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Salute The State Of Wisconsin


Despite a 58-57, upset by Penn State on Wednesday night, Bo Ryan's Badgers remain among the contenders in the Big Ten. They entered the week winning eight of their last nine outings.

The Badgers play hard and with discipline and Kirk Penney and Devin Harris deserve more publicity.

The Badgers held Michigan State and Indiana below 60 points.

Then there is Marquette. Although the Golden Eagles lost to Louisville, it was one of the best games I've seen this season.

Tom Crean is a rising star in the coaching profession. His team plays so aggressively and attacks the basket. This is a team that plays well on both ends of the court. Marquette plays with such intensity.

Dick "Hoops" Weiss of the New York Daily News, one of the top college basketball writers in America, recently told me that he attended a Marquette practice and it was one of the most physical practices he's seen the day before a game.

Dwyane Wade is one of the elite eight players in the nation. He can break a game open with spurts and make things happen with his driving ability.

And while Wisconsin and Marquette take up the headlines, Wisconsin-Milwaukee takes an eight-game win streak into this weekend's Bracket Buster game against Southern Illinois.

Bruce Pearl's team has a shot to make it to the big dance as Horizon League champion. Although, Butler fans might have something to say about that.

The Quakers of Penn have won their last 16 Ivy League games. Fran Dunphy's team scored a big win over Brown last weekend, 73-66.

Ugonna Onyekwe had 21 points and 13 rebounds in that win. He has posted three straight double-doubles.

The Quakers have wins over Villanova, Temple and USC this season. Penn could be on its way to its fourth NCAA bid in five years.

Dunphy's team has its next four games on the road, including a rematch at Brown February 28th.

It shouldn't be a surprise to see Penn atop the Ivy standings. The last time Penn or Princeton didn't win the conference and advance to the NCAA tournament was 1988, when Cornell was blitzed by Arizona in the opening round of the big dance.

In a year where so many freshmen have had an impact on the college basketball landscape, one who has come up big without much hype plays up at Syracuse.

That's right, the same place that features Carmelo Anthony has another key diaper dandy. Gerry McNamara has stepped up under pressure without much credit.

Just ask Mike Brey ... it was McNamara who hit the game-winning trifecta against the Irish.

I truly believe Conference USA will get four teams in the big dance this season.

There are three locks -- Louisville, Marquette and Cincinnati. You can make it four since John Calipari and the Tigers will make it.

In my view, Memphis has enough quality non-league wins (Illinois, Syracuse, Villanova, Mississippi) to impress the selection committee.

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