Head coach Bo Ryan and the Wisconsin men’s basketball team returned to Madison this week after a two-game road trip for the Las Vegas Invitational this past weekend. Before they continue nonconference play against the Virginia Cavaliers Wednesday, Ryan spoke on his team’s travels during his weekly press conference Monday.The Badgers (4-2) lost to then-No. 14 Creighton 84-74 Friday but then rallied to beat SEC opponent Arkansas in the third-place game, 77-70.With tough competition in Las Vegas, Ryan learned plenty about his team. Creighton, led by All-American Doug McDermott, provided UW a good chance to assess where it was as a team a few weeks into the season.“Creighton, some really good things we saw there and the comeback that we made, and then hit a wall – you can’t do that.” Ryan said. “But I saw a little spark there. I saw some things that hopefully we can build on. And we definitely got something back by turning that thing around in the second half against Arkansas.”The Arkansas game marked the second time the Badgers faced an SEC team this year, with the first meeting coming Nov. 14 against 10th-ranked Florida.Throughout the week, Wisconsin was led by junior Jared Berggren, who had a career-high 27 points against Creighton. Freshman Sam Dekker also posted a career high and paced the Badgers’ scoring with 17 points in the Arkansas victory.Creighton was the second of five nonconference opponents the Badgers will face this year that qualified for the 2012 NCAA Tournament last season. After Florida and Creighton, Virginia (4-2, 0-0) is next as the Cavaliers head to the Kohl Center Wednesday as the Badgers’ foe in the annual Big Ten/ACC Challenge.It has been and will continue to be a tough stretch of games for UW. The early season nonconference schedule is highlighted by more than just the Big Ten/ACC Challenge this year. Ryan acknowledged the tough road ahead.“It’s not like the Big Ten Challenge game is the only game that we have,” Ryan said. “This is quite a stretch.”Along with Florida, Creighton and Virginia, the Badgers will also face California and in-state rival Marquette before the nonconference schedule is complete. Including Big Ten play, the Badgers will face 12 teams that were in the NCAA Tournament last season.The annual Big Ten/ACC Challenge game this year brings in a Virginia team that has many close ties to UW and the state of Wisconsin. Virginia coach Tony Bennett was a former player at UW-Green Bay and an assistant coach at UW from 2001-2003, with the last two years being under Bo Ryan. Tony Bennett’s dad, Dick Bennett, was the head coach of Wisconsin from 1996-2000 as well.“[Tony is a] guy that knows basketball, gym rat, [I] watched him play when he was in high school, college,” Ryan said about Bennett’s time as an assistant at UW. “[He] loves the game, was great to have on the staff. He did a great job. He and [UW-Milwaukee head coach] Rob Jeter led our scout team and that showed his toughness.”Bennett’s toughness may be most visible in the defensive mentality of the teams he coaches. Ryan was asked about the comparisons between defensive-minded programs and compared the two teams to each other.“People that watch his teams play, our teams play, … they’re all trying to basically do the same thing,” Ryan said. “Don’t give up easy shots, don’t give up wide open shots, don’t put people at the foul line a lot – you’re going to foul some – and then on the offensive end, try not to give people the ball in open floor scoring positions, and that helps your defense.”Their defensive strategies have helped the Badgers fare well against ACC opponents, winning six of their last seven, including three out of the last four games in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. Their only loss came last season to North Carolina by three points. Wisconsin owns the third best record in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge among Big Ten schools with a record of 6-7. Only Michigan State (6-6) and Ohio State (6-5) own better records.
Facebook Twitter Google+ After No. 27 Syracuse’s final home match this season, Sofya Golubovskaya walked off the court with tears in her eyes. She cried neither because it was Senior Day for her doubles partner nor because her first collegiate season was almost over.She cried because she had a bad match.In a day filled with emotions, SU’s only freshman was frustrated with herself after her match went unfinished at 4-6, 6-2, 1-4. She walked off the courts at Drumlins Country Club and declined to talk to the media.But almost instantly, her teammates were there to comfort her.“I’ve had a lot of struggles this year,” Golubovskaya said, “but now I have a team to help me, and I love it.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textGolubovskaya, a native of Moscow, came to Syracuse for the first time on Jan. 10. In more than three months, she has dealt with a multitude of adjustments. One of her biggest culture shocks was being a part of a team rather than playing as an individual, Golubovskaya said. It was new to her. A team, an aspect of tennis she once questioned, has driven her to improve her game as a regular at third singles for the Orange.For all of her life before arriving at SU, Golubovskaya competed alone in tournaments in Russia and Europe. Playing on a team was a concept she didn’t understand.“Tennis (is) not a team sport,” Golubovskaya said. “It was really new for me. I wasn’t ready at first.”A couple of weeks into Golubovskaya’s transition, junior Gabriela Knutson said the freshman was hesitant to bond with her new team. During team practices, SU works on cheering for teammates at matches, mostly during changeovers and in between points. That was something Golubovskaya had to get used to.“The first day here she didn’t cheer (with us) at all,” Knutson said. “It was like she didn’t understand what was going on.”One thing that helped her was that three of her seven teammates speak Russian. Anna Shkudun, Golubovskaya’s doubles partner, and Libi Mesh speak Russian, and Maria Tritou can hold a conversation in Russian from time to time, Golubovskaya said. Interactions with them helped Golubovskaya forget about the language barriers in her new life.To ease Golubovskaya’s adjustment, SU head coach Younes Limam wanted to mimic some of the tactics he used with then-freshman Miranda Ramirez last season. Limam set up biweekly meetings with Golubovskaya and associate head coach Shelley George.The meetings focused on her biggest challenges. Of the wide range of acclimations, Limam pointed toward understanding her coaches, teammates and professors as some of the toughest. At times, Golubovskaya sought advice during those encounters, while other times she asked for favors such as getting a ride to the mall, she said.Most of the season, Golubovskaya played third singles behind Knutson and Ramirez. During a pivotal three-match stretch against ranked teams, Golubovskaya won three-straight matches against then-No. 44 Clemson, then-No. 16 Wake Forest and then-No. 48 Louisville.This is the first season Golubovskaya has worried about playing teams and not just individuals. She used to only rely on herself to reach her goals. Now, Golubovskaya has seven other players on her side.“All my life I was just taking care of myself and nobody else,” Golubovskaya said, “Now that I’m here, I see that my teammates can help me in life.” Comments Published on April 30, 2018 at 10:58 pm Contact KJ: firstname.lastname@example.org | @KJEdelman