We hope you’ll start your day with us here at the Landof10.com as we work to prepare you for everything that you need to know – Monday through Friday – around the world of Wisconsin sports. Whether it’s football, basketball, hockey or just a wild story we hope you’ll find interesting, we’re here to share it all with you.
Today is Thursday, Oct. 6, and this is your Wisconsin Wake-Up Call.
Wisconsin is overrated?
The college basketball season is fast approaching. Wisconsin started up practice last Friday, and the Big Ten will hold its Media Day on Oct. 13 in Washington D.C.
Much is expected from Wisconsin this year, because coach Greg Gard’s squad returns nearly intact from its run to the Sweet Sixteen a year ago. That has a lot of publications putting them in the top 10 of the preseason polls, but at least one expert doesn’t believe the Badgers should be up there.
According to Jeff Goodman of ESPN, Wisconsin is among the more overrated teams in the country.
“Some have the Badgers in the top 10. Wow. That’s a little high. The Badgers turned it on under coach Greg Gard last season, then made an improbable Sweet 16 appearance. Gard brings back everyone: Bronson Koenig, Nigel Hayes, Ethan Happ as well as fellow starters Vitto Brown and Zak Showalter. But I can’t get the vision out of my head of Hayes struggling in the NCAA tourney. Wisconsin could be a top-20 team virtually all season, but I’m not sold on top-10.”
It appears Goodman’s lone issue with Wisconsin in the top 10 is Nigel Hayes’ shooting problems last March. And if that’s the case, his reasoning is weak. Yes, Hayes failed to the shoot the ball well over the final four games of the season, but anybody who knows Hayes, and Goodman does, should understand that a weakness for the senior rarely stays one.
— Wisconsin Basketball (@BadgerMBB) October 3, 2016
No one associated with the program is taking anything for granted simply because everyone returns. But the team was 19 seconds away from going to a third-straight Elite Eight. There are few if any teams that bring back as many proven players as the Badgers.
The group belongs in the top 10, and should be considered among the challengers to cut down the nets in Phoenix next April.
On the mend
The Wisconsin football team is practicing just twice during their bye week, but there’s at least one player who will be in the facility getting treatment every day, and that’s outside linebacker Vince Biegel.
In an article by Mike Lucas of UWBadgers.com, Biegel said surgery to repair a crack in his right foot went well, and he’s ahead of schedule in his rehab.
“The surgery went awesome,” Biegel reported. “My swelling is almost completely gone. I was able to get off pain meds in a couple of days. My mobility is almost back in the foot. Monday morning, I was able to put a little bit of weight-bearing on my foot. Things are ahead of schedule.”
But he stopped short of predicting or saying when he was going to be back.
“We’re playing it by ear,” he insisted. “But I’m extremely focused on getting on the field as soon as possible.”
The original timetable for Biegel’s return came from his father, Rocky, who told Jesse Temple of ESPN.com that the injury would keep him out two-to-four 4 weeks. When Wisconsin announced he’d be having surgery, officials indicated it would be “several weeks” before he played again.
It’s a bit dangerous to try to decipher Biegel’s ultra- positive comments, but it appears his return could come on the lower end of the spectrum. Two weeks from the time of the surgery will be next Thursday — two days before the matchup with No. 2 Ohio State. Considering the senior played it safe by having surgery in the first place, it seems likely he’d also play it safe in making his return. So for those hoping he’s back for Wisconsin’s first home game against a top 10 team in six years, you might be disappointed.
The good news, though, is that in his absence last week against Michigan, junior Garrett Dooley played well. If Biegel can’t go against the Buckeyes or the following weeks against Iowa and Nebraska, the Badgers have a more than capable guy to fill his spot.
Metal detectors coming to the Kohl Center
Be prepared to spend a little more time getting into the Kohl Center this year for basketball and hockey games.
Wisconsin announced this week that fans will go through metal detectors when entering the building — becoming the first Big Ten school to implement such a measure.
An article by Todd Milewski of the Wisconsin State Journal lays out the reasons for the decision despite zero incidents at the 18-year-old facility.
“All you have to do is look at world events in recent months and the idea that we want to make sure that everybody is as safe as they can be in the building,” said Justin Doherty, UW’s senior associate athletic director for external relations.
Wisconsin is shelling out $200,000 for the metal detectors and the operation of them to get what amounts to peace of mind for fans inside the arena. But does it really do anything else?
In the article, Milewski mentions a security expert that wrote the devices are nothing but “pure security theater,” and that there is no evidence to support the idea that they keep people safe.
Clearly the administration within the athletic department feels the metal detectors are necessary, yet they’ve made no commitment to having them at other events on campus, including at Camp Randall Stadium where there are more than four times as many people on a game day.
If security is the sole factor, shouldn’t it be important across the entire campus?
Big recruiting weekend shaping up
All eyes will be on Madison come Oct. 15 when Ohio State comes to town. It’s the first conference night home game since 2011 for Wisconsin, and because the Badgers are off to a hot start, the matchup has meaning on both sides when it comes to the College Football Playoff.
So it should not be a surprise that Wisconsin’s coaching staff is using the weekend to bring as many recruits into town as possible.
— Jon McNamara (@McNamaraRivals) October 6, 2016
Wisconsin has gotten the reputation as one of the better college football environments in the country, but that’s not always the case. Those 11 a.m. (Central Time) games against the lower rungs of the Big Ten, as well as non-conference games, rarely lead to a tough place to play.
That won’t be a problem for a 7 p.m. (CT) game against the No. 2 team in the country. It will be the Wisconsin experience at its best, and the Badgers are smart to be taking advantage of it on the recruiting front.