Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Reviewing the Wisconsin Badgers in 2010-11 and a Brief Look Forward


By: Nick Grays, Senior Editor at The Sports Bank

Overall, the Wisconsin Badgers 2010-2011 season should be considered a success seeing that they weren't even expected to finish in the upper half of the Big Ten.

Not only did they finish in the upper half, they went 25-9 (13-5 in Big Ten) and finished third in the conference. The 25 wins were the third most in a single season in school history.

However, the season could also be looked at as a missed opportunity as the Badgers hovered around the top 10 to finish the season. but were only able to salvage a Sweet 16 appearance in the NCAA Tournament.

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Monday, March 28, 2011

VCU Head Coach Shaka Smart Making Wisconsin Proud



By: Nick Grays, Senior Editor at The Sports Bank
The Wisconsin Badgers and Marquette Golden Eagles both were outed in the Sweet 16, but that doesn’t mean the state isn’t paying attention anymore.

Shaka Smart, Head Coach of Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) and Wisconsin native has his squad dancing to their first ever Final Four.

The mastermind behind 2011′s Cinderella team hails from Fitchburg (a small city outside of Madison) and is one of the hottest up-and-comers in all of the NCAA.

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Milwaukee Brewers Weekly Check-In (3-28-11)



By: Nick Grays, Senior Editor at The Sports Bank

If you’re not one of those baseball nerds who follows every single thing going on in the Milwaukee Brewers Organization, don’t worry, because The Sports Bank’s Nick Grays has you covered with what happened in the past week and what’s going on in the future.

And if you are one of those nerds, feel free to join in on some good old analysis of America’s pastime in the Brew City.

This week we talk about Opening Day on March 31st and the Nyjer Morgan trade.

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Friday, March 25, 2011

Butler Overpowers Wisconsin 61-54: Sweet 16 Rapid Reaction



By: Nick Grays, Senior Editor at The Sports Bank

Wisconsin’s
dynamic duo of Jordan Taylor and Jon Leuer appeared to run out of gas as they combined for an ugly 7-of-31 (.226) from the field in a 61-54 loss to the #8-seeded Butler Bulldogs.

For the fifth straight year, the Badgers have been knocked out of the NCAA Tournament by a mid-major team (UNLV, Davidson, Xavier, Cornell and Butler).

“We just needed to put a few more minutes together here tonight so we could keep dancing, but the music stopped playing. So we just wish Butler the best of luck in their journey for what they’re looking for,” said Badgers Head Coach Bo Ryan.

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Thursday, March 24, 2011

This Wisconsin Team Is Not Your Typical Badgers Team!



By: Nick Grays, Senior Editor at The Sports Bank
Here we go again as the embarrassment of riches gets even richer for the state of Wisconsin. As if it wasn’t enough for fans to see the Badgers in the Rose Bowl and the Packers in the Super Bowl, we now have the Badgers basketball team in the Sweet 16.

A match-up with the #8-seeded Butler Bulldogs awaits the Badgers who are playing in their fifth Sweet 16 since 2000.

After making the NCAA Tournament for a 13th consecutive season, the fourth-longest active streak in the nation, could this be the year Wisconsin makes a deep run to the Final Four?

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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Ohio State Pounds George Mason 98-66: NCAA 3rd Round Rapid Reaction


By: Nick Grays, Senior Editor at The Sports Bank

Not even a slow start could stop the #1 Ohio State Buckeyes from blowing out #8 George Mason 98-66 in front of essentially a home-crowd in the 3rd Round of the NCAA Tournament.

As Gus Johnson so eloquently exclaimed "Home Cookin," because Cleveland native David Lighty was brilliant with a game-high 25 points on a perfect 7-of-7 shooting from behind the arc.

Lighty wasn't the only one stroking from deep as the Buckeyes broke an OSU NCAA Tournament record with 16 made three-pointers en route to their most lopsided tournament win in school history.

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Wisconsin Nips the Wildcats 70-65: NCAA 3rd Round Rapid Reaction



By: Nick Grays, Senior Editor at The Sports Bank
Jordan Taylor didn't have his best game shooting (2-of-16), but came through in the end with the biggest block of his life as the #4 Wisconsin Badgers defeated the #5 Kansas State Wildcats 70-65 in another March Madness thriller.

The Wildcats Jacob Pullen scored a crazy game-high 38 points and became Kansas State's all-time scoring leader, but it wasn't enough because Taylor's rejection of Pullen's last shot has the Badgers dancing all the way to the Sweet 16.

