courtsideSPORTS ROUNDUP🏀🏈⚾️: Congrats To . . .

Patrick Ewing on being named the new head basketball coach of the Georgetown Hoyas. Ewing is one of Georgetown’s all-time greats who led them to an NCAA Championship in 1984 and went on to an NBA Hall of Fame career with the New York Knicks. Good luck Patrick! Go Hoyas! 🏀 (Full disclosure: I am an Adjunct Professor of Law at Georgetown Law.)

The North Carolina Tar Heels and the South Carolina Gamecocks on winning the Men’s and Women’s NCAA Basketball Championships, respectively.🏀

The Gonzaga Bulldogs and the Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs for great seasons and making their respective NCAA Basketball National Championship Games. Also congrats to Mississippi State for a thrilling win over the previously undefeated and defending champion UCONN Huskies in the National Semifinals.🏀

The UCONN Huskies women’s basketball program and their coach Geno Auriemma for their amazing, record-setting 111 game winning streak, ended by Mississippi State.🏀

Tony Romo for having the smarts to retire from the NFL and move to the broadcasting booth with his mind and body still largely intact. The now-former Dallas Cowboy’s star quarterback will be absolutely dynamite in the booth. And, he probably won’t be “sacked” as many times.🏈

The Washington Nats for a stirring opening day 4-2 victory over the Miami Marlins. Go Nats!⚾️




BADGERS: Nigel Hayes’s Mother Shows How Basketball Is More Than a Game!

The senior star’s mother writes:


Thanks to my Lawrence University Sig Ep “brother” and fellow U.W. Law grad/lifetime Badger fan John “Bear” Sagan, Esq., for sending this item in. Helps put things in perspective after kind of a tough ending to the season.




MARCH MADNESS: Heartbreak!! Gators’ Chiozza’s Buzzer Beating 3-Pointer Ends Badger Run 84-83 In OT!🏀😢

MADISON SQUARE GARDEN, NY. Just as the Badgers’ season was about to end, senior guard Zach Showalter (14 pts.) hit an impossible 3-point shot, releasing behind the arc as he flew over it to send the Sweet Sixteen game into an unlikely overtime.

In overtime, the Badgers, without senior Vito Brown (10 pts.) who had fouled out, with star senior guard Bronson Koenig (13 pts.) hobbled with a leg injury, and with Ethan Happ  (21 pts.) nursing four fouls, dominated.  Following two free throws by senior forward Nigel Hayes (22 pts.) with 4 seconds remaining, the Badgers held a 83-81 lead and appeared headed to the Elite Eight.

But, the Gators’ junior guard Chris Chiozza returned Showalter’s favor, and then some, by hitting the almost identical shot as the buzzer sounded.  This time, however, the three pointer ended the game and set off a jubilant celebration for the Gators, as they, not the Badgers, moved on to the Elite Eight.

The stunned Badgers could do nothing but watch in dismay and disbelief.  They had squandered their chances.

With under a minute to go in OT, junior Kahlil Iverson (3 pts.) had a chance at a breakaway slam dunk that in all likelihood would have sealed the game. But, somehow, he allowed himself to be “stuffed” by less athletic Gator Canyon Barry (son of NBA great rick Barry).

And, this time, the Badgers’s crummy free throw shooting (20-30, 67%) cost them the game. Two more free throws down the stretch would have put them in the Elite Eight. Wisconsin also turned the ball over 16 times and committed an amazing 26 fouls to help seal their own fate.

Sophomore KeVaughn Allen led the Gators with a career-high 35 points.  While Chiozza had only 8 points, he scored the final five to secure the victory for the Gators.  Florida (27-9) moves on to play the upstart South Carolina Gamecocks (25-10) in Sunday’s Elite Eight matchup, with a trip to the Final Four on the line.

Meanwhile, the Badgers close their 2016-17 campaign at 27-10. But, for seniors Hayes, Koenig, Brown , and Showalter, who had gone to the Final Four twice in their illustrious careers, there will be no tomorrow, at least at Wisconsin.



MARCH MADNESS: Badgers Haunted, Motivated By Memories Of Last-Minute Meltdown & Loss To Irish In Last Year’s Sweet 16 — Get My “Instant Pregame Mini-Analysis Here!”🏀😎

Jim Polzin reports in the Madison Cap Times:

“The moment is fresh nearly 12 months later, partly because the pain still lingers for the members of the University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team.

