Mike Lucas has more than 38 years under his belt covering Badgers sports for the Madison Capitol Times. Along with national, regional and local writing awards, Lucas has been twice named the Sportswriter of the Year in Wisconsin. He also has more than 15 years as color analyst on Wisconsin Radio Network for Badger football and basketball. You can see Mike hosts his weekly television show, Sidelines on WISC TV (Ch.3-Ch.14). Lucas has authored five books: Barry's Badgers, the chronicleof the 1993 Rose Bowl Season; Five Golden Rings; the Saga of Wisconsin Hockey; The 25 Greatest Moments in Camp Randall History; Don't Flinch, the Barry Alvarez autobiography; and Another Hill to Climb, the Bo Ryan autobiography.
Matt Lepay is a native of Dayton, Ohio and is a graduate of Ohio State University (degree in journalism). He is the radio voice of Wisconsin Badgers Football and Basketball(football since 1994 and basketball since 1988-89) and a five-time Wisconsin Sportscaster of the Year (as selected by state media members). You may have seen him on TV as the host of the Badgers Sports Report with UW coaches Bret Bielema and Bo Ryan. He also co-hosts Badgers Sportstalk radio shows with Mike Lucas.
Brian Anderson from Fox Sports Wisconsin joined the show on Thursday to talk about the Milwaukee Brewers.
How big of a moment was that walk off hit for Blake Lalli?:
"He was so excited, I had talked to him... two days ago before the game. He had come to Miller Park in the exhibition series with the White Sox, and that was the first time he had taken batting practice at Miller Park. Of course he went back to the Minor Leagues right away, he was in a good battle with Khris Davis for that final roster spot. He wasn't on the roster so Davis got that spot, and Lalli had to go back to Triple-A, and then more injuries occurred. Roenicke really liked him in Spring Training, I know the rest of the coaching staff did as well. He truly earned his way to the big leagues, and for him to have a moment like that, (I'm) very happy for him, he's a great kid. He's persevered, he had his moment in the sun, and he delivered in a big way... Roenicke originally had (Martin) Maldonado in the on deck circle, Maldonado was going to hit there, and for whatever reason, hunch, matchup, or whatever, Roenicke pulled Maldonado back just before the at bat, and he sent Lalli out there."
Was that win against St. Louis on Sunday as a big a win as a team could have in April with the way they were playing?:
"Yeah absolutely. I said that on the air that day, it is April and you have to take it in perspective with a long baseball season, but this was a spiral downward for this team. The fact that they were about to be swept, they weren't hitting, Braun wasn't hitting. Braun still is struggling in a big way. He's having neck problems, he's trying to stay in the lineup, I give him a lot of credit for continuing to play because he is a force even when he is not a 100%. He walked three times last night, and that created traffic. For Braun to hit that home run in St. Louis in the eighth inning, it was such an improbable come back. I think if they do go on...to do something special., if they have a playoff type year... then I think you will be able to look back on (that win)."
Does John Axford talk a lot with Trevor Hoffman?:
"He and Trevor are constantly texting, obviously he got under the wing of Trevor Hoffman in 2009 when he first came to the Big Leagues. They are very close, and I think Trevor's been extremely helpful for him because you can work mechanics, you can talk a lot of things, but very few people have been in that role, and that pressure of that ninth inning. That's what's so impressive about Jim Henderson. This is not an easy thing to do, to pitch in the ninth inning. It's just a totally different animal. And Axford is in constant communication with him, and as he put it, he usually (has) more communication with him when things are going bad than when things are going good. It's usually initiated by Trevor which is still just a great thing for Trevor to do."
Tom Oates from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel joined Lucas and Lepay on Tuesday.
Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. are probably going to declare for the draft, should Glenn Robinson III?:
“He would probably be a lottery pick. That would be based not on what necessarily he’s done this year, but his athleticism. There’s a lot of futures drafting in the NBA and it’s a weak draft. I know there are people that are going to tell Robinson that he’s a lottery pick, (which) makes it awfully hard sometimes, for some of these guys (to stay in college).”
Is Indiana’s Cody Zeller still a lottery pick?:
“I thought Zeller played pretty well down the stretch. His numbers were a little skewed by how a good of a team he had around him. That was a real talented college team. I think he’s going to go out, again, same reason I talked about Glenn Robinson (III). Could I see another year helping him if he gets stronger and all that? Certainly. I think it helped his brother (Tyler Zeller), the one that played at North Carolina. I think he’d be trading money for basketball experience because he’s going to go sit on somebody’s bench next year if he’s in the NBA, where as if he’s in college, he’ll be playing 30-35 games in packed arenas, against quality competition, and really learning more about how to play the game of basketball.”
Andy Baggot, sports columnist for the Wisconsin State Journal, joined the show Monday in wake of the Brewers’ 1-5 home stand and the NCAA championship.
What is the most pertinent area of concern for the Brewers?
