Basketball: Badgers set to prove in-state dominance

first_imgAs the University of Wisconsin-Madison men’s basketball team prepares to take on two in-state programs this week — UW-Milwaukee Wednesday night and Marquette Saturday — the program relishes the chance to demonstrate its top dog status in the state.But as opposing players look for the chance to showcase their talents on the state’s biggest stage, the Badgers are prepared for the challenge.“This is their chance to show the coaches and the state maybe they made a mistake, that they’re good enough to be there,” UW-Madison freshman Alex Illikainen said. “So this is their shot. They’re coming in here with hometown pride and trying to kick your butt.”The raw UW-Madison freshman class will get its first taste of in-state rivalries, and with that, added opportunities to display their scoring prowess.By halftime of the Temple game, freshmen Charlie Thomas, Ethan Happ and Illikainen each had six points.“We can’t expect the older guys to do everything,” Illikainen said. “Obviously, they’re going to do most of it. They have the leadership … Every once in a while, we might need to step up and make a couple of shots.”There are still learning moments for this young group, though. After Thomas put the ball on the deck on consecutive possessions and turned it over during practice Tuesday, UW head coach Bo Ryan screamed “Don’t dribble the ball Charlie! Don’t dribble the ball!”Illikainen played nine minutes and tied his career-high in points against Temple. When Vitto Brown gets in foul trouble and Thomas needs a breather, Illikainen is the next man up.The minutes aren’t necessarily of concern to Illikainen right now, who’s just focused on getting better.“I’m just going to keep working in practice and try to maximize my time,” Illikainen said. “I’m happy and confident where I’m at, but if more comes that’d be great.”His next chance for more minutes will come against the Panthers Wednesday night. After starting the season with six straight wins, including a Cable Car Classic title, UW-Milwaukee has since declined.Their solid performances haven’t translated into wins as of late, as the team has gone 3-3 since that tournament. The Panthers’ run started with an eight-point loss to No. 18 Notre Dame, a game that — one would expect — could indicate better things to come since their program lost to a national powerhouse by a small-margin.But what has followed hasn’t been the case. Milwaukee went on to lose even closer games against Murray State (5-4) and Duquesne (6-2) while shooting at 43 percent in each. Duquesne shot 64.8 percent in that four-point overtime loss, and the loss against Notre Dame saw the Fighting Irish shoot at 57.1 percent.While the Panthers’ defense isn’t much to gloat about, offense has been consistent. Five Milwaukee players average over 10 points per game with forward Matt Tiby boasting a team-best 14.6 PPG. The senior also grabs 8.4 rebounds per game and will be his team’s focal point on offense.But Milwaukee’s true strength lies in their team play. As a unit, they shoot at 45 percent and average 75 points per game.Junior forward Hayes said during the team’s film session UW-Madison focused on the Panthers’ offense, and the number of screens and cuts they run presents a challenge.“It’ll make us have to communicate better, make sure we’re in the right spots, have our head on a swivel and make sure we’re communicating out there,” Hayes said. “Games like this and good teams like this always help us.”Hayes said given the high number of screens UW-Milwaukee runs, he doesn’t anticipate guarding Tiby one-on-one throughout the game. He’s recently taken on the chore of guarding the team’s best player (with the exception of guards), most notably when UW played Oklahoma and Hayes matched up against Buddy Hield last month.Hayes has been finding his stride in his offensive game and on the glass during Wisconsin’s last three games. Over the season’s first six games, Hayes pulled down 23 rebounds. In the last three, he’s hauled in 35 boards.He averaged 14 points throughout the first six games, but has averaged 17.7 points in the last three.last_img read more