But even if there were a way for the Badgers to wipe the memory of a 61-56 loss to Notre Dame to end the 2015-16 season from their brains, it wouldn’t matter because their coach keeps bringing it up.

“It should stay in their minds since we mention it about every week,” Greg Gard said. “We referred to Notre Dame more than any past opponent, I think, since I’ve been here in terms of how it ended.”

It didn’t end pretty for UW, which self-destructed in the final minute against the Fighting Irish and watched its season come to an abrupt end in the Sweet 16.

The Badgers (27-9) have arrived at the same step on the NCAA tournament ladder a year later. They’ll face Florida (26-8) on Friday night in an East region semifinal at Madison Square Garden in New York.”


Schmidt’s Instant Pregame Mini-Analysis

In an earlier post, I highlighted the factors that could allow Wisconsin to go all the way to the Final Four:  experience, inside play, and Bronson Koenig. All three of those strengths were on abundant display in the first two games as the Badgers downed #9 Virginia Tech and then upset #1 Villanova.

The Badgers also minimized two of the three weaknesses that I thought could make them an “early out:” offensive inconsistency and turnovers.

The other factor was horrible free throw shooting. While the Badgers did have horrible free throw shooting (43%) against Villanova, fortunately it didn’t cost them the game.  Ironically, Villanova, a much better free throw shooting team (71%) missed a key charity toss down the stretch which would have given them a one point lead and might have changed Wisconsin’s strategy last minute strategy of having Nigel Hayes drive for a two-pointer.

Florida plays tough defense.  So, in addition to maintaining offensive consistency and getting continued outstanding play from Koenig, Hayes, Ethan Happ, and Vito Brown, the Badgers will have to hold down the turnovers and sink their free throws to escape the Gators.

Tune in on Friday night @ 10:00 PM on TBS to see what happens, live from Madison Square Garden in NY!





MARCH MADNESS: WSJ: JASON GAY: Much Maligned Big10 Shines As ACC Tanks — Badgers, Wolverines, Boilermakers Storm Into “Sweet 16,” While Duke, UVA, FSU Stumble!🏀

Fellow Badger grad Jason Gay writes:

“I just wanted to enjoy my Monday. Was it too much to ask? The Wisconsin Badgers are back in college basketball’s Sweet 16 for the fourth straight time, having stunned top-seeded Villanova on Saturday—although I wasn’t the least bit stunned, I told you last week it would happen. I predicted Wisconsin all along. Hey Warren Buffett, where’s my million bucks?

It was even better. Not only did my Badgers win, but now they’re coming here—to New York City, my home, for the remainder of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament East Regional.

I was psyched. Psyched for my alma mater Wisconsin, psyched for an NYC invasion of Badger fans (hide your beer and cheese), psyched to parade into work Monday and be an insufferable doofus to all my Journal colleagues with busted brackets and wounded school pride. I was going to march in there with my giant Starbucks and red Bucky Badger sweatshirt, humming “On Wisconsin” and ruining everyone’s day.

I was going to be unbearable. And love every minute of it.

And then…them. You-know-who.


They’ve made the Sweet 16, too. They stunned two-seeded Louisville on Sunday.

It’s a nightmare.”


Yeah, it was almost, but not quite, enough to make me want to be back at the Arlington Immigration Court wearing my Bucky Badger tie (incorrectly identified as a “grinning weasel” by my dear former colleague Judge Rodger Harris) and whistling “On Wisconsin” and “Varsity” all day in my chambers and in the corridors of justice. All I can say is:




MARCH MADNESS: Badgers Head to Fourth Consecutive “Sweet 16” After Taking Out Top Seeded Defending Champ Villanova In 65-62 Thriller — Seniors N. Hayes, B. Koenig, & V. Brown Come Up Huge In Clutch As UW Overcomes Late 7 Point Deficit to Win!

BUFFALO, NY — A few weeks ago, some disgruntled Wisconsin fans actually were calling for second-year coach Greg Gard’s head after the Badgers turned in lackluster losing performances against the likes of Ohio State and Iowa. Their once-promising season seemed on the brink of total collapse down the stretch of the Big 10 regular season.

