If you haven’t been over to the Kohl Center to watch the Badgers play yet this season, you may want to put it on your “to-do” list. The 2008-09 campaign is shaping up nicely so far.
First of all, which Badgers am I talking about? All of them, of course. Men’s basketball, women’s basketball, women’s hockey and men’s hockey. The four primary occupants of the Kohl Center have a combined 33-9-4 record.
Let’s start with the women’s hockey team. After all, they’re ranked No. 1 in the nation and are unbeaten (16-0-2) this season. Coach Mark Johnson’s team is led by high-scoring sophomore Hilary Knight, who has 20 goals and 15 assists for 35 points. Backstopping the Badgers is senior goaltender Jesse Vetter, whose 32 career shutouts (seven this season) are an NCAA record.
The men’s hockey squad got off to a rough start, going 0-6-1 in their first seven games. But they’ve made a remarkable turnaround. Coach Mike Eaves’ team is now 7-7-2 with a 7-1-1 mark in their last nine outings, including a two-game sweep of Michigan State and Michigan last weekend.
The women’s basketball team dropped its first game of the season, but has since reeled off five straight victories. Coach Lisa Stone’s Badgers are fresh off a 59-58 win over sixth-ranked Baylor down in the Virgin Islands. Guards Alyssa Karel and Rae Lin D’Alie were both named to the all-tournament team in the Paradise Jam, with Karel earning tournament MVP honors.
Last but certainly not least, head coach Bo Ryan’s men’s basketball team has moved out to a 5-1 record and remains among the nation’s top-25 teams. The Badgers have been getting contributions from several players and seniors Joe Krabbenhoft and Marcus Landry continue to provide leadership. Wisconsin faces Virginia Tech tonight in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge in Blacksburg, Va.
Both hockey teams are back home at the Kohl Center this weekend. The women’s hoops team has three home games this week. And men’s basketball plays four home games (including one against eighth-ranked Texas) between Dec. 9-23.