It seems University of Wisconsin basketball coach Bo Ryan has finally figured out what virtually everyone else in the state already knew; that he should put his 5 best players on the floor to start the game……….and that Tim Jarmusz isn’t one of them.

Ryan reinserted recently returned forward Jon Leuer into the starting lineup at Jarmusz’ expense and the result was a 32 point victory over former Marquette coach Tom Crean’s Hoosiers in Bloomington, Indiana. It was the largest road win for the Badgers since the 50′s, though the 14 turnovers against lowly Indiana was a little disturbing. Hopefully, that was mostly a matter of working out the kinks.

Leuer hasn’t played much alongside forward Keaton Nankivil since his return from his wrist injury, but clearly the Badgers optimum lineup includes those two as well as guard Jordan Taylor. Leuer and Nankivil both appear more effective when playing off each other, as suggested by the fact that the Badgers had fewer 3 point attempts against IU than in any game during Leuer’s absence. It’s good for that unit to get used to playing together as they head into postseason play. If they can get as comfortable as they were before Leuer got hurt, the Badgers’ NCAA tournament prospects will improve exponentially.

Ironically, Jarmusz did as much or more in his 15 minutes off the bench as he seemed to accomplish in the starting lineup all season. I still believe Bo needs to play freshman forward Mike Breusewitz more but this may be the best thing for all concerned.

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The early returns on the Milwaukee Bucks trade for guard John Salmons have been encouraging . The Bucks have reeled off 5 consecutives wins, putting their record over .500 for the first time since December and moving them into the seventh playoff spot in the Eastern Conference of the NBA. Obviously, Salmons is an upgrade over what they had at shooting guard and his presence seems to have opened things up for center Andrew Bogut, who has been on a tear since his All-Star snub. I still wonder about the long term effect of the Salmons’ trade, but another trip to the draft lottery for the Bucks probably wouldn’t favor them either.

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One thing about new Milwaukee Brewers’ pitching coach Rick Peterson, he appears to be much more ‘hands on’ than any of his predecessors in spring camp. It remains to be seen whether Peterson’s application of science and biomechanics to the discipline of pitching a baseball will be effective for the Brewers. But after last season’s debacle with the starting rotation, it certainly is worth the effort.

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With the NFL Combine going on in Indianapolis and impending free agency, things are starting to heat up on the personnel front for the Green Bay Packers. This week, the Packers applied a franchise tag to free agent defensive tackle Ryan Pickett, practically assuring that he will remain with the Packers next season, presumably with the prospect of negotiating a multi-year deal. There are also reports that the Packers have finally made overtures to All-Pro safety Nick Collins about a long term contract, though the futures of tackles Chad Clifton and Mark Tauscher remain in limbo. If the Packers are to build on last season’s playoff run, General Manager Ted Thompson will need to see to it that all those players stay in the fold.

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Props to to the Women’s basketball teams of UW and UW-Green Bay. Both are poised to make some noise in their respective conference tournaments. Good luck, ladies.

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And, finally, can we stop with the references to the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” when discussing this year’s USA Olympic hockey team? That angle is tired and hardly apt. Yes, the U.S. wasn’t expected to medal this time and is presumably less talented than it’s major rivals, but that is where the comparisons end. We’re still talking about successful NHL players as opposed to the largely unknown amateurs of 30 years ago. If you want to relive 1980, go back and watch the movie “Miracle”, which if nothing else is noteworthy for the experience of hearing Kurt Russell speak with a “Minnesota accent”.

At least the Gold Medal rematch with Canada is scheduled for Sunday afternoon, meaning that NBC might actually show it on it’s “over the air” flagship network.

 

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  • http://www.retaggr.com/page/crichar3 Chris

    Finally got to this. Well done and spot on!