This afternoon, with 5:07 remaining in a “Round of 32” game, and the Badgers trailing by 7 points, it looked like their season was over notwithstanding a valiant effort against the defending NCAA Champs. After all, stars Bronson Koenig and Ethan Happ were both saddled with foul trouble, and Villanova, led by superstar senior guard Josh Hart (19 pts) and freshman sensation guard Donte DiVincenzo (15 pts), was pulling away for the kill.

But, the battle-tested Badgers weren’t yet ready to depart the dance. They rallied behind their senior leaders.

With ice water in his veins, Koenig (17 pts, 2-6 3-pt) drilled a 3-pointer to put the Badgers up 62-59 late. However, a bad exchange between Koenig and senior forward Nigel Hayes resulted in a turnover allowing the Wildcats to pull even at 62.

Then, the “play of the game!” Coming out of a time-out, Hayes (19 pts, 8 rebounds) drove the baseline and made a spectacular “Michael Jordan type” reverse layup to put the Badgers up 64-62 with 11.4 seconds to go.  But, the champs were’t ready to go down.  11.4 seconds is an eternity in March Madness.

Villanova got the ball to Hart who, with Koenig and Happ having to play off with four fouls apiece, drove for a sure-fire tying layup. But, he didn’t count on Badger senior forward Vito Brown, who had broken out of a severe shooting slump by draining 3 of 6 three pointers. Brown stripped Hart, and then was fouled on the play with 3.4 seconds remaining.

Brown hit the first free throw (insuring the Badgers at least a tie). After missing the second, he hustled down to the baseline to help Hayes bottle up Villanova and prevent any chance of a last second shot as time ran out.  Brown, a talented singer, also performed (pre-recorded) during the NCAA/CBS TV “lead in” to today’s game!

The #8 seed Badgers had triumphed! Amid the heroics of Hayes, Koenig, and Brown, the great effort by Happ, who added a huge 12 points and 8 rebounds despite playing most of the game in foul trouble and senior Zach Showalter who had several key defensive plays should not be forgotten.

The classy Wildcats and their even classier coach Jay Wright finish the season at 32-4. And, at least for the next week so, the voices in Madison calling for Greg Gard’s ouster have been silenced.

The Badgers thus head for their fourth consecutive “Sweet 16,” their sixth in seven seasons. The Badgers (27-9) will take on the #4 Florida Gators (26-8) from the SEC in Madison Square Garden, NY.  “Badgers v. Gators” —  a match of two of the most dangerous and ferocious animals known to man (forget that “smiling Teddy-bear version” of Bucky that I post below.  That’s just to throw Bucky’s opponents off.) Game time is 10:00 PM Friday on TBS, with a trip to the “Elite Eight” at stake. Don’t miss it!





MARCH MADNESS: Badgers Get Big Games From Koenig & Hayes To Move By Hokies 84 – 74 — Play #1 Villanova In “Round of 32” On Saturday 🏀

BUFFALO, NY.  The #8 Wisconsin Badgers downed the #9 Virginia Tech Hokies 84-74 in NCAA East Regional First Round action in Buffalo, NY Thursday night. Senior sharpshooter Bronson Koenig led the way with 28 points, including a club-recored 8-17 on three-pointers. Senior forward Nigel Hayes added 16 with 10 rebounds and went 8 of 9 from the free throw line, a remarkable achievement for a 56% free throw shooter coming into the game. The Badgers won the game on the offensive boards where they grabbed 14 to the Hokies 4 on their way to a hefty 33-22 rebounding advantage.

As predicted, the Hokies played the Badgers tough and remained within three points for most of the second half. Senior Zach LeDay had 23 points before fouling out late in his last college game. Ty Outlaw added 16 for the Hokies, who finished the season at 22-11.

The Badgers are now 26-9 and will face the #1 seed Villanova Wildcats (32-3) in the Round of 32 on Saturday.  Villanova beat surprisingly competitive #16 Mt. St. Mary’s 76-56, after trailing most of the first half. Game time is still TBD.




MARCH MADNESS: Badgers Limp Into NCAA Tourney With #8 Seed In East After 71-56 Thumping By Wolverines In B10 Title Game — Will Play Tough #9 Hokies Thursday Night In Buffalo!

