Badgers look for IU sweep

first_imgSenior guard Jason Bohannon and the Badgers are not taking the Hoosiers lightly as they travel south to Bloomington Thursday.[/media-credit]Heading down to Indiana, the Wisconsin men’s basketball team faces a must-win game Thursday if it is to fulfill a preseason goal.No, not to win the Big Ten title — although this game is absolutely crucial for any chance of accomplishing that for the third time in Bo Ryan’s career — but to reach a .500 record in road games this season.Currently sitting at 3-5 for true road games this season, the Badgers have two contests left to even up the left column with the right.While a goal of .500 may seem underwhelming on the surface, Ryan believes winning as many as you lose away from home is a strong achievement in any year.“[The road] has plagued everybody, it always has, it always will, so we are no different,” Ryan said. “We don’t obsess about it. If you can come anywhere close to .500 on the road over a long period of time, anyone will tell you that is hard to do.”The Hoosiers have gone 2-5 at home in conference play this season and have lost their last eight Big Ten games. Making the struggles worse, IU has fallen by an average of 14.6 points per game during the losing streak.With a 9-17 record for the year, Indiana has struggled both offensively — only Verdell Jones III and Christian Watford average double-digit points — and defensively, where the Hoosiers give up 70 points per game in the walk-it-up Big Ten.Still, the Badgers know anything is possible on the road, and per usual, are preparing in the same vein as always.“Anytime you are going to an opponent’s home court, you know it is going to be a tough game,” Bohannon said. “They are a very tough team at home… when they get hot, they are as good as anyone.”Against the smaller Hoosiers, the Badgers could have success inside working the ball to the recently reactivated Jon Leuer.The junior forward struggled in his first game out, shooting a poor 2-for-12 in a loss at Minnesota. Leuer responded with a much more efficient game against Northwestern last Sunday, finishing with 11 points on 3-for-5 shooting and three crucial blocks.Although many believe the Badgers will make a concerted effort to force-feed Leuer in the post, Bohannon says nothing will change with the return of their most effective interior player.Wherever shots open up, that is where the Wisconsin offense will go.“I don’t see any reason why we would want to change our mindset or anything,” Bohannon said. “We have been successful the way we have been playing… we still want to get the ball in the post, and maybe we haven’t done that as well as we should, but we are still keeping the same keys as in the past.”One of the most successful parts of the Badger offense in recent games has been the emergence of Bohannon as a go-to offensive threat.Portrayed for much of his career as a spot up shooter, Bohannon has been much more effective with the ball in his hands this season. Starting with the win over Michigan State, Bohannon has been on a tear for perhaps the best six-game stretch in his career, averaging 19.5 points per game and shooting over 50 percent from the field in every contest.Besides a surge of confidence, Bohannon’s success can be credited to developing a pull-up jumper, making him a more dynamic threat to guard.“I think J-Bo realized if he doesn’t have one of those he is in trouble,” Ryan said of Bohannon’s step back jumper. “When is the last time you saw him blow by somebody? He knows that — I’m not being critical, I’m just a realist — good players keep working on the next move. Good offensive players always find a counter.”last_img read more

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Bill Self is right: NCAA’s two-year ban of Silvio De Sousa ‘mean-spirited,’ ‘shameful’

first_imgBecause it can? Because it’s easy? Because the organization still harbors embarrassment over the U.S. Justice Department investigation into issues in the basketball talent game? Or is it because Kansas was mentioned often during the trial last autumn of two former Adidas executives and a former agency employee? Having no De Sousa punishes Kansas. And even though the U.S. attorney prosecuting that case identified KU as one of the victims, it can be argued that the Jayhawks deserve some heat for what was discussed in that courtroom.Using De Sousa as the instrument of that penalty could not be more wrong. Because no one else will feel this pain so deeply. The statement from the NCAA, effectively condemning Silvio De Sousa to a life without Division I basketball, illustrated plainly the folly of its eligibility department’s logic.The NCAA announced De Sousa would be forced to miss the remainder of this season, of which he has already sat the first 21 games, and all of the 2019-20 season “because of his guardian’s involvement with an agent.” His guardian.Not De Sousa. His guardian.”In my 30-plus years of coaching college basketball, I have never seen such a mean-spirited and vindictive punishment against a young man who did nothing wrong,” KU coach Bill Self said in a statement released by the Jayhawks basketball office. “To take away his opportunity to play college basketball is shameful and the failure of the NCAA.”MORE: Third coach pleads guilty in federal recruiting caseGeez, Bill all but wrote this column for me. He touched on most of the salient points without indulging in the errant comparisons that sometimes plague criticism of college athletics’ governing body.He went off course when he subsequently criticized the length of the process. Kansas didn’t even petition for De Sousa’s reinstatement until late last month, which means the NCAA presented its answer quickly. It’s the wrong answer, though.Athletic director Jeff Long said KU is “shocked and incensed” by the penalty and promised an appeal.Attorney Scott Tompsett, hired last month to represent De Sousa in this matter, said the decision “would shock the conscience of anyone who believes in fundamental fairness.” He pointed out his client was unaware of the alleged violation and did not benefit from it.”That is not how we do things in this country,” Tompsett said. He promised to work with Kansas to do “everything legally possible” to get the decision changed.De Sousa is a 6-9 forward/center who played at IMG Academy after coming to the U.S. from his native Angola. He enrolled last spring at KU and played a crucial role during the team’s run to the Final Four. His appearance in San Antonio in a loss to Villanova was almost certainly the last we will see of him in a Jayhawks uniform. His guardian was a man named Fenny Falmagne, who denied last spring in an interview with the Kansas City Star that had accepted any money regarding De Sousa’s recruitment.MORE: NCAA was given green light to investigate schools last yearWe have come so far from the reason and compassion shown when the NCAA, in 2010, considered allegations that Cam Newton’s father had discussed payment in exchange for Cam committing to Mississippi State. Newton continued playing for Auburn, won a Heisman Trophy and BCS championship. And it was the right thing to do.In this case, holding De Sousa 100 percent responsible for the actions of someone else and leveling the eligibility equivalent of the “death penalty” is excessive and indefensible.Oh, it was defended by the NCAA, which said that any athlete who allows a third party into a recruitment becomes responsible for that party’s actions. As if teenagers have some actual control of the adults around them, the adults in their lives.And it’ll be defended by those who will declare it to be a deterrent. “Follow this example and look what can happen to your kid!” Except that’s not usually how those seeking this sort of compensation view such punishments. It’s not their career, their education, their experience.For those who engage in helping athletes from other countries to immigrate to the U.S. for the purpose of attending school and playing ball — in some order — it might be disappointing but hardly calamitous.For some family members or “advisers,” college basketball can be an obstacle or interruption on the road to the level of basketball that distributes big money. They might view a loss of the player’s eligibility as the erasure of a boundary.For the athlete, though, it represents the destruction of an experience on which the entirety of the NCAA membership’s internal logic is built.Their rules do not permit the participating athletes to be paid a salary, but, they insist, the education provided by member universities and the lessons learned and experiences gained through NCAA competition remain a rich reward.DeCOURCY: Attempt by Tony Bland’s attorney to blame NCAA falls shortThe NCAA is not repossessing these experiences from Silvio De Sousa’s guardian. It is taking them directly from De Sousa, even though its own report identifies the culprit.If the NCAA experience is to be invested with great value, however, how can it so callously withdraw that experience from someone apparently blameless? last_img read more

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