The University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team returned to Madison after an overtime thriller Saturday at Madison Square Garden in New York, where the Badgers overcame improbable Rutgers University in a defensive showdown.Head coach Greg Gard acknowledged the offensive woes, but was also proud of the way his team kept playing loose and confident throughout the entire game.Wisconsin scored fewer points than minutes expired through the first 36 minutes of play, and with 3:22 on the clock the Badgers faced a seemingly insurmountable nine-point deficit (41-32).Women’s hockey: Badgers set NCAA attendance record at Kohl Center amid three-game homesteadWisconsin routed Minnesota State University, Mankato to cap off a three-week homestead that featured an NCAA record-setting attendance for a women’s Read…The Badgers trailed for most of the second half until a bucket by sophomore forward Ethan Happ tied the game 45-45 with less than three seconds on the clock to force overtime.“We struggled to score and put the ball in the basket,” Gard said. “[The players] did a good job of staying loose.”The Badgers had one of their worst three-point shooting games of the season against the Scarlet Knights, but Gard offered up some of his best jokes as evidence of how he kept the players loose and upbeat during the rough offensive performance.“Why did the cookie go to the hospital?” Gard joked. “He was feeling crummy.”Jokes like this one and relentless effort from senior leader Zak Showalter helped the Badgers stay and do just enough to force an overtime period. Gard complimented Zak Showalter for his efforts throughout the game.“It was the energy and toughness plays,” Gard said. “[Showalter] contributes in a lot of ways.”With the rebound momentum from Saturday’s win at Madison Square Garden, the Badgers travel to Champaign to take on the University of Illinois. The Fighting Illini have proven to be much better at home than away this year, presenting a tough challenge for a Badger team trying to stay tied atop the Big Ten standings.“They are a much more potent team, for whatever reason, at home,” Gard said.Hayes: Biegel, Clement could use 2017 Reese’s Senior Bowl to climb NFL draft boardsWhile their careers on the field for Wisconsin may be over, Badger seniors Corey Clement and Vince Biegel have one Read…Gard was also asked about the release of the first four seeds from every region on Feb. 11 and seemed to reflect the attitude many have had since the early projections were announced.“We play two to three times a week, it could change tomorrow,” Gard said. “In terms of our approach, it does not change.”The newly crowned No. 10 Badgers will attempt to continue their ascent up the polls Tuesday night with an 8 p.m. tip at Illinois.
Yet despite a short close-season break, he has been given the captaincy by Mourinho and performed impressively.The issue of post-World Cup fatigue has been debated extensively be club managers, with Tottenham striker Harry Kane the most high-profile example of those sturggling to replicate their best form.Mourinho, though, thinks that Pogba’s success with France has given the midfielder an extra surge of energy.“I think good results, and good performances, they make miracles,” said Mourinho at his press conference on Friday.“And bad results and bad performances, they make you look more tired, more upset, more ugly, more everything.”Mourinho’s remarks are likely to be welcomed by Pogba especially as the Portuguese had reportedly angered the 25-year-old last month when he implied Pogba played much better for France at the World Cup than he did for United last season as he was not surrounded by his entourage.“Paul came back from the World Cup, and he was the last one to come because he played the final,” said Mourinho.“But I think the happiness, the confidence, the self-esteem was what pushed him to play in our first match against Leicester almost without training and he played a very good match.“It’s more about the moment and the momentum is very important — in both the positive and negative way.”– ‘Difficult season’ –Mourinho has indicated Pogba’s compatriot Anthony Martial, despite scoring against Young Boys in the Champions League this week, will drop to the bench against Wolves in the Premier League on Saturday to make way for Alexis Sanchez, who was an unused substitute on Wednesday.Asked why he was dropping him to bring back the Chilean, the United manager replied Martial had played the whole game and Sanchez not taken part at all.Mourinho’s side go into the weekend six points behind leaders Chelsea, having lost two of their opening five matches, at Brighton and at home to Tottenham.However, with his side having won their past three matches in all competitions, Mourinho believes his team are showing they are better than they were last season, when they finished runners-up to Manchester City in the Premier League.“I am optimistic, but it will be a difficult season, yes,” he said.“I don’t change that because we won two matches in the Premier League.“You see the level of the teams — you see Liverpool’s squad, Manchester City’s squad, Chelsea’s squad, Tottenham’s squad, and Arsenal are improving.“I am not saying we are going to have more points than last season because last season we collected a very acceptable level of points. But I think we are going to be a better team.”0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000World Cup has given Paul Pogba a boost – Mourinho © AFP / Alain GROSCLAUDEManchester, United Kingdom, Sep 22 – Paul Pogba’s fine form for Manchester United this season is evidence that post-World Cup hangovers are as much mental as physical, according to the club’s manager Jose Mourinho.Pogba played a crucial role in France’s path to being crowned world champions — scoring a sublime goal in the final against Croatia — in Russia in July.