The Michigan Wolverines soundly thrashed the Wisconsin Badgers 71-56 in the Big10 title game at the Verizon Center in DC on Sunday afternoon.  The Badgers got off to a credible start, trailing only 33-32 at halftime.  But, an eight minute stretch without a field goal at the start of the second half sealed the Badgers’ fate. Meanwhile, Michigan pulled away with great outside shooting, solid defense, and some fast break points.

The Badgers (25-9, 12-6) hence will go to their 19th consecutive NCAA Tournament as a #8 seed, far lower than many had projected. However, given the Badgers weak schedule and their lackluster performance in the second half of the season, winning just four of their last ten games, the seed seems about right.

The Badgers will have to play much better than they did Sunday against Michigan to get past the tough Virginia Tech Hokies (20-10, 10-8) from the ACC in the round one East Regional game at Buffalo, NY on Thursday night at 9:40 PM. The Hokies are a solid group who can make the three-ball, and they shoot a better percentage from the field and the line than the Badgers.  They are led by third-year coach Buzz Williams, who formerly coached the Badgers’ in-state arch-rival Marquette Golden Eagles.  The winner likely gets the unenviable task of going up against #1 seed and defending champ Villanova on Saturday.

Why the Badgers could go deep:

Experience:  Four of the Badger starters were members of the 2013 and 2014 teams that went to back to back Final Fours.

Inside play: When they are “on” Senior Forward Nigel Hayes and redshirt Sophomore Ethan Happ might be the most formidable “in the paint duo” in the country.

Bronson Koenig:  When he is “feeling it” Senior Guard Koenig is a dangerous, clutch three-point shooter and a reliable playmaker.

Why they probably won’t go far:

Inconsistent offense:  The long dry spell against Michigan unfortunately wasn’t unusual this season. It will be a killer against tournament teams.

Horrible free throw shooting:  In the past, the Badgers have been among the nation’s leaders from the line.  This year, however, they shot only 64%, leaving far too many points on the line.  Happ, their best all-around player, is the worst of the bunch, shooting only 50% from the stripe. This actually makes him a liability down the stretch in close games.

Too many turnovers:  In the past, Wisconsin was known for a disciplined offense and taking care of the ball. This year, however, they have thrown it away with regularity, including in some key situations that cost them games. Just can’t do that against good tournament teams.






Badgers Snap Two-Game Skid With Convincing 71-60 Home Victory Over Terps!

MADISON, WI.  Just when they needed him most, Senior Nigel Hayes came out of his funk and Bronson Koenig returned to the lineup to give the #11 Badgers (22-5, 11-3) a hard fought victory over the #23 Maryland Terps (22-5, 10-4) at the Kohl Center Sunday afternoon. The Badgers remained in a tie with the Purdue Boilermakers for the Big 10 lead going into the final stretch.

The Terps came out strong and jumped to a 33-27 halftime lead, the Badgers biggest deficit of the season. But, the Badgers finally looked like the “old Badgers” in the second half, shooting 51%, playing tough defense, turning the ball over only once, and knocking down some clutch free throws to put the game out of reach.

14 of Hayes’s 21 points came in the second half, as did all 9 of Keonig’s points. Playing his tough inside game, which had been missing recently, and hitting mid-range jumpers instead of throwing up 3-point bricks, Hayes also led Bucky with 10 rebounds as the Badgers crushed the Terps on the boards 44-27.

Sensational redshirt sophomore center Ethan Happ turned in another solid 20 point performance. He  undoubtedly was happy to have some help from his friends this time. Recently, Happ has carried the team as various starters have been injured or slumped.

Redshirt freshman Brevin Pritzil (7 pts, 7 boards) had some good minutes off the bench, and looks to have moved into the “seventh man” position behind freshman guard D’Mitrik Trice. Weak bench play has plagued the Badgers this season.

The Badgers second half heroics overshadowed a tremendous performance by Terps’ all-everything guard Melo Trimble, who was nearly unstoppable, scoring 27 points, nearly half his team’s total.

On Thursday, the Badgers travel to Columbus, OH, where they hope to complete a sweep of the Buckeyes (15-13, 5-10). Meanwhile, the Terps will attempt to bounce back against the Minnesota Golden Gophers Wednesday at home.



Wildcats Maul Badgers For 66-59 Win In Mad-City!

