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Badgers looking for revenge in Ann Arbor

first_imgBEN CLASSON/Herald file photoAfter 13 straight days off, the No. 9 Wisconsin football team (3-0) travels to Ann Arbor tomorrow to take on the Michigan Wolverines (1-2). The two-week hiatus allowed UW to heal some of its wounds and prepare for the grueling part of the season: Big Ten play.“We try to keep things rolling; we didn’t get too much rest,” offensive guard Kraig Urbik said. “We had some things to work on on offense, things we needed to get better at. We definitely got a lot of work in, got a lot accomplished, but we’ve got to keep rolling.”The Badgers are coming off a thrilling 13-10 road victory over the Fresno State Bulldogs Sept. 13, a game UW hopes to feed off of to continue its winning ways.“It definitely gave us some confidence, knowing that we can go on the road and beat a very quality opponent like Fresno State,” Urbik continued. “It gave us confidence, but it makes us hungry for more. We want to be perfect on the road.”Under new head coach Rich Rodriguez, Michigan is only 1-2. But to Wisconsin, the Wolverines’ record makes no difference.“It’s not about Michigan at all,” fullback Chris Pressley said. “It’s not about Coach Rodriguez or their 1-2 record; it’s about us going in and playing in their home, taking the lessons we learned from Fresno, come out, start faster, start better. It’s about the things that we can do, how we can better our performance in an away arena. It’s about Wisconsin.”With home night games against Ohio State and Penn State on the horizon, could this be a trap game for the Badgers?“Forget Ohio State, forget Penn State,” wide receiver Kyle Jefferson said. “We can’t go anywhere before we beat Michigan, so Ohio State will have to wait. After the game Saturday, then we can think about those teams coming into our house. “They’re Michigan,” he added. “Last year they started off bad but ended up really well. The record doesn’t mean anything to us. We got to play the game and get a victory.”Although the Michigan offense has experienced some growing pains in its opening non-conference affairs, the UM defense — especially its run defense — is still among the best and most experienced in the Big Ten.“They’re a very good Michigan football defense,” Urbik said. “They return five of the starting front seven, and they’ve got very quality players up front.”The Wolverine defense has held its first three opponents to just 65.3 rushing yards per game and a meager 1.8 yards per carry.“It’s going to be one of those football games where you’ve got to just grind it out,” Urbik continued. “We’ll stick to our game plan, run the ball, pass the ball when we have to. It should be a grind-it-out game.”Although hard-fought, hard-nosed contests may play into Wisconsin’s strengths, the Badgers are anticipating a tough battle from the hosts.“I’m expecting them to play hard, for everybody to be on,” Pressley said. “They’re a 1-2 team, they’re going to come out fighting. We should expect them to play better than we see on film, just like they should expect us to play better than they see us on film. We’ve played some games, but none of them were Big Ten games.”“This is what we’re fighting for. It starts with Michigan.”Two seasons ago — the Badgers’ last trip to the Big House — the teams were deadlocked at 10 going into halftime. But it was the Wolverines who dominated the second half, finishing the Badgers off 27-13.“We just came out in the second half, and we were flat,” Urbik said. “They kicked our butts up and down the field because we weren’t playing our game, we weren’t playing physical, we weren’t on our targets.”This time, Wisconsin is looking to complete the mission and remain undefeated.“I’m looking forward to it, the first Big Ten game against Michigan, a good opponent,” Jefferson said. “We haven’t beaten them in a few years in their house, so we’re ready.”Jefferson, a sophomore, wasn’t on the UW roster two years ago but says his experience in big stadiums last season will help him in tomorrow’s showdown.“I’ve had my fair share of big houses,” he explained. “Last year I played at Penn State and Ohio State. You’ve got to treat it like home and go out there and play.”Jefferson has only caught five balls for 93 yards in the Badgers’ first three games. But being the deep threat that he is, he says tomorrow might be his day.“If we know Michigan, they’ll have seven people in the box to stop the three-headed (running back) monster that we have,” Jefferson said. “So by them doing that, it opens up the passing game for everybody, opens up the play action. I can’t wait — it’s our time to shine.”last_img read more

