday, Wisconsin’s new all-time wins leader believes his team’s ability to win on the road could be key to a championship game run.“We’ve been pretty good on the road, so I wasn’t concerned about that,” Ryan said. “Our guys have confidence away from the Kohl Center … they believe they can get things done.”last_img read more

LBA 2017 Takes Centre Stage in Lagos

first_imgThe 2017 League Bloggers Awards (LBA) end-of-season ceremony is expected to parade the most outstanding performers from the Nigeria Professional Football League (NNL), the Nigeria National League (NNL) and the Nigeria Women’s Premier League (NWPL) when it holds at the Sheraton Hotel in Lagos next Tuesday week.Coaches, clubs and players will vie for recognition in 12 categories at this year’s LBA.The 13th category of the award which is the top goalscorer in the Nigeria top-flight, the NPFL, has already been decided. Lobi Stars forward Anthony Okpotu scored 19 goals last season, one more than MFMFC’s Stephen Odey now with Swiss club FC Zurich, to emerge top scorer.Top among the highlights of the award night will be the prestigious Player of the Season which recognises the best player in the NPFL in the past campaign. Odey, Okpotu, Alhassan Ibrahim and Plateau United defender Daniel Itodo are the shortlists for the NPFL Player of the Season.This year, the LBA has added two new category to cater for the women’s league and the second tier, the NNL. The awards will recognise the best players in the women’s championship and the NNL.Amarachi Okonkwo of Nasarawa Amazons, Patience Kalu of Rivers Angels, FC Robo’s Rasheedat Ajibade and Charity Reuben of Ibom Angels are the nominees for the Best NWPL Player.In the Best NNL Player category, Heartland goalkeeper Ebere Obi, Kwara United free-scoring forward Michael Ohanu, Mohammed Rabiu of Yobe Desert Stars and Bayelsa United’s Kelly Lubo are in the running.Other categories on the night include Best New Player, Best Foreigner, Best Goalkeeper, Best Defender, Best Midfielder, Club of the Year, Coach of the Year, Best NPFL National Team Player and Goal of theSeasonNOMINEES FOR CATEGORIES1. BEST NEW PLAYER*Chinedu Udechukwu (Katsina United)*Destiny Ashadi (Katsina United)*Peter Eneji (Plateau United)*Oche Salefu (Remo Stars)*Wasiu Alalade (ABS FC)2. BEST FOREIGNER*Giscard Tchatto (MFM FC)*Kodjovi Dadzie (Akwa United)* Fatau Dauda (Enyimba)*Idrissa Bamba (FC Ifeanyiubah)3. BEST GOALKEEPER*Aliko Mustapha (Niger Tornadoes)*Olorunleke Ojo (Sunshine Stars/Akwa United)*Dele Ajiboye (Plateau Utd)*Suraj Ayeleso (Nasarawa Utd)4. BEST DEFENDER*Emmanuel Ariwachukwu (Akwa United)*Daniel Itodo (Plateau United)*Elisha Golbe (Plateau United)*Okorom Stanley (MFM FC)5. BEST MIDFIELDER*Ifeanyi Ifeanyi (Akwa United)*Afeez Aremu (Akwa United)*Onuwa Chukwuka (MFM FC)*Batholomew Ibenegbu (Enyimba)*Samuel Matthias (Gombe United)6. CLUB OF THE YEAR*Plateau United*MFM FC*Enyimba*Akwa United7. COACH OF THE YEAR*Kennedy Boboye (Plateau Utd)*Abdu Maikaba (Akwa Utd)*Duke Udi (Sunshine Stars)*Fidelis Ilechukwu (MFM FC)8. BEST NPFL NATIONAL TEAM PLAYER*Ikechukwu Ezenwa (FC Ifeanyiubah)*Osas Okoro (Rangers)*Ifeanyi Ifeanyi (Akwa Utd)*Rabiu Ali (Kano Pillars)*Afeez Aremu (Akwa United)9. GOAL OF THE SEASON*Sikiri Olatunbosun (MFM v Rangers)*Shedrack Asiegbu (Abia Warriors v Plateau United)*Victor Chidume (Lobi Stars v Remo Stars)10. BEST NWPL PLAYER*Amarachi Okonkwo (Nasarawa Amazons)*Patience Kalu (Rivers Angels)*Rasheedat Ajibade (FC Robo)*Charity Reuben (Ibom Angels)11. BEST NNL PLAYER*Ebere Obi (Heartland)*Michael Ohanu (Kwara United)*Mohammed Rabiu (Yobe Desert Stars)*Kelly Lubo (Bayelsa United)12 HIGHEST GOAL SCORER*Anthony Okpotu (Lobi Stars) 19 Goals13. PLAYER OF THE SEASON* Alhassan Ibrahim (Akwa Utd)*Anthony Okpotu (Lobi Stars)*Daniel Itodo (Plateau United)*Stephen Odey (MFM FC)Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more