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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Milwaukee Panthers are Poised for a Big Run in the Horizon League

The Milwaukee Panthers are 3-0 in the Horizon League conference and have an overall record of 10-4.  With four quality losses to Michigan State, Northern Iowa, Wisconsin and Marquette.  The Panthers are set up for a big run in the Horizon League as long as they can play well and beat Butler in Indianapolis today. 

The Panthers have been playing well against some quality opponents, but they have struggled to make free throws and consistanly hit their three point shots.  Evan Richards could be their answer today against Butler, with Ja'Rob McCallum out with a wrist injury.  Ja'Rob McCallum, when healty, is one of the Panthers top scorers and three point shooters.  The Panthers also need to start making free throws, which has been a major weakness for this team.  The Panthers have been currently shooting only about 60% from the line, which has cost them in close games. 

Today, the Panthers are a 3.5 point underdog on the road against Butler.  They look to continue their great defense, but also improve on the offensive side of the ball.  If the Panthers do win this game against Butler, it could lead to a big run in the Horizon League, with six out of eight conference games at the raucous U.S. Cell.

Must Win for the Wisconsin Badgers in the Rose Bowl

Coming into the 2011 football season the Wisconsin Badgers were thought to be a favorite to be in the National Championship game, or to go back to the Rose Bowl for the second consecutive year.  With only 12 starters returning from last year, the Badgers still seemed to be stronger than ever.  With a new quarterback in Russell Wilson, who is the most talented quarterbacks the Badgers have ever had, and with key starters on both sides of the ball returning, people were already getting ready to watch the Badgers in a the biggest BCS bowl.

With the Badgers undefeated through six games and destroying their only real test in Nebraska, the Badgers were set to play the toughest part of their schedule with games at Michigan State and Ohio State.  The Badgers didn't play their best in both games, but they did have the lead late in the game.  In both games with seconds reaming Michigan State and Ohio State needed a miracle to win the game.  Both teams needed a touchdown to win.  It looked like the Badgers would win both games, but allowed last second touchdown passes to lose.  

These two loses put the Badgers at 6-2 , and many thought that just getting to the Big Ten Championship game would be tough.  The Badgers went on to win their next three games to set up a game against Penn State, were the winner would go to the Big Ten Championship game against Michigan State.  Penn State was struggling with out there head coach and the Badgers were on a roll. 

The Badgers went on to win the game and set up a rematch against Michigan State, a team that beat them the last two times.  The Badgers played well and had luck on their side.  They beat Michigan State giving them the opportunity to play in the Rose Bowl against Oregon.

It was good to see the Badgers bounce back and win the Big Ten Championship, to give them the opportunity to represent the Big Ten in the Rose Bowl.  But it also was disappointing knowing what kind of team the Badgers were, and for them to lose on two lucky plays.  This might have cost them the opportunity to play LSU in the National Championship, and make a good season into a dream season for all Badger fans.  The Badgers need to win against Oregon on Monday to make this season a success.  The Badgers had two great offensive players in Russell Wilson and Montee Ball that lead this team to an overall good year, but many will wonder if it wasn't for those two plays, could the Badgers high powered offense have beat LSU and won the National Championship.