While the UW men’s basketball season may still be nearly two months away from its regular season opener at the Kohl Center Nov. 11, it’s already that time of year again for UW students to reserve their spots in the Grateful Red student section for the 2012-2013 season.Since its first season in 1998, the Kohl Center has had the pleasure to boast a 2,100-seat student section extending from the floor to the nosebleeds on the south end of the court as part of a stadium seating capacity of over 17,000. That makes the Kohl Center one of the bigger college basketball venues in the country. And since the Grateful Red’s inaugural season in 2002 – when the student section was renamed after previously being called “Mr. Bennett’s Neighborhood” before former head coach Dick Bennett’s resignation during the 2000-2001 season – it has been just that: a hostile environment for any team brave enough to play there.To illustrate how overwhelming a place like the Kohl Center can be: Since Bo Ryan’s first game coaching the Badgers in 2001, the team has gone an unbelievable 166-15 (yes, you read that right) at home, giving the Badgers at the Kohl Center the fourth-best winning percentage in all of NCAA Division I basketball as of 2011.Unfortunately, the intimidating presence of the Grateful Red may not be quite so intimidating in future seasons.Division I college basketball attendance at home games has been in a slow decline across the country since the 2008 season, and while UW men’s basketball tickets have still managed to sell out regularly during that span, many team’s tickets – especially student tickets – increasingly go unused each year.In response to the disturbing trend, the UW Athletic Department has tried multiple strategies to once again fill the student section to the rafters over the last few years – including a shift to half-season ticket packages, the creation of a winter break package and many free giveaways, like free shirts, throughout the season – with varying degrees of success.This year, though, when tickets went on sale to students early this morning at 7:30, they came with one major change from last year’s ticket plan: a return to one massive ticket package, containing a whopping 15 home games throughout the season, priced at $150.From a ticket-selling standpoint, the return to one package initially might seem like a smart move by the UW Athletic Department. The die-hard fans who were awake early this morning to get the limited tickets – the new plan creates half as many season tickets as in past years – are more likely to consistently go to games, but it also leaves questions for the future of the Grateful Red this season and beyond.By returning to the old format of just one package, with the ability to add on a four-game winter break package for $40 more, the athletic department magnified the pressure on the students to make sure the Grateful Red is filled during each game this season.While before it was fairly easy to attend seven to nine games a season by purchasing one of the two season ticket packages, now any student who buys tickets this year will be faced with attending every one of the 15 home games. This becomes a daunting task when many of the games fall on weeknights and coincide with midterms and finals.As a result, many tickets will likely go unused if students choose not to use, or can’t manage to sell, their unwanted tickets. It’s a phenomenon that could leave sections 114 through 117 emptier than usual this winter.Still, while this most certainly doesn’t mean Wisconsin will host talented teams like Michigan Feb. 9 or Ohio State Feb. 17 in front of an empty student section, many of the non-marquee games may experience a dip in student attendance simply because UW students don’t have time to go to so many games in a single season.The continuation of the winter break ticket package again this year has the potential to be an even more damaging effect that this ticket plan could have on student attendance and the team’s performance. The winter break package, which gives students the option to avoid having to try to sell games during the month-long winter break, can be particularly useful for students who return home or are out of town during break, but it also discourages students from going to those games altogether if they don’t already have the money invested in tickets to winter break games.If last year’s winter break package experiment was any indication, the Badgers could be in for rough winter break again this season if the student section continues to have low winter break attendance.Out of five home games included in the winter break package last year, the Badgers lost two – including an unexpected loss to an Iowa Hawkeyes team that finished with a measly 3-9 record away from home in 2011-2012 – on their way to four total home losses for the season.So, despite the almost unreal success the Badgers have had at home over the last decade, if Bo’s most dependable sixth man, the Grateful Red, can no longer provide the intimidating environment fans have become accustomed to at the Kohl Center, that impressive record may be put to the test more frequently in the coming season and beyond.Nick is a junior majoring in journalism. Do you agree or disagree with the UW Athletic Department consolidating the ticket packages? Let him know at email@example.com.
