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Badger Bits: Stone named Big Ten Coach of Year

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Not too far removed from much criticism and talk of losing her job, UW women's basketball head coach Lisa Stone was voted Big Ten Coach of the Year by her peers, the conference announced Monday.

Wisconsin was picked to finish 10th in the Big Ten this season, but ended up finishing in a tie for third with Iowa. Because the Hawkeyes won both meetings with the Badgers this season, UW will be the No. 4 seed in this weekend's Big Ten Tournament and will play No. 5 Purdue in Friday's quarterfinals.

This is the first time since 2001 that Wisconsin will have a first-round bye in the Big Ten Tournament. Purdue has played in the championship game in each of the last four seasons.

Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder was named Coach of the Year by the media.

Meanwhile, two Wisconsin players received all-conference honors. Junior guard Alyssa Karel was named to the All- Big Ten second-team by both the media and coaches, while senior guard Rae Lin D'Alie was named to the third team by the media and honorable mention by the coaches.

The UW men's basketball team moved back into the Top 15 Monday. Wisconsin is ranked No 15 in the AP Poll and No. 17 in the coaches' poll. Syracuse is the new No. 1 team in both polls after all of the top three teams suffered losses last week.

Ohio State is now No. 6 in the AP Poll and No. 7 in the coaches' poll, while Purdue is No. 6 in the coaches' poll and No. 7 in the AP poll.

Michigan State checks in at No. 11 in the AP Poll and No. 12 in the coaches' poll.

Set your DVRs. As part of their Big Ten's Greatest Games series, the Big Ten Network will air the 2003 matchup between Wisconsin and Illinois at the Kohl Center. You know the story. Big Ten title on the line... tie game... Devin Harris at the free throw line with under a second left... he misses the first...  Well, you better watch!

I've heard a lot of comparisons between Austin, Texas and Madison, Wis. over the years and while I've never been to Austin, I've always said that if it really is the same city as Madison, then it has to be a better college town because of the weather. Well, apparently Brian Butch agrees.

Butch, who has been tearing up the NBA D-League this winter averaging 17 points and 10 rebounds a game for the Bakersfield Jam, has been blogging for the Big Ten Network and today he wrote:

If nobody has been to Austin, it really is like Madison except with warmer weather. It hurts to give 6th street the nod over State street, but I think I'm going to do just that.

Butch was recently named the MVP in the D-League's All Star game and in his last three games he has scored 30, 24 and 28 points, respectively. Of course, there doesn't seem to be much defense played in the D-League. Last night Bakersfield lost to Rio Grande Valley 146-135.

The UW men's hockey team moved into sole possession of second place in the WCHA by sweeping Michigan Tech this past weekend, but Denver clinched the MacNaughton Cup Saturday when they beat Minnesota State-Mankato.

That means only seeding in the WCHA playoffs will be on the line when the Badgers head to Minnesota next weekend for their final regular season series.