Following last weekend’s road series at Minnesota, the Wisconsin men’s hockey team will look to get their first conference win this weekend when it returns home to face No. 15 Michigan Friday and Saturday night.As road underdogs last weekend, the Badgers battled Minnesota to a 2-2 tie in their first game before dropping the second game of the series to the Gophers 5-2.This weekend, Wisconsin (2-13-3) will have a tough task ahead of itself once again going up against Michigan (13-7-0), who is ranked 15th in the nation and sits atop the Big Ten standings.Wisconsin’s series with Michigan will be its fourth straight series against a top 20 ranked team, but Badgers head coach Mike Eaves said Monday he believes it is a positive thing for his team.“When you play against ranked teams, regardless of what the results are on paper, you become better. You’re drawing up to play at a higher level,” Eaves said. “For our kids, that’s a good thing.”Eaves added he wants his team put together strong performances in back-to-back games, as opposed to last weekend when the Badgers played well in their first game against Minnesota and poorly in the second one.“We’re not where we need to be because if you want to be a big time team, you’ve got to be able to play back to back nights,” Eaves said. “We haven’t been able to do that yet.”Unfortunately for Wisconsin, they will have to play the series without junior defenseman Eddie Wittchow, who was suspended two games by the Big Ten after receiving a disqualification penalty in the Badgers’ finale against Minnesota.According to Eaves, Wittchow’s absence is a major blow to their defensive depth, and will provide an opportunity for younger, more inexperienced players to take on larger roles.With Wittchow out, the Badgers will be counting even more on senior goaltender Joel Rumpel, who is coming off a 45 save performance last Saturday, to keep pucks out of the net. Rumpel has carried the Badgers as of late, with a save percentage of 92.0 over his last nine games.If Wisconsin wants to upset Michigan this weekend, it will also need to continue having success on the penalty kill. The Badgers killed all five of their penalties last weekend against Minnesota after struggling the previous two series against Michigan Tech and Boston University, yielding six power-play goals in four games.The Badgers will also hope Grant Besse can carry over his hot offensive stretch from the Minnesota series. Besse, Wisconsin’s leading goal-scorer with six, scored three times last weekend including a two-goal performance in the second game against the Gophers.Friday night’s game between the Badgers and 15th ranked Wolverines will start at 8 p.m. and will air on the Big Ten Network, while Saturday’s game will start at 7 p.m.
“They’re both great team players,” Hornacek said. “They just do whatever it takes for the team to win.”He said itApparently, the Houston Rockets had no interest in retaining Metta World Peace in 2009 for something that had nothing to do with basketball. The former Ron Artest blamed it on arriving to the team bus in his underwear before the Rockets’ Game 7 loss to the Lakers in the 2009 Western Conference semifinals. The following summer, World Peace signed with the Lakers to a five-year, $33 million deal.“I wanted to stay in Houston. I didn’t want to join the best team (the Lakers). I wanted to play against the best team,” World Peace said. “Houston didn’t offer me a contract. I heard it was because I came on the bus in my underwear. If that’s the story, that’s why, OK.” New environmentThe Lakers assigned rookie forward/guard Anthony Brown to their Development League affiliate, the D-Fenders. Brown, whom the Lakers drafted 34th overall, played sparingly in only three regular-season games. As he played with a nose he believes is broken, Lakers center Roy Hibbert occasionally tugged at his plastic mask to find a comfortable fit. Before shooting a pair of free throws, he even tossed the mask to the sideline.But that wasn’t the only thing that left Hibbert frustrated during the Lakers’ 120-101 loss to the Phoenix Suns on Monday. The Suns outrebounded the Lakers 50-37, including an 18-7 advantage on the offensive glass.Despite posting 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting and a team-leading seven rebounds, Hibbert largely faulted himself.“I have to do a better job of boxing out” Hibbert told Los Angeles News Group. “I need to pursue and keep my guy off the board and go to help out the other guys pursuing the rebound.” Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error The Lakers have not blamed Hibbert. They have appreciated his defensive hustle and leadership. But with the Lakers (2-9) tied for last in the NBA in rebounding differential (-5.8), Lakers coach Byron Scott said he will implement box-out drills in practice.The Lakers did not practice on Tuesday after playing back-to-back games. But they will have practices on Wednesday and Thursday before hosting the Toronto Raptors on Friday at Staples Center. “Hopefully if he has box-out drills,” Hibbert said, “we’ll box out.”Unselfish relativesIt appears Lakers rookie forward Larry Nance. Jr has taken after his old man. Phoenix Suns coach Jeff Hornacek played with the elder Larry Nance with Phoenix in the 1980s.