David Stluka/UW Athletics
First-year women’s basketball coach Jonathan Tsipis has a young team on his hands.
As Badger Nation awaits kickoff at the Goodyear Cotton Bowl at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, where No. 8 Wisconsin will meet No. 12 Western Michigan on Jan. 2, let’s turn our attention to the status of a few other UW teams.
• The women’s volleyball team, for the first time since 2000, will host an NCAA regional. No. 3 seed Wisconsin will play Ohio State on Friday, Dec. 9, at the UW Field House in the first regional semifinal, and No. 6 seed Stanford will face Florida State later that afternoon. Semifinal winners advance to Saturday’s regional final, with the winner headed to the NCAA Championship semifinals at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio, on Dec. 15.
The Badgers advanced to the Sweet Sixteen on Dec. 2 with a three-set sweep of Washington State, 25-18, 25-18 and 25-17. “I think our team just keeps getting better and better,” UW head coach Kelly Sheffield told UWBadgers.com after the win.
• The UW women’s basketball team needs to get a lot better. Under first-year head coach Jonathan Tsipis, the first male to ever lead the program, the Badgers have struggled to a 3-6 record. Their only win at the Kohl Center, a 60-55 victory over Butler on Nov. 20, is overshadowed by blowout losses to the likes of Charlotte, Dayton, Ole Miss and UW-Milwaukee. But a big 64-46 win at Illinois State on Dec. 4 could be the boost these Badgers need.
With just three seniors and two juniors, this is a young Wisconsin team working through some growing pains. UW has three games remaining before tipping off the Big Ten schedule against Michigan on Jan. 1 at the Kohl Center. UW will host Mississippi Valley State on Friday, Dec. 6, and then Marquette on Sunday, Dec. 8.
• Another group experiencing growing pains is the UW men’s hockey team. The 7-6-1 Badgers capped their nonconference schedule on Dec. 2-3 against Omaha at the Kohl Center with a 3-3 tie and a 4-7 loss. Giving up early goals has been a major issue for the Badgers, readily admits first-year head coach Tony Granato, a former Badgers hockey player who took over a once-powerful program that fell hard during the final two years of Mike Eaves’ reign.
The Badgers face off at Michigan for a weekend series on Dec. 9-10 and then host Michigan State at the Kohl Center on Jan. 6-7.