The roster looks dramatically different from last year’s after securing the No. 7 recruiting class in the nation, highlighted by five-star freshman forwards Isaiah Mobley and Onyeka Okongwu. Mobley was named to the watch list for the Malone Award, given to the top power forward in the nation. Those two are the fifth- and seventh-highest rated recruits, respectively, in USC’s history (not including 2020 center Evan Mobley, who is ranked No. 1 in his class). The Pac-12 preseason media poll had the Trojans finishing fifth in the conference behind Oregon, Colorado, Washington and Arizona. Washington brought in two stud freshmen forwards in the front court — Jaden McDaniels, who has drawn comparisons to a young Kevin Durant, and Isaiah Stewart. Sophomore transfer forward and former Trojan J’Raan Brooks will sit this season due to NCAA eligibility rules, but sophomore transfer guard Quade Green was ruled eligible over the weekend. The Huskies lost their top player from last year, Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year Matisse Thybulle, to the first round of the NBA Draft. The Trojans will take on Florida A&M Tuesday at 8 p.m. to begin the regular season. Editor’s note: A previous version of this article included inaccurate statistics from USC’s preseason game against Santa Clara. The article has been updated online with the correct information. Rakocevic was second in last year’s team in scoring with 14.7 points per game to go along with 9.3 rebounds. He is the sixth-leading returning scorer and second-leading rebounder in the Pac-12, and was named to the watch list for the Abdul-Jabbar award, given to the nation’s top centers. The Buffaloes return their two top players in juniors guard McKinley Wright IV and guard/forward Tyler Bey, who was the winner of the Pac-12’s Most Improved Player of the Year Award and named All-Pac-12 Conference First Team last season. Although this year’s recruiting class ranked last in the Pac-12, the Buffaloes have plenty of experience and depth, and the team’s core is entering its third season together. Returning for this season are seniors guard Jonah Mathews and forward Nick Rakocevic, redshirt sophomore guard Charles O’Bannon Jr. and sophomore guard Elijah Weaver. Head coach Andy Enfield added graduate transfer guard Daniel Utomi and redshirt senior guard Quinton Adlesh. Both will bring veteran leadership, physicality and shooting to the Trojans. Adding physicality, athleticism, versatile defenders and even more shooting is a great start, and if the team can gel and play unselfish basketball in order to reach its potential, the Trojans will have a chance in a crowded Pac-12. O’Bannon is ready to make an impact after a broken left pinky finger limited him to just one game last season. Weaver, who started five games as a freshman and averaged 5.1 points per game, will provide shooting and ball handling. He scored 11 points in the exhibition against Villanova. “The two of them are really fun to watch,” Enfield said of Utomi and Adlesh in an interview with the Orange County Register. “We hope that they can grow quickly because we need both of them to contribute.” Despite having two players last season now in the NBA — first-round pick guard Kevin Porter Jr. and undrafted free agent forward Bennie Boatwright — the squad could only muster a disappointing 16-17 record overall and 8-10 in conference, leading to an eventual Pac-12 quarterfinal defeat at the hands of regular season champion Washington. This lack of translation from talent to on-court success has been a recent trend. Last season, the Trojans had the Pac-12’s highest team three-point percentage, the most assists per game and scored the third-most points per game. However, between a 2-8 record on the road and allowing the seventh-most points per game in the Pac-12, it will take much more consistency to contend this year. The Trojans have six freshmen that should make an impact from the get-go, including four-star small forward Max Agbonkpolo, three-star guards Kyle Sturdivant and Ethan Anderson and three star shooting guard and two-sport athlete Drake London once he finishes the football season. The freshmen scored 56 points in USC’s 72-68 preseason victory over Santa Clara, led by Okongwu’s 17. Mathews, who was one of two players to start every game for the Trojans last season, was third in the team in scoring, putting up 12.6 points per game. The success of this year’s squad will likely be predicated on the performance of its freshman. Amid FBI investigations and allegations against head coach Sean Miller, the Arizona Wildcats were able to bring in yet another uber-talented class, with two of ESPN’s top 10 players in the country in freshmen guards Nico Mannion and Josh Green. After a couple of inconsistent and underwhelming seasons, the Wildcats need to get back on track or else more people will call for Miller’s firing. The Trojans are coming off their winningest four-year span in program history with 87 total victories. That said, a loss in the Round of 32 like 2017 isn’t exactly the golden standard for a team that has consistently been in the top 35 in recruiting — and has improved its incoming classes every year. Freshman forward Isaiah Mobley and the young Trojan team are looking to compete for a conference championship this season. (Sarah Ko | Daily Trojan) Oregon will be led by last year’s conference tournament MVP, senior guard Payton Pritchard, who has hit countless clutch shots over conference opponents throughout his career. He’ll be aided by the Ducks’ No. 4-ranked recruiting class. The USC men’s basketball team opens its regular season Tuesday night as it begins the hunt for its first March Madness appearance since 2017. Although they’ll be without their top recruit, freshman center N’Faly Dante, for the first nine games of the season due to the NCAA missing his clearance date, five-star forward CJ Walker and four-star point guard Addison Patterson and forward Chandler Lawson will contribute early for the Ducks. “Gritty and tough, that’s what we want to be labeled as. A team you don’t want to play against,” Mathews said in an interview with the Orange County Register. “There’s some teams that you don’t want to meet up with in the tournament or whatever, and we want that to be us.”