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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Wisconsin Downs Belmont 72-58: NCAA 2nd Round Rapid Reaction


By: Nick Grays, Senior Editor at The Sports Bank

So much for the #13 Belmont Bruins being that trendy 13-4 upset pick. The #4 Wisconsin Badgers offense returned to form in a 72-58 victory in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Jon Leuer exploded for 17 of his game-high 22 points in the second half to lead the Badgers to their fifth consecutive opening-game win.

“We knew we were playing a very good team. We knew we were going to have to hit some shots. And when we’re hitting shots, believe it or not, we tend to play better,” said Badgers Head Coach Bo Ryan.

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Badgers Basketball: Jon Leuer and Jordan Taylor Are Wooden Award Finalists


By: Nick Grays, Senior Editor at The Sports Bank

On Monday, Wisconsin learned that their dynamic duo of Jon Leuer and Jordan Taylor are among the top 20 candidates on the national ballot for the John R. Wooden Award.

The Wooden Award is given out to the nation's best player and is considered the most prestigious individual honor in all of college basketball.

Wisconsin joins Duke (Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith) and Purdue (JaJuan Johnson and E'Twaun Moore) as one of only three schools with two players on the national ballot.

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Monday, March 14, 2011

Wisconsin Badgers Land a #4 Seed and a Giant-Killer in Belmont


By: Nick Grays, Senior Editor at The Sports Bank

After finishing the year with two horrific losses, the Wisconsin Badgers enter the NCAA Tournament as one of the nation’s top 16 teams. As a #4 seed in the Southeast Regional, the Badgers will take on the #13 seed Belmont Bruins (30-4), champions of the Atlantic Sun Conference.

The Badgers and Bruins will match-up on Thursday, March 17th in Tuscon, Arizona. Tip-off is set for 6:27 with coverage on TruTV. The winner of this game meets the winner of #5 Kansas State and #12 Utah State on Saturday.

Keep reading to learn a little about the Badgers tournament history and Belmont who have surfaced as a trendy upset pick.

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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Ohio State 71, Penn St. 60: BTT Championship Rapid Reaction


 By: Nick Grays, Senior Editor at The Sports Bank

The surprising Penn State Nittany Lions stuck around for as long as they could, but the #1 Ohio State Buckeyes proved to be too much to handle in a 71-60 win for their third Big Ten Tournament Championship in the last five years.

William Buford led the way with 18 for the Buckeyes and Talor Battle paced the Nittany Lions with 24 points on 9-of-20 shooting.

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Saturday, March 12, 2011

Penn State 61, Michigan State 48: BTT Semis Rapid Reaction

tom izzo michigan state

By: Nick Grays, Senior Editor at The Sports Bank

And there was two as the Penn State Nittany Lions shocked the Michigan State Spartans with a 61-48 win in the Big Ten Tournament Semi-Finals.

Talor Battle went for a game-high 25 points to help Penn State advance to the Big Ten Championship where they will meet the #1 Ohio State Buckeyes on Sunday.

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Can The Purdue Boilermakers Salvage a #3 Seed?


By: Nick Grays, Senior Editor at The Sports Bank

The Purdue Boilermakers were dealt a serious blow on Friday Night when they were quite simply embarrassed by Michigan State in the second round of the Big Ten Tournament. This comes directly after losing in Iowa to close out the regular season.

These two steps in the wrong direction could come back to hurt the Boilermakers come Sunday when the committee considers where to draw the line between the 2, 3 and 4 seeds.

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Penn State Stuns the Wisconsin Badgers 36-33: Rapid Reaction


By: Nick Grays, Senior Editor at The Sports Bank

In what can only be described as one of the worst offensive performances in Big Ten Tournament history, the Penn State Nittany Lions edged out the #13 Wisconsin Badgers by the low-low score of 36-33.

The 69 combined points were the lowest in the 14-year history of the tournament.

Leaders Jon Leuer and Jordan Taylor partnered for 26 of the team’s 33 points and took a combined 37 shots.

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Friday, March 11, 2011

Darius Morris and Tim Hardaway Jr. Fuel Michigan's Comeback Win Versus Illinois


By: Nick Grays, Senior Editor at The Sports Bank

Just when the Michigan Wolverines looked like they were down and out, Darius Morris and Tim Hardaway Jr. sparked a rally in the second half to cut a 12-point deficit and upend the Illini 60-55 to earn the opportunity to face #1 Ohio State on Saturday.