“My concern level is about 2 on a scale of 50. You don’t have your full team there… I know it’s instinct to go ‘Oh my god, look at all the things going wrong.’ To me, let me see them at full strength, and then we can start to assess things. But if you need an answer to the question, it’s just how the starting pitching has not taken the bull by the horns. Aside from Kyle Lohse, it has been a disappointment. You need your starting pitchers to give you a chance, and to this point in time there has been zero chance… But 6 games into the season? Check back on May 1st.”
“I learned more about this team yesterday in that loss that I might’ve learned up to this point, and frankly, I think there’s some grittiness to this team. How many times could you say ‘Oh, they’re done. They’re not coming back from this” and they still keep battling… I just think that in April to get panicky about anything with any baseball team right now is a waste of time.”
On whether Yovani Gallardo has established himself as a true number one pitcher:
“One of my deals with Gallardo, he’s got number one stuff, but he’s never taken that mantle and run with it in my mind… I think before the season is done, somebody’s going to pass Gallardo as the number one guy… I’ve yet to get that feeling ‘here’s an elite, dominating pitcher.’ We’ve seen it, we’ve seen glimpses, but the consistency, no.”
When will somebody else get a chance in place of John Axford?
“I was actually a little surprised to see Roenicke say that Axford still is closer. You’ve got a guy who can fling it in Henderson. He seems to have the physical skills, the velocity, all those types of things, but that role is mental… You’re the last guy. You give something up, people blame you. You have to be a little different upstairs to be able to handle that, and maybe they’re not sure about Henderson in that regard… If Axford continues in that role it’s because there isn’t someone else on that staff that can handle that part of the game.”
Jeff Potrykus from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel joined the show on Tuesday to discuss the NCAA Tournament.
The Badgers are the five seed in the West region and they will play 12th seed Ole Miss this Friday. Potrykus said that Ole Miss could be tough this year. “I think (Ole Miss’s Conference) SEC was down obviously this year. If Marshall Henderson goes off on them like (Stephen) Curry did from Davidson a few years ago, (Henderson) is cable of carrying his team with a huge performance, to an upset.”
Potrykus said that Henderson will shoot the ball no matter what, and if he is hot that day, the Badgers better watch out. Potrykus said that Marshall Henderson could do anything with his flamboyancy. “He is liable to say anything; he is liable to probably run towards the Wisconsin student section if he hits a big shot. He likes to taunt the student section.”
What’s the one concern the Badger fans should have about this team going into the tournament? “Shooting, because we saw what happened against Ohio State, although I doubt that Ole Miss is going to defend like Ohio State. I honestly think if they’re patient with their offense, because they are not going to face a really great defensive team that way, they will be ok.”
How well does Potrykus think the number ones will do in the Big Dance this year? “As wide open and entertaining as this regular season has been, I still think we are going to see a couple of number ones.” Potrykus mentioned Kansas and possibly Louisville. He said, “Indiana can get there as long as the head coach (Tom Crean) will get out of his way and let them play.”
Potrykus said that the Big Ten has a great chance this year to make a good run in the Big Ten Conference, but if it doesn’t happen this year, he said that national writers are going to rip the Big Ten “until there’s no meat left on that bone”.
Badgers Associate Head Coach Greg Gard joined us Friday in lieu of their upcoming Big Ten Tournament game against Michigan.
The Badgers face a tough match up against Michigan and Big Ten Player of the Year Trey Burke, and we asked Gard how he plans to limit Burke in today's game. The biggest thing "is trying to eliminate easy baskets." Gard credits Burke as being very talented in all facets of the game. "You try to bottle him up and make it as difficult as possible, but he's a really, really good player."
At a time in the year when making runs is the key to success, who does Gard believe will provide a spark for the Badgers? "It'll take everybody." He did note two players, Ben Brust and Mike Bruesewitz, that could help energize the team if they are able to knock shots down.
The Badgers face another challenge besides B1G Player of the Year: The United Center, a foreign arena to the team. Gard, however, does not seem worried. He says they will "get out with a tape measurer and tell them it's 10 feet high, 94 feet long, and let's play." For Gard, tournament time is what teams look forward to all year. "It's win or go home so you play with that sense of urgency... I'm ready to go."
Jeff Potrykus of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel joined the show on Thursday to talk about the Big Ten Tournament.
Potrykus said that Traevon Jackson will have the biggest impact in the tournament for the Badgers. “His willingness and ability to make plays late in the game has been very impressive this year. It has been his probably number one asset.”
Mike Bruesewitz is a guy that Potrykus said is “probably due to hit a few perimeter shots.” He also said that if the Badgers can get some other players to hit some perimeter shots, it’s going to take some of the pressure off Ben Brust and Sam Dekker.
Although Bruesewitz has struggled from the three point arc, Potrykus said he has added “defense, rebounding, energy, and toughness.” He cited the fact that Bruesewitz has probably struggled with his shot this year because of the injuries he has had.
What seed will the Badgers receive for the NCAA Tournament? “If they have an early exit it’s going to be a sixth, if they win a game or two it’s going to be a five.”
Potrykus said the Badgers’ run in the NCAA Tournament is dependent upon the matchups they get, and if they can hit shots.