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Heisler: The Clippers were something, the Lakers something else

first_imgCinderellas R Them.There was once a little team that went from an eccentric owner’s laughingstock rattling around the Sports Arena … to local wannabes who were ignored even while averaging 50 wins in Staples Center … to this season’s surprising start with the remnants of their Chris Paul-Blake Griffin-DeAndre Jordan heyday … to management’s decision to trade leading scorer Tobias Harris and staring guard Avery Bradley, looking like they intended to tank … to their even more surprising 18-9 finish … to upending the Warriors’ world twice … before, at long last, succumbing.It’s the story of the 2018-19 Clippers, the proudest moment for an NBA team with “Los Angeles” in its name since the Lakers won their last championship in 2010.Unfortunately for local fans, the Lakers haven’t even been in the playoffs since 2013, so the competition hasn’t been all they would like. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersFirst-round drama is usually forgotten by the second round, but the Clippers’ stand won them something lasting.Respect.“What’s been really impressive is that they won while they were rebuilding,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said before their Game 6 victory. “When I see the Clippers, I see a team building a foundation, something substantial, something real.“You can see what they’ve done and how special this team has been – and the remarkable thing is, they traded their best player and got better. Think about that. Tobias Harris was having an All-Star year. …“It’s a great story. It’s a model for other teams, I think, to try to compete and rebuild at the same time. It’s not an easy thing to do.” The Clippers’ heroic stand was so brief and the highs so unexpected, there was barely time to scramble onto their bandwagon.With few giving them a chance, only true believers must have tuned into Game 1 … with few of those staying to the end of the 17-point loss.By the time they trailed by 31 in the second half of Game 2, the Clippers must have been down to family and friends … before their record-setting comeback.The Warriors then restored order in Games 3 and 4 in Staples Center … we all thought.By Game 5 in Oakland, the Warriors were trying to stay focused amid the buildup for their coming matchup with Houston.Nevertheless, who didn’t think that the Clippers would finally realize they were toast?Remarkably, once more, the Clippers refused to quit. Within one point with 2:40 left, they outscored the Warriors 12-3, with Lou Williams outscoring Steph Curry, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson combined by an 8-3 margin.The Warriors finally extinguished the uprising in Game 6, ending the local NBA season. Now for the long-awaited free-agent summer of both teams’ dreams.Yet to be seen is whether this is a random moment, or if their diverging fortunes and savvy will mean something lasting, with the Lakers’ front office spinning like a top and the Clippers earning raves.The Clippers’ front office is functioning at a high level as the deadline moves showed, bringing a coveted, unprotected No. 1 pick from Miami.Unprotected No. 1 picks are rare, making this one a prize, originally sent by Miami to Phoenix for Goran Dragic in 2015, moved to Philadelphia last spring for Mikal Bridges … even if the front office was surely as surprised by the team’s post-deadline surge as everyone else.“Clippers” now means more than it did a week ago, with ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith declaring they have “a better than 50 percent chance” of signing both Kevin Durant and Kawhi Leonard.The Lakers, meanwhile, remain holed up with no team official having appeared in public since team president Magic Johnson resigned April 9.Jeanie Buss is reportedly going forward with GM Rob Pelinka, but has yet to confirm that or let him appear to reassure fans … and free agents … that they’re still the Lakers, proceeding on the same agenda.As little as Pelinka’s controversy-filled career as an agent prepared him for this, he’s a bright guy who can handle himself in public. Jeanie won’t even trust him with that.Nor does Pelinka have anything like a free hand, enmeshed in the family-obsessed organization.Jeanie, who never participated in basketball operations, is now in the meetings with her best friend, Linda Rambis – another Lakers marketing official who is now said to exert influence in basketball ops – and Linda’s husband, Kurt.Criticized for not looking outside the organization, Jeanie’s answer is More Family. A veritable delegation of Busses went to Philadelphia last week to interview 76ers assistant coach Monty Williams: Jeanie, Jesse Buss, Joey Buss, plus Pelinka, Linda and Kurt Rambis and Tim Harris, yet another Lakers executive who hasn’t participated in basketball ops until now.Ominously for the Lakers, July 1 is looming with free agents gathering final impressions of who’s dynamic and who’s defunct.Last week, ESPN’s Dave McMenamin, who spent recent seasons covering LeBron James in Cleveland, tweeted that LeBron’s trust in the Lakers organization “has been damaged.”It’s safe to assume it came from James’ people. LeBron denied it – on Instagram. He hasn’t appeared in public since Magic left, either.Meanwhile, Bleacher Report’s Ric Bucher reported that before leaving, Magic saw emails from Pelinka to Jeanie about Johnson’s absence.Magic then tweeted, “The truth will always come to light” – without saying what he was referring to.Oh, and Magic also tweeted he’s still in the loop and will participate in free-agent recruiting.Yes, it has been the way it is around here for as long as there have been two teams.No, I don’t know where we go from here.center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more

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