USC football makes a splash on National Signing Day

first_imgClay Helton and Co. will welcome 19 players, chock-full of talent to their 2018 recruiting class. Katie Chin | Daily TrojanWednesday’s National Signing Day marked the end of the college football recruiting period, and USC went big. The Trojans started the day outside of the top 10 in overall recruiting rankings, but that would change in a matter of hours.The first decision of the day came from linebacker Solomon Tuliaupupu at around 9:40 a.m. Tuliaupupu chose the Trojans over rivals UCLA and Notre Dame. The four-star product of Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, Calif. is the fourth-ranked inside linebacker and 86th-ranked overall prospect in the nation according to At 6 feet, 2 inches and 220 pounds, Tuliaupupu won the Butkus Award as the nation’s top linebacker for his senior season. He will join five-star high school teammates wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown and quarterback JT Daniels as Trojans next season.The second and possibly most important commitment came from five-star cornerback Olaijah Griffin at around 10:30 a.m. The 6-foot, 170-pound prospect out of Mission Viejo High School established himself as one of the premier defensive backs in the class of 2018, earning his spot as 247Sports’ third-ranked corner and 28th-ranked player at any position. Griffin was picking between USC, Tennessee, Alabama and Oregon. Griffin, the son of rapper Warren G, announced his decision on ESPN and celebrated with legendary USC linebacker Willie McGinest, his famous father and Snoop Dogg. As an instinctive and physical player, any production he gives as a freshman will be a massive gain for a Trojan defensive backfield that struggled mightily at times in 2017.The Trojans continued their hot streak when four-star wide receiver Devon Williams picked USC over Oregon on ESPN. At 6 feet, 4 inches and 200 pounds, Williams is highly gifted, listed by ESPN as the number one athlete in his class. The product of Antelope Valley High School in Lancaster, Calif. Williams is the sixth-ranked wide receiver and 40th-ranked player in 2018.USC’s luck ended when four-star receiver/tight end Michael Ezeike chose UCLA around 1:30 p.m., and this continued when four-star offensive lineman Penei Sewell committed to Oregon 30 minutes later. Sewell’s decision was a particularly tough pill to swallow, as USC’s 24-7 Cotton Bowl loss to Ohio State proved the team needs to improve in the trenches.However, the Trojans finished the day strong when four-star cornerback Isaac Taylor-Stuart committed to USC over Tennessee, Alabama and Texas A&M. The 6-foot-2-inch, 187-pound defensive back out of Helix Charter High School in San Diego made the announcement that he would be staying in Southern California via a livestream on his Instagram account. The additions of Taylor-Stuart and Griffin, both top-five cornerbacks according to 247Sports, set the Trojans up for a future of lockdown production on the outside.The Trojans also added a few preferred walk-ons. Two-star receiver Zach Wilson of Saguaro High School in Scottsdale, AZ, tweeted his commitment around 9:10 a.m. Twenty-five minutes later, safety Jordan McMillan of Loyola High School tweeted he would be living out his dream and joining USC.Four players who had previously committed to USC signed their letters of intent on Wednesday. Along with St. Brown and Daniels, four-star linebacker Eli’jah Winston and four-star defensive lineman Trevor Trout confirmed that they will be Trojans next season. Winston tweeted his decision to flip from Oregon to USC on Tuesday, while Trout announced his commitment back in November.Including early signees from December, the Trojans’ current 2018 recruiting class includes 18 players, two of whom are preferred walk-ons. Head coach Clay Helton will have a lot of talent to work with from this group, especially with multiple big names at linebacker, receiver and cornerback. USC finishes with six recruits ranked in the top 40 of the 247Sports composite. In addition, the Trojans earned the commitments of 247Sports’ top four California prospects, five of the top six and seven of the top 11. USC jumped to fourth in 247Sports’ team recruiting rankings, finishing with four five-stars players, 13 four-stars and one three-star. Tied with Georgia for the second-best average rating per recruit, USC can expect great things from a stacked class in the future.last_img read more


first_imgA Spitfire fighter plane, which is being excavated form a bog in Inishowen, holds the secret to one of the Second World War’s most famous stories. The plane belonged to an American who was later held by the Irish Government for two years after he bailed out of the plane.The crash-landing provoked a huge diplomatic row between Britain and neutral Ireland at a crucial time in the conflict.It is believed the pilot was Roland Wolf, known as Bud, but officially he is not being named until later this year.Before the US joined the war late in 1941, the brave pilot with film-star looks came to Britain and was recruited to fly Spitfires in Northern Ireland. He was based at RAF Eglington, Co Derry. However a coolant leak got him into trouble over the border in November 1941 but he parachuted out before his plane plunged into a peat bog in the Inishowen peninsula.After being captured by soldiers with the Irish Defence Force, he was taken to the Curragh detention camp, where he rubbed shoulders with Nazi agents and IRA sympathisers.After 12 days he escaped and made his way back to his RAF base but the Irish government pressed Prime Minister Winston Churchill for his return and the pilot from Nebraska spent another two years at the Curragh.While there he rode with the local hunt and earned the nickname Bud by wearing a cowboy outfit. After his release, he went straight back to the RAF and was credited with four direct kills.Bud later joined the US Army Air Force and flew 887 fighter missions in Korea and Vietnam, achieving the rank of Colonel. He died in 1994.Part of his Spitfire fuselage has already been unearthed. It was one of 20 funded by ­Canadian millionaire Willard Garfield Weston during the Battle of Britain.Harry McDermot, 75, was just five when he saw the plane plunge to the ground. He said: “I thought I saw a man dangling from an umbrella in the sky. I had no idea what a parachute was. The defence force found him pretty quickly and took him off.”As excavations continue at the remote site, it is expected they will be filmed for a BBC series on war relics presented by The One Show’s history expert Dan Snow.EndsSPITFIRE DITCHED IN INISHOWEN HOLDS SECRET TO GREAT WWII SAGA was last modified: June 19th, 2011 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:InishowenSpitfirelast_img read more