“We’ve had a little bit of success against him,” Roberts said. “Today, he still pitched pretty well. But I was impressed with the at-bats we put on him. I thought we grinded more today, the way we’re capable of doing. So to be able to get him at 100 pitches through six and get to the ‘pen, I thought our guys did a really good job and (were) really only one hit away from getting him out earlier.”Chase Utley lashed Greinke’s first pitch into right field for a double, then scored two batters later when Justin Turner hit a triple. Turner scored when Diamondbacks catcher Welington Castillo let a pitch from Greinke go between his legs.The Dodgers put together another run-scoring rally in the fourth inning using one hit, a walk and an errant double-play turn by Jean Segura. Adrian Gonzalez had led off the inning with a single and trotted home on Segura’s wild throw.“They’re a tough team to pitch to because they don’t have a lot of holes,” Greinke said of his former mates.Asked about a pause he seems to have added to his delivery, Greinke flashed classic form.“That’s a really long answer and I don’t want to spend five minutes talking about it,” he said, ending the interview with that.Only one of the three runs off Greinke was earned, but the Dodgers needed all of it.Maeda allowed just one run in each of his two head-to-head matchups with Greinke, but Maeda was not at his best in this one. He needed 94 pitches just to get through five innings. But he allowed just that one run on three hits and three walks while striking out six and continuing to look like a bargain even as his cost rises.“It just seemed he was on the edges a little bit too much and I think missing with his fastball,” Roberts said. “With Kenta you can tell. When there’s a rhythm, he’s getting ahead of guys with his fastball, throwing the slider. But he’s around the zone, getting ahead, in a good rhythm. He didn’t really have it until the fourth inning.“It was a grind for him tonight. But he still found a way, like he seemingly always does, to give us a chance to win a baseball game. That’s a sign of a great competitor, which Kenta is, and a winner.”Maeda’s contract calls for a base salary of just $3 million this season but includes a series of performance-based incentives. The irregular nature of the contract was prompted by “irregularities” in Maeda’s physical, none of which have been evident in his performance.By reaching 160 innings for the season Friday, Maeda (15-9) collected another bonus, pushing his total earnings this year to $9.65 million. Another $1.5 million awaits when he makes his 30th start of the season Wednesday against the San Francisco Giants.Greinke (12-7) will make $34 million in the first year of his six-year, $206.5 million deal with the last-place Diamondbacks. PHOENIX >> It was not an “either-or” proposition. The Dodgers could very well have signed Kenta Maeda even if they had re-signed Zack Greinke last winter.But that hasn’t stopped Greinke’s two starts against the Dodgers (and, coincidentally Maeda) over the past two weeks from having the feel of two people formerly in a relationship awkwardly running into each other.The Dodgers have certainly moved on, heading toward a fourth consecutive NL West division title. They absorbed seven walks by Maeda and six relievers who stranded 11 runners on base to beat Greinke again Friday night in a 3-2 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks.“Wasn’t great. It was alright,” Greinke said after the game, sticking to his usual low word count. Greinke’s mood in a well-paid but certainly unsatisfying first season in Diamondbacks … grey? silver? pewter? … might be peaking out in his choice of walk-up music. Commentary on the Diamondbacks’ mislaid plans for contention, just a song or a cry for help, he has started using “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” by Green Day.Greinke has walked a lonely road with the Diamondbacks, posting his highest ERA and WHIP since establishing himself with the Kansas City Royals.Two starts ago, he gave up a career-high five home runs in his first start at Dodger Stadium since leaving for the big bucks and sunsets of Arizona. Since returning from a six-week stay on the DL with an oblique injury, he is 2-4 with a 6.44 ERA for a team playing out the string with dark clouds hanging over its future.“I know there’s a big difference in the home and road splits. This is a tough place to pitch. But on the road he’s still the Zack Greinke we’ve all known he is,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said generously. Greinke’s ERA is a run lower on the road — but it is still over 4.00. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error