Billy Bertha, coupled with Marek Michalicka, have only dropped five doubles matches this season and hold a 6-3 conference record.[/media-credit]Ten teams and four days of some of the best tennis in the country are coming to Madison starting today.The University of Wisconsin men’s tennis team will play host to this year’s Big Ten Men’s Tennis Tournament held at Nielsen Tennis Stadium. The tournament begins with three matches on Thursday, four quarterfinal matches on Friday, two semifinal matches on Saturday and will finish with the title match on Sunday at noon.To start the tournament, No. 6 Wisconsin will play No. 11 Penn State Thursday at 11:30 a.m, and the winner will face Minnesota Friday at 2:00 p.m.The youthful Badgers enter the tournament after a bittersweet weekend on the road. Wisconsin split the weekend with a 5-2 win against Iowa and a 7-0 loss to Illinois.Besides the one doubles win by Billy Bertha and Marek Michalicka, the closest the Badgers came to a point in Sunday’s match was due to freshman Petr Satral. Illinois’ Johnny Hamui and Satral went into a third set tiebreak, but unfortunately Satral fell short.“It was a tough match,” Satral said. “The guy was ranked and I think I was playing a good match, but unfortunately I lost. It was more important that we lost in general, 7-0.”Now, Iowa and Illinois are a thing of the past and all that is left to do is look toward Penn State.“We had a great win against Iowa, it was a tough team on the road, but Illinois just played a little bit better than us,” UW head coach Greg Van Emburgh said. “We just have to regroup, learn something from the loss, move forward and get ready for tomorrow’s match.”It hasn’t been that long since Wisconsin last faced Penn State. Nearly two weeks ago the Badgers beat the Nittany Lions 6-1 to honor lone senior Marek Michalicka on Senior Day.The last time Penn State faced Wisconsin, Van Emburgh made several changes to the lineup, and this week it looks like there may be a couple more adjustments as well.No matter what kind of changes come, freshman Alexander Teppert, who has been playing a couple matches in the No. 3 doubles spot with Ricardo Martin, is just looking forward to getting some Big Ten experience after redshirting his first season.“It would be nice playing singles. I just want a match and Big Ten experience,” Teppert said. “The only singles matches I’ve played are against lower level teams, it’ll be good to get some experience in general with these guys.”Van Emburgh says the criteria for who plays where is pretty simple.“We’re just looking for teams that are playing their best. Fred and Rod have been playing some good tennis. Alex and Petr and Ricardo have also been playing good tennis, we’ll see how they are,” Van Emburgh said. “We just go by each match, whoever’s ready to play, whoever’s playing the best and go in order to that.”But the tournament is much more than just one match. Seven of the 10 Badgers are unfamiliar to the Big Ten tournament and look forward to gaining experience.As such, the main goal for this weekend is pretty simple for freshman Rodney Carey.“Just get a lot of experience and be able to manage my game on the court and handle the pressure,” he said. “It’s special to have a home court advantage with all the fans, I heard it’s pretty good so it’ll be exciting.”For a freshman, the pressure of hosting their first Big Ten tournament is immense, but it’s also a privilege. One very familiar to such a feeling is Michalicka.“I’m just feeling a little bit sad that almost three and a half years are coming to an end. I’ve had a great time at UW so it’s nice to look back,” Michalicka said.Whether it’s a freshman looking for experience or a senior playing what could be his last match, this weekend proves to be an exciting event for all.“It’s great to be able to showcase your venue and your school and the University of Wisconsin, so as coaches we’re really excited about it,” Van Emburgh said. “We’re glad we’re able to host it. I know the players are excited to play on their home courts and showcase their university.”
It was early in the second half, and USC was ahead by double-digits when the chants started at the Galen Center.“Overrated,” they bellowed, softly at first but soon turning into a stadium-wide jeer aimed at No. 8 UCLA, which USC took down on Wednesday in front of a sold-out, raucous crowd of 10,258 people.But the crowd wasn’t done having fun. They chanted, “Thank you, Lonzo” when Bruins freshman phenom Lonzo Ball missed a pair of free throws that gave all fans free Chick-Fil-A. Then, with five minutes to play, the “overrated” chants started again, sandwiched in between a high-flying putback jam by junior guard Elijah Stewart and an and-one dunk by sophomore forward Chimezie Metu.And, for good measure, with the game out of reach in the final minutes, “Just like football” rained down, a gleeful reference to the 36-14 beatdown that USC’s football team put on UCLA in Pasadena last November.Take a moment to appreciate what happened on Wednesday night at the Galen Center. There it was, a crowd actually getting into a non-football USC sport, the most excited a basketball home crowd has been in some time.While it’s unlikely that the energy for future games will eclipse that of a matchup against a crosstown rival, USC has to hope that what occurred both on the court and in the stands against UCLA serves as a blueprint for the remainder of the season.“It was great,” Metu said about the sellout crowd. “I just wish it was like that every game.”“That,” as in the line for students to enter the arena wrapping around the stadium, the usually half-empty section of the stadium filling up an hour before tip-off, tickets for the game selling out a month beforehand, the parking lots around Galen Center displaying “FULL” signs and traffic on the nearby surface streets slowing to an absolute crawl.Inside, it was just as spectacular. USC beat UCLA for the sixth straight time in men’s basketball or football — four in a row men’s hoops — and the Trojan faithful rubbed it in as much as they could. The capacity crowd cheered and chanted without being prompted by DJ Mal-ski, who typically has to encourage fans to make noise.