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Bo knows basketball

Having played for Bo Ryan during his tenure at UW-Platteville, I knew the man could coach. Over his final 12 seasons at Platteville, he compiled a 314-37 (.895) record, averaging 26.2 wins a season. He led the Pioneers to four national championships, including the 1995 team that I started for. We went 31-0 and beat an undefeated Steve Alford-led Manchester team for the title.

Ryan recruited me just after winning his first title (1991) and he was always mentioned when Division I jobs opened up in the area. When I asked him whether or not he was going to leave while I was there, he said, “John, the only job I want other than this one is the University of Wisconsin job.” That job opened up a couple times over the next several years and Ryan was passed over both times. Despite all the success at the D3 level, he realized he needed to get some D1 experience before he’d get a chance with the Badgers, so he took the head position with UW-Milwaukee. After turning that program around in two seasons, he finally got his chance to lead the Badgers.

Like I said, I knew he could coach, but his performance over the last four years leading Wisconsin proved that he could coach. I wasn’t sure how Ryan’s disciplined nature was going to go over with the thinner-skinned D1 scholarship players, but from what I’ve heard, he’s adjusted his coaching style a bit and has led the Badgers to an average of 23.3 wins in his first four seasons. During that span, Wisconsin has won two Big Ten championships, and Ryan has won two Big Ten Coach of the Year awards in the process. Wisconsin has earned four straight NCAA tournament births, and last year they advanced to the Elite Eight after two straight Sweet Sixteen appearances.

His talents were on display again tonight as the Badgers visited the Wake Forest Demon Deacons in the ACC / Big Ten Challenge – the Deacons prevailed, 91-88. The Badgers weren’t themselves defensively, allowing Eric Williams to dominate inside and Justin Gray to score a career high 37 points. Somehow Wisconsin stayed in the game, riding Alando Tucker’s 23 second half points. Tucker is Wisconsin’s best player, with Brian Butch and Kammron Taylor chipping in – it will be interesting to see how this relatively young team progresses as the year goes on.

One thing’s for sure: Bo will “coach ‘em up.”

To understand Ryan’s philosophy, check out the great article he wrote for collegeinsider.com.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @TheScoresReport. You can also follow TSR editor Gerardo Orlando @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom, and you can follow TSR editor Anthony Stalter @AnthonyStalter.

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Fantasy Football Q&A: Week 13

We’re in the middle of the stretch run – for a lot of fantasy owners, it’s do or die time. Post all of your roster questions here.

Waiver Wire Watch: Week 13

QUARTERBACKS

David Garrard, JAX – Byron Leftwich is out for a while and Garrard will start in his place. He was pretty good against Arizona, throwing for 115 yards while rushing for 61 yards and a score.

Ryan Fitzpatrick, STL – Backup QB Jamie Martin left the game with a concussion and if he can’t go next week, Fitzpatrick would get the start. He finished the game strong against a questionable Texans defense throwing for 310 yards and three scores, including a TD pass to Kevin Curtis for the win in overtime.

RUNNING BACKS

Samkon Gado, GB – The way that the Packers didn’t use Gado in the second half of the Monday night game against the Vikings led many (including myself) to believe that he was out of the mix at RB. But Sunday he ran for 111 yards and a score, so he is very much in the mix.

I wish I was a Colts fan

Or is it, I wish I were a Colts fan?

Anyway, if loyalty to a hometown team weren’t the overriding factor, Peyton Manning would be the favorite player of more fans than just about anyone else in the league. (Others in contention: Tom Brady, LaDainian Tomlinson and Chad Johnson. Yes, Chad Johnson.)

Manning knows what he’s doing out there. He’s THE guy. Reading defenses, calling his own plays at the line, getting in his O-linemen’s faces when they screw up because he just wants to win the f’ing game. That’s it.

A quick look at the progression of his numbers this season proves just how much this guy wants to win. Early in the season, he wasn’t delivering the 300-yard, 4-TD performances as regularly as he did last year. Manning even went two-straight games — against Jacksonville week two and Cleveland week three — without recording a single touchdown throw.

But the Colts won.

And now, heading into tonight’s match-up with Pittsburgh, Manning had tossed three TDs in each of his last three games, 18 in his last seven.

And the Colts keep winning.

Screw the stats. Manning doesn’t care if he’s handing the ball off to Edgerrin James 30 times a game or chucking it 40; just put more points on the board than the guys on the other side of the field. That’s all that matters.

Remember when Shaun Alexander, one yard shy of his first league rushing title, threw a tantrum last year because Mike Holmgren chose to throw at the goaline late in the game? If Manning sat one TD away from Marino last year on the final play of the regular season, Colts on the goaline needing to score to win, he’d call Edge’s number without hesitation if the defense gave him the run.

He knows he can throw 50 touchdowns every year if he wanted to, but he also knows he wouldn’t win as many games doing it. That’s gotta be the kind of guy you root for.

Whether you’re a Colts fan or, as in my unfortunate case, a Browns fan.

Cities in dust

If I were a fan of the Houston Texans, I would have burned their stadium to the ground yesterday, after they snatched defeat from the jaws of victory against the inept St. Louis Rams. They were up, what, 24-3? I understand the idea behind playing not to lose, as opposed to playing to win. But for the Texans to give up a lead like that, they must have been executing the ultimate prevent defense, one that prevents their opponents from punting. How embarrassing. Season ticket holders, revolt.

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