It was a certainly an up and down week for a pair of Wisconsin Badger players and coaches, experiencing the highest highs and lowest lows of many of their young collegiate careers. Last Saturday, the Badger men’s basketball team, the day before arguably their toughest match-up of the year, lost leading scorer guard Trevon Hughes to an ankle injury. Obviously, Bo Ryan and the rest of his team wasn’t intimidated one bit despite playing in Austin facing the 9th ranked Longhorns. The Badgers were able to hang around all game, getting contributions from each and every player at Ryan’s disposal. Yet the Texas trio, Justin Mason, D.J. Augustin, and A.J. Abrams, were resilient in their own rite, until the final seconds, when Abrams, a previously 93% shooter from the charity stripe, missed a vital attempt that would have put his Longhorns up three. Ensuing the miss, senior Michael Flowers ran down the court after a timeout and drained a 3-pointer with 2 seconds left. Flowers then alertedly stole the in-bounds pass locking up the thrilling victory, 67-66. The win boosted the Badgers back into the Top 25, and upped their record to 10-2. The team opens their Big-Ten season tonight versus Michigan.
On the other side of the spectrum, the Badger football team wasn’t as fortunate on the gridiron in the Outback Bowl yesterday in Tampa Bay. Despite gutty performances from senior quarterback Tyler Donovan and sophomore bruiser P.J. Hill, the Badgers still fell on the short end of a 21-17 decision to the Tennessee Volunteers. Donovan, who was battered throughout the game’s entirety, appeared to have the Badgers ready to take their first lead of the game in the final minute. However, on a pass to the end-zone intended for Paul Hubbard, Donovan was intercepted to seal their fate. Second-year coach Bret Bielema and the Badgers finished their season 9-4, and will return their entire backfield in 2008. Look for another successful year from them next year, with to-be sophomore John Clay hopefully emerging as a legitimate piece to the puzzle.