No. 10 Badgers back home to host No. 16 Boilermakers, Illinois

first_imgThe Wisconsin Badgers’ volleyball team will be looking forward to returning home this weekend as they host Illinois Friday and No. 16 Purdue Saturday at the UW Fieldhouse after a difficult two weeks on the road.As senior co-captain Aubrey Meierotto sat out with pneumonia, Wisconsin split their four-match road trip, losing to the third-ranked Penn State Nittany Lions and unsuspecting Michigan.Meierotto returned sparingly against Penn State, but was back in the starting lineup in the Badgers’ 3-0 sweep of No. 19 Ohio State and will most likely be starting again this weekend.With the two road losses, Wisconsin also lost sole possession of second place in the Big Ten as they are now currently tied with Purdue at 9-3 in the conference play.With the second-place spot on the line, Saturday’s match against the Boilermakers will have an added importance as the stretch run of the season begins. The last time the two teams met, at West Lafayette, the Badgers squeaked by with a 3-2 win. Head coach Pete Waite knows this match-up won’t be any easier, even at home where the Boilermakers haven’t won since 1992.”Purdue’s right behind us in the Big Ten race,” Waite said. “We went to their place and won in five and they’re a solid team. They’re better than they ever have been; they’ve made the biggest surge of any team in the conference in the last two years, especially this year.””They’re a team that’s very hungry and they haven’t won here in a while. They’ve got the size, they’ve got the ball handling — they’ve got everything you need, so that one’s huge.”Since the Wisconsin loss, Purdue has won its last eight games and, even more impressively, won seven of them in three games, dropping only one match to the 18th-ranked Minnesota Golden Gophers.Maybe the most difficult part of matching up against the Boilermakers is the fact that the team is so similar to Wisconsin — a young team with a balanced scoring attack.Six players have more than two kills per game for the Boilermakers, led by 6’4″ freshman outside hitter Danita Merlau, averaging 3.5 a contest. Fellow freshman Stephanie Lynch adds 2.88 kills per game and leads the team with a .346 hitting percentage and 1.24 blocks per game.However, Wisconsin can’t overlook Illinois Friday night, as they’ve preached all season that any Big Ten team can provide an upset. That was even more evident with their loss to Michigan.Wisconsin routed the Illini at Champaign, but Illinois provided the Badgers with a battle in the third game as they jumped out to a 16-12 lead before Wisconsin put the game and match away.If it wasn’t apparent that Illinois won’t be a cakewalk, the Illini are coming off a weekend in which they swept Michigan and Michigan State.Furthermore, Illinois upset the Buckeyes at Columbus earlier this year so there’s no doubt they can play, and head coach Pete Waite knows this fact.”Illinois is playing a lot better than when we saw them down at their place,” Waite said. “They were struggling with some injuries and some departures from the program. Now they’ve changed their setters. They’re a faster offense, and they’re feeling good about themselves — they just got the wins over Michigan and Michigan State last weekend at their place, so we know they’re going to be tough, too.”Also worth mentioning, Illinois has a lot to play for as it tries to make a run for a post-season entry since they currently sit at 13-10 and sixth in the Big Ten.Senior outside hitter Rachel Van Meter is the Illini’s heart and soul as she leads the Big Ten with an astonishing 5.70 kills per game.Notes: Jocelyn Wack extended her double-digit dig streak to 52 last weekend and could move into fourth place all-time this weekend.The Badgers will be holding a rules clinic at the Field House Saturday at 4:45 p.m. before the match with Purdue.”Our goal with the clinic is to help fans understand the game of volleyball better and to learn to appreciate the strategy and nuances of the sport,” says UW Coach Pete Waite. “I think it will be a fun and informative session.”last_img read more

NBA All-Star 2019: 5 most intriguing lineup combinations

first_imgThree of James’ first four picks are impending free agents while Antetokounmpo nabbed multiple first-time All-Stars.The complete rosters are below: Related News Team LeBron— Kevin Durant — Kyrie Irving — Kawhi Leonard — James Harden— Anthony Davis— Klay Thompson— Damian Lillard— Ben Simmons— LaMarcus Aldridge— Karl-Anthony Towns— Bradley Beal— Dwyane WadeTeam Giannis— Stephen Curry— Joel Embiid— Paul George— Kemba Walker— Khris Middleton— Nikola Jokic— Russell Westbrook— Blake Griffin— D’Angelo Russell— Nikola Vucevic— Kyle Lowry— Dirk NowitzkiHere are the five lineup combinations we’re most excited to see in the game, which will take place Sunday, Feb. 17 in Charlotte, North Carolina. James-Thompson-Davis-Wade-SimmonsWhile unlikely, the trio of James, Thompson and Davis could end up playing together on the Lakers. The team had been attempting to trade for Davis before the deadline and that pursuit is expected to continue in the offseason. If Los Angeles does end up adding Davis, Thompson may reportedly consider signing with the franchise. Meanwhile, Wade — making his last ever All-Star appearance — and James are close friends while the Lakers star appreciates Simmons’ game. It would be interesting to see how this unit interacted on the court.  James-Durant-Irving-Leonard-ThompsonIn this scenario, James would be surrounded by four potential free agents. Could this lineup help him recruit one of these stars to join him in Los Angeles? You never know.Antetokounmpo-Curry-Lowry-Walker-WestbrookThis lineup would be fun. Antetokounmpo would play center on this unit and be surrounded by four ball handlers. The group would have the ability to push the pace and create offense at will. They’d be hard to stop.Walker-Russell-Middleton-Vucevic-JokicEveryone in this group is a first-time All-Star besides Walker. Meanwhile, the Hornets star will be playing on his home court. All five are bound to have something to prove and will be playing hard. NBA All-Star 2019: LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo discuss first televised draft The 2019 All-Star teams are officially set.LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo, the game’s two captains, completed the first ever televised draft Thursday. James selected Kevin Durant with his top choice and Antetokounmpo followed by picking Stephen Curry.center_img Westbrook-Antetokounmpo-Embiid-Griffin-GeorgeThis lineup is intriguing on two different levels. Every player is long and super athletic. Together, they’d make it difficult to penetrate the lane and would have the ability to score at all three levels. But, Westbrook and Embiid have clashed on the court and exchanged words through the media this season. It would be curious to see how they react to playing on the same team. Anthony Davis to return to Pelicans’ lineup, will play out rest of seasonlast_img read more