The Wolverines were sitting firmly on the bubble before, but their new and best win of the season versus Illinois probably ensures them a spot in the Big Dance.

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Ohio State Buckeyes Aaron Craft Maturing Before Our Eyes



By: Nick Grays, Senior Editor at The Sports Bank
On Friday, the #1 Ohio State Buckeyes experienced two things their team rarely experiences; an off-shooting performance and a close game resulting in overtime. Luckily for the Buckeyes, they were able to hold on and knock off the pesky Northwestern Wildcats by the score of 67-61 in the second round of the Big Ten Tournament.

Freshman Aaron Craft was particularly great on Friday with his hard-nosed defense and a sense of confidence which has you constantly asking how old is this kid.

Senior glue-man David Lighty summed up Craft perfectly by saying "He's not a freshman, his play speaks for itself. He comes in and plays his role to perfection."

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Wisconsin Badgers Jordan Taylor Named to Final Five for Cousy Award



By: Nick Grays, Senior Editor at The Sports Bank
Earlier this season,the Wisconsin Badgers Jordan Taylor wasn't even a Cousy Award Finalist until he was added after much controversy.

Funny how things change as the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame named Taylor to the final five on Thursday.

Taylor joins Cleveland State's Norris Cole, BYU's Jimmer Fredette, Duke's Nolan Smith and Connecticut's Kemba Walker as the final five candidates for the prestigious award given out to the nation's top point guard.

"I'm humbled and honored to be on a list with these other great point guards," said Taylor. "One of my high school coaches used to talk about Bob Cousy all the time and tell me how he was the greatest player ever. I'm sure he'd be proud that my name is in the same sentence as Bob Cousy. I know I am."

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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Michigan State Survives Iowa 66-61: Rapid Reaction


By: Nick Grays, Senior Editor at The Sports Bank

The Michigan State Spartans keep their NCAA tournament hopes alive with a 66-61 first-round win over the Iowa Hawkeyes on Thursday.

Spartans Head Coach Tom Izzo said it best when he said, "It wasn't the prettiest of games," as the Spartans  and Hawkeyes combined for 28 turnovers in a back-and-forth affair which came down to the very last minute of play.

But it was a pair of Spartans who made the difference with Durrell Summers hitting a couple of clutch free throws down the stretch and Draymond Green putting forth a monster double-double of 21 points and 14 rebounds.

We all know what this means for the Spartans, but where do the Hawkeyes go from here?

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Will Minnesota Gophers Trevor Mbakwe Leave For the NBA?


By: Nick Grays, Senior Editor at The Sports Bank

Minnesota Golden Gophers starting forward Trevor Mbakwe put together a more-than respectable season in his first year in the maroon and gold.

Mbakwe averaged a double-double with 13.7 points and 10.5 rebounds per game. His number of boards were good enough to make him the Big Ten rebounding champion and he earned Second-Team All Conference as well.

With NBA scouts in attendance to catch a glimpse of Purdue's JuJuan Johnson and Ohio State's Jared Sullinger in the Big Ten Tournament, did Mbakwe do enough against Northwestern to put his self on the radar of prospective pro teams?

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Sunday, March 6, 2011

TSB’s Big Ten Basketball Postseason Awards

jared sullinger jajuan johnson

By: The Sports Bank Staff

You can have an endless debate about some of the candidates for the Big Ten basketball post-season awards.  JaJuan Johnson, Jared Sullinger, and Jordan Taylor are all worthy of being named Player of the Year.  A solid case could be made for Ohio State‘s Thad Matta, Purdue‘s Matt Painter, and Wisconsin‘s Bo Ryan winning Coach of the Year honors.  The Sports Bank panel of five voters (David Kay, Paul M. Banks, Peter Christian, Nick Grays, and Justin Mertes-Mistretta) has chimed in on their picks and handed out some post-season hardware.

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Friday, March 4, 2011

Jordan Taylor Explodes for 39 in Wisconsin’s Win Over Indiana



By: Nick Grays, Senior Editor at The Sports Bank

Wisconsin Badgers stand-out point guard and Cousy finalist Jordan Taylor was feeling it on Thursday night as he went off for a career-high 39 points in a 77-66 win over the Indiana Hoosiers.

If you had any doubts about Taylor being First-Team All-Big Ten, they should be gone now because Taylor’s performance showed why he’s the best guard in the Big Ten.

“Jordan just did some things that very few people, I think, can do against any teams,” said Head Coach Bo Ryan who has his #10 Badgers playing their best basketball at the perfect time in the college basketball season.

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