“This was as good an atmosphere as I’ve seen,” head coach Andy Enfield said. “It was just a great college basketball environment … This atmosphere was just sensational.”On the court, it was like the teams switched jerseys. The Bruins and their high-powered offense — that ranks third in the NCAA in scoring at 92.2 points per game — were held to just 76. The Trojans, who have struggled shooting the ball early in conference play, drilled nine 3-pointers in the first half alone en route to dropping 50 on the Bruins at halftime.It didn’t start out that well. USC trailed 8-0 right off the bat, looking jumpy and over-amped, while an emphatic follow jam by Ball had the crowd oohing and aahing. But after going down 20-10, it was like a light switch went off for the Trojans. There were steals and dunks, alley-oops and hustle plays and a whole lot of the net swishing from long distance.Like that, the game was tied, and then USC went ahead. Before you knew it, Stewart drilled a deep 3-pointer at the first half buzzer to put the Trojans up by double-digits, sending a dejected Bruins team to the locker room.By the end of the game, USC had sent UCLA into low-key panic mode. According to the Los Angeles Times, the Bruins stayed in the locker room for nearly half an hour after the game, holding a lengthy team meeting.Maybe this UCLA team isn’t as good as everyone thought it would be (the Bruins also lost to Arizona last Saturday) when it was hyped as a national championship contender, and Ball — who scored 15 points but committed a whopping seven turnovers — still needs time to develop after being heralded as the next big thing. Perhaps he still is. And perhaps the Bruins simply had an off night.The Trojans can’t think about that, though. They have to take the momentum off this win against a top-10 opponent and hope that it translates to another win in Washington next week. Given their inconsistent conference play following a 13-0 start, this could potentially be a season-defining win that sparks a late-season push for a better Pac-12 and NCAA tournament seeding.And hopefully, went they return home on Feb. 9 to play Oregon State, the Galen Center will be just as energized as it was against UCLA. Both the team and the crowd — as the kids say — were absolutely “lit” on Wednesday. Now, it’s all about keeping the fuse burning.Eric He is a sophomore studying print and digital journalism. He is also the associate managing editor of the Daily Trojan. His column, Grinding Gears, runs on Fridays.
MIAMI – From Aruba to Jamaica and The Bahamas to Bermuda, hotels and resorts have joined with the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) to launch an online auction to help support the long-term recovery of the northwestern islands of the Bahamas.Lovers of the Caribbean, as well as those who are looking to fall in love with the Caribbean for the first time, will have many destinations and hotels to choose from as they shop and bid on vacation options, while helping those in need, according to CHTA’s President, Barbados-based hotelier Patricia Affonso-Dass.She thanked hotels and resorts throughout the Caribbean basin, and a resort as far afield as Austria for donating room stays which the travelling public can bid on through the Charitybuzz online fundraising portal.The public is urged to shop, bid and show their support by visiting Charity Buzz -Caribbean Hotels for Bahamas.“We are thankful for the contributions of our hotel and resort partners to assist the people of The Bahamas during this very difficult period,” said Affonso-Dass, who also invited the public to support the cause and enjoy the opportunity to travel to the Caribbean, including parts of The Bahamas which were unaffected by Dorian.Hurricane Dorian unleashed unimaginable destruction to The Abacos and Grand Bahama, destroying critical infrastructure, thousands of homes and businesses, and uprooting the lives of tens of thousands of residents, who are now homeless.“The recovery will be long and painful,” said Frank Comito, CHTA’s Director General and CEO, who noted that many hoteliers have come together to offer an array of accommodation options to one of the world’s most desirable travel destinations. “Whether you are shopping for a romantic escape, a family gathering, a business retreat, a personal getaway or a holiday gift, there’s much to choose from – all while helping to support people in need,” he said.“Caribbean Hotels Unite for The Bahamas” is a joint fundraising initiative between CHTA and the Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) to bring relief to the people of The Abacos and Grand Bahama, who have been seriously impacted by Hurricane Dorian. The funds raised will be made available to meet the most urgent needs identified by CHTA and BHTA.A former Bahamian resident, Comito, who was Executive Vice President for BHTA for over 10 years and served in a similar capacity before that with the Nassau Tourism Development Board, reminded the traveling public that most of The Bahamas escaped serious damage from the hurricane.“Nassau, Paradise Island, The Exumas, Eleuthera, Andros, Cat Island, Bimini, San Salvador, Rum Cay, Long Island, Acklins/Crooked Island, Ragged Island, Mayaguana and Inagua each present great travel options for the public as do more than 30 other destinations throughout the Caribbean,” added Comito.“The best way to help The Bahamas is to travel to The Bahamas,” he said.Bidding on hotel stays is open to the public at: Charity Buzz -Caribbean Hotels for Bahamas.CHTA is still accepting donated room stays. Hotels interested in pledging a 3- to 7-night vacation package to be auctioned through Charitybuzz, can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call +1 305 443-3040.