2 NCAA bids for UW hoops

first_imgTrevon Hughes and the Badgers had a season highlighted by a win over eventual national champs Duke.[/media-credit]It was a tale of two teams for the Wisconsin men’s basketball program in 2009-10: with Jon Leuer and without him.With the 6-foot-10 Minnesota native providing an inside counterbalance to the outside scoring of Trevon Hughes and Jason Bohannon, the Badgers got off to a 10-2 nonconference start, including Maui Invitational wins over Arizona and eventual No. 4-seed Maryland in the third-place game.The next time UW hit the hardwood, in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, Bo’s crew pulled off what could be considered the program’s biggest win ever, downing Duke — the eventual national champion — 73-69, igniting the Kohl Center crowd and handing the Blue Devils their first Challenge loss ever.When Big Ten play got underway, Wisconsin collected wins over an Evan Turner-less Ohio State squad and at Penn State before predictably falling at Michigan State in a game where Leuer scored 21 of the team’s paltry 47 points.In the following outing, versus then No. 4 Purdue, Wisconsin earned the second of its three top-10 upsets, but lost Leuer to a broken wrist.Without Leuer’s post-scoring presence, the team managed to salvage a 6-3 mark by becoming a perimeter-oriented offense and with the emergence of sophomore guard Jordan Taylor.Upon Leuer’s return, it appeared the team had regained its stride, winning four out five to close the regular season.However, the Badgers were out of sorts in a Big Ten tournament loss to Illinois, even worse in an opening-round win over Wofford, and, at the end of the day, seemed listless and overmatched versus the Big Red of Cornell, falling 87-69 to end their season.For a team that was picked to finish as low as 10th in preseason polls, the Wisconsin women’s basketball team acquitted itself quite well, securing the program’s first NCAA Tournament bid in the Lisa Stone era.Just like the previous season, Stone’s squad jumpstarted the year by going 10-1 in nonconference play, highlighted by three Thanksgiving-weekend wins which earned the Badgers the World Vision Invitational title.But, the question went, could the team avoid the conference slump that had plagued it a year prior?And the team answered resoundingly, following two difficult road losses to Iowa and Illinois with four straight victories, featuring a signature win at East Lansing, 48-45, over then No. 20 Michigan State.Although UW traded wins for losses for most of the remainder of Big Ten play, the group closed strong, picking up a dramatic double-overtime win over border-rival Minnesota, dominating Penn State by a tally of 71-38, and narrowly falling in an overtime finale with Iowa, the team they would finish tied with for third place in the league.For good measure, the Badgers knocked off perennial conference-power Purdue to all but seal an NCAA bid — a bid they would eventually receive, as a No.7-seed.However, in their first game in the Big Dance in nearly a decade, the Badgers couldn’t contain an experienced (and large) guard combo from the 10-seed, Vermont, falling to the Catamounts in a disappointing first round.Nonetheless, the team’s regular season efforts earned Stone the Coach of the Year honors as voted by the coaches, and brought higher expectations for the year to come.last_img

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