Madison, WI.  The rejuvenated Northwestern Wildcats came into the Badgers’ den at the Kohl Center needing a “W” to add to their resume as they seek to be in the “Big Dance” for the first time in school history. Winners of just one of the previous 14 games in Madison, the Cats left the stunned Badgers licking their wounds and questioning their soon-to-go-down #7 national ranking.

With Bryant McIntosh scoring a game-high 25 points, the Wildcats dominated all phases of the game save for  Badger 10-0 runs to start each half. The rest of the game was a 66-39 Northwestern blowout.

Over the last few games, the Badgers had struggled to outlast clearly inferior opponents, over-relying on sophomore center Ethan Happ to bail them out. Tonight, against the talented and well-coached Wildcats, that caught up with them. Even absent leading scorer Scottie Lindsey, the Wildcats were able to hold Happ to 9 points (only 2 after halftime) by double and triple teaming him. While this should have left plenty of other Badgers open to pick up the slack, none was able to step up.

Senior forward Nigel Hayes led the Badgers with 13 points, while Vito Brown and D’Metrik Price each chipped in 11. The Badgers turned the ball over 12 times to the Wildcats 6.

The Wildcats moved to 8-4 in the conference, 19-6 overall. Meanwhile, the Badgers fell to 20-4, 10-2 Big Ten, but remained in first place.

Wisconsin will travel to Ann Arbor to play Michigan on Thursday night.  Meanwhile, the Cats will host #21 Maryland on Wednesday.



Badgers Struggle But Outlast Nebraska 70-69 In OT!

The #7 Wisconsin Badgers struggled, particularly on offense, but still managed to edge the not-very-good (10-14) Nebraska Cornhuskers 60-59 in overtime at Lincoln, NE. Senior forward Nigel Hayes had a huge second half and finished with 20 points, including a three-pointer that turned out to be the game winner.  Sensational redshirt freshman center Ethan Happ had a tough night, managing only 8 points, but had a key blocked shot and takeaway to help seal the victory. Bucky shot a horrible 36.5% from the field, missing shot after shot in the first half to keep the Huskers in the game. They were also soundly out-rebounded by Nebraska 50-37. The Badgers improved to 21-3 overall, 10-1 Big Ten, remained in first place, and will next host the surprising Northwestern Wildcats at the Kohl Center in Madison at 6:30 EST (5:30 CST) on  Sunday evening.




immigrationcourtside Sports: Wisconsin Badger Men’s Buckets Mid-Season Report

The Badger hoopsters outlasted the Indiana Hoosiers today notching a hard-fought 65-60 victory at the Kohl Center in Madison. Redshirt sophomore center Ethan Happ led Bucky with 20 points, adding a key steal and slam dunk down the stretch, while senior forward Nigel Hayes chipped in 15. Neither team was able to shoot the ball in the first half, although the offense picked up some in the second half.

The #10 Badgers remained in first place in the Big Ten with a 9-1 conference record (20-3 overall). They should move up several slots in the rankings this week due to losses by several other top-ten teams over the weekend. Happ is having a stellar season on offense and defense, proving himself to be one of the premier “in the paint” players in the country. He leads the team in just about everything except selling hot dogs during halftime. If he could only make a basket from beyond four feet (he has canned exactly one jump shot this year) he would be virtually unstoppable.

The Badgers appear to be in a strong position for the Big Ten Tournament and will undoubtedly make their 19th consecutive appearance in March Madness, hoping to  improve on their Sweet Sixteen ending last year. With an experienced team and continued great coaching by second year (first full) Coach Greg Gard, the Badgers should be a threat to make an even deeper run toward the Final Four this year.

But, there are a few cautionary notes. Over the last three games, against horrible Rutgers and Illinois and an Indiana team missing key starters, the Badgers were unable to throw a knockout punch despite having a substantial talent advantage. And the Badgers have had problems shooting free throws and turning the ball over, two things that usually are the strength of Badger teams. Recently, the three-point shooting has also been sketchy. For example, the Badgers were only 4-17 from beyond the arc this afternoon. While those things might not kill you against the Illinois, Rutgers, and Penn States of the world, those teams won’t be around at tournament time.

The Badgers next will play at the Nebraska Conhuskers Thursday night.

Meanwhile, over on the gridiron, former Badger star running back James White played a key role in the Patriots exciting 34-28 comeback Super Bowl comeback victory, scoring the winning TD in overtime on a pitch from the amazing Tom Brady and some tough running.