Wisconsin (11-16, 4-10 Big Ten) will host Purdue (23-4, 12-2 Big Ten) on Thursday night in Madison. The game will begin after a ceremony to retire Badger legend Frank Kaminsky’s No. 44, just the second jersey alongside Ab Nicholas’ No. 8 to be retired in the Kohl Center.Purdue will pose a strong challenge for the Badgers, who have dropped six of their past seven contests. A major weakness for Wisconsin of late has been their perimeter defense, something the Badgers struggled mightily with during their last contest versus Michigan, which does not bode well for them considering the Boilermakers strength in outside shooting.In the two teams’ last match up in West Lafayette, Wisconsin allowed Purdue to shoot 64 percent from the field on just 22 shots. The Boilermakers have five players with over three 3-pointers per game with each of them shooting at least 40 percent from beyond the arc.Men’s Basketball: Badgers leave weekend with mixed results, comeback falls short against MichiganThe University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team (11-16, 4-10 Big Ten) broke a five-game losing streak Thursday, beating Illinois (12-14, Read…Carsen Edwards and Vince Edwards, no relation, are the team’s two most prolific shooters. They are averaging 16.9 and 15.1 points on 40 percent and 41 percent 3-point field goals respectively. As a forward though, Vince is able to generate more action on the glass with 7.8 rebounds per game compared to Carsen, who averages 3.8 as a point guard.Purdue’s third-leading scorer is Isaac Haas, a force in the paint with a 61 percent field goal percentage and 5.3 rebounds. However, Haas is the only starter who is not a threat from beyond the arc as the center has yet to shoot a 3-point shot this season.Coach Greg Gard addressed how to tackle a team that has such a strong outside and inside presence.“With Haas being mostly in the paint they stretch you with four guys but you have such a load inside. You have a guy that’s really two guys it’s like playing six on five with Haas inside on his own. Some teams have chosen to double him. Some teams have chosen not to double him. We did a little bit of both the last time and I think it’s one of those where you pick your poison,” Gard said.Men’s Basketball: Wisconsin prepares to take on Illinois in Big Ten matchupWisconsin (10-15, 3-9 Big Ten) will play Illinois (12-12, 2-9 Big Ten) in Urbana-Champaign Thursday at the State Farm Center. Read…Tip off will begin at 6 p.m. with live coverage on ESPN. If you’re attending the game be sure to arrive by 5:45 to watch Frank Kaminsky and other former Badger stars celebrate the jersey retirement and Kaminsky’s legacy.
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers Brendan Rodgers has rejected recent claims of dressing-room unrest at Liverpool as “totally untrue”.However, there appeared to be more to read into what the Northern Irishman did not say rather than what he did, as he twice declined the opportunity to publicly back striker Mario Balotelli over criticism he has upset the equilibrium within the Reds’ squad.In an exclusive interview with talkSPORT, former Liverpool midfielder Paul Ince called for Rodgers to sell the Italian, as he believes he is a disruptive influence and is partly responsible for the lack of team spirit.But Rodgers insists he will continue to work with the striker, as well as the rest of the squad, to try and unlock his full potential after scoring just twice in 15 appearances since his £16million switch from Inter Milan.“There are lots of opinions about Liverpool and Paul is someone who I respect and was a wonderful player and has managed himself so he knows the pressures of management,” said the Reds boss.“Mario is here as a Liverpool player and as the coach and manager I need to work to maximise what I can get out of the player, but that is the same with every single player.“While he is here at the club that is all I will concentrate on.”The manager also insisted the spirit within the dressing-room is strong despite the squad’s disappointment with their current run of poor form, which has seen the Reds knocked out of the Champions League and slide into the bottom half of the Premier League table.“I hear one or two bits and pieces about unrest – it is totally untrue of course,” Rodgers added. “We are not happy we are not winning games“These are competitive players who nearly won the league last year so they won’t be happy with losing, but the actual spirit in the group is very strong and that is one of the reasons why when we get that confidence back then we will go into the second half of the season and be much better.“Our dressing room is very strong. We are very fortunate we have a captain [Steven Gerrard] who is a strong leader and that has been something which has been very important in my time here.” 1