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Badger Bits: Chemistry the key for Wisconsin

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Team chemistry will be huge when the Badgers take on Belmont Thursday.
Team chemistry will be huge when the Badgers take on Belmont Thursday.

There are just a few mere hours until March Madness really tips off with Round 2. Until then, here are some Badger Bits!

Rob Schultz of writes that team chemistry will be crucial for the Badgers to make a deep run in the NCAA tournament. Fortunately for Bo Ryan and his team, strength coach Scott Hettenbach lit a fire under the players after their 36-33 loss to Penn State in the Big Ten Tournament:

"He said, ‘If you're not setting your standards high, what are you doing? In a program like this, we believe it's time to show something in March,' " sophomore forward Jared Berggren said. "We got fired up. We believe in ourselves, we got our confidence back and we're ready to play the way we can," Berggren said.

The Badgers received their first commitment for the 2012 football season, and it's a major one according to Tom Mulhern. Dan Voltz is a junior from Barrington, Ill., and a four-star offensive lineman according to Voltz is on ESPN's Top 150 watch list, and turned down scholarship offers from (among others) Alabama, Auburn, and Notre Dame.

More Badger Bits after the jump!

The off-season has officially started for the Badger men's hockey team, as junior defenseman Jake Gardiner decided to forgo his final season of eligibility and join the NHL. Gardiner signed a contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs, according to Chuck Schwartz. Luckily for the Badgers, unlike last year Gardiner is the only player expected to leave the team.

You know that whole NFL labor snafu? Well, the NFL Players Association is recommending that incoming rookies (like former Wisconsin players J.J. Watt, Gabe Carimi, and John Clay) skip the draft in a kind of boycott. Tom Mulhern of has a piece about how the boycott may steal Watt's moment in the spotlight.

Jeff Potrykus of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel writes that Thursday's game with Belmont is not going to be a cakewalk for the Badgers.

Finally our friends over at Blogger So Dear, SB Nation's resident Wake Forest site, have written a great piece about Thursday's Belmont v. Wisconsin game. They take a look at both team's strengths and weaknesses, and list a few predictions.

Tomorrow's the day! If you haven't already, join B5Q's ESPN bracket challenge group! Who wouldn't want bragging rights for a full year?