Yes, it's been an underwhelming season for the Wisconsin football team, but at least there was the possibility of a ray of light (or sunshine) with its bowl destination. Instead, it's New York City in late December against the same team the Badgers faced in the Orange Bowl last year -- and it's being played on a Thursday afternoon, to boot. Not saying the Badgers didn't deserve to be in this bowl, but this repeat matchup is a disservice to both Wisconsin and Miami as well as their fan bases. Oh well, at least both were ranked in top 10 in the preseason … yeah, call this a bowl buzzkill.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks forward (↑ UP)
Milwaukee only played in two games last week but Antetokounmpo filled up the stat sheet, as usual. In a win over Chicago on Wednesday he had 36 points (14-of-21 shooting), 11 rebounds, eight assists and a block. In an overtime loss to New York on Saturday he recorded 33 points (10-of-17 shooting), 19 rebounds, seven assists, three steals and two blocks. Antetokounmpo has scored 30+ points in five of his last six games. He was the NBA's player of the month for November, when he averaged 28.3 points, 12.4 rebounds and 6.1 assists per game. When the amazing starts becoming ordinary, you know you're watching something special. Also, side note: Don't step over Giannis. While we admit we loved his initial reaction, we also like that he came back out and apologized (sort of) saying he knows he's a role model for kids.
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Khris Middleton, Bucks forward (↓ DOWN)
In Milwaukee's loss to the Knicks on Saturday, Middleton was benched for the fourth quarter and overtime by head coach Mike Budenholzer due to a lack of energy and intensity in his defensive effort. Middleton had season lows of 18 1/2 minutes and 10 points. Player and coach appear to be back on the same page but it's interesting to note early on in coach Bud's tenure that he doesn't mind sending a message using one of the Bucks' better players as fodder.
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Joe Philbin, Packers head coach ( EVEN)
With the firing of Mike McCarthy, Philbin gets his second chance to be an NFL head coach, following a 52-game stint with Miami from 2012-15. Like his last season with the Dolphins, this one likely will last only four games. While Mark Murphy has said Philbin is getting a four-game audition for the job, it seems likely that the Packers will look elsewhere this offseason.
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Markus Howard, Marquette guard (↑ UP)
Howard poured in 45 points in a win over Kansas State on Saturday, making 11 of 17 field-goal attempts and 19 of 21 free-throw attempts then followed that up with 21 in Tuesday's victory over UTEP, tied for his third-highest scoring output of the season. Howard leads the Big East in points per game (22.4) and free-throw percentage (91.1) and is second in made 3-pointers (29).
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D'Mitrik Trice, Badgers guard (↑ UP)
The junior continues his stellar play, notching 20 points in a big win at Iowa and 14 in a victory over Rutgers for the 12th-ranked Badgers. Trice missed most of last season due to a right-foot injury, playing in only 10 games. In nine games this season he's nearly doubled his point total from last year and already has more rebounds. Trice leads the NCAA in 3-point field-goal percentage with a scorching 60 percent -- he made just 30 percent in his limited time last season and 41.8 percent as a freshman -- and is second in the Big Ten in made 3s with 30.
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Aaron Rodgers, Packers quarterback (↓ DOWN)
Suddenly there's a lot of heat coming down on Rodgers. Was he the one responsible for McCarthy getting fired? Was criticism of him in a tweet by Winston Moss part of the reason the associate head coach was fired Tuesday? People are starting to point a finger at Rodgers for Green Bay's tough season. While he's put up some decent numbers -- he's only thrown one interception all year -- against a bad Arizona team he had a 79.9 passer rating (opposing QBs this year have a 96.8 passer rating, and that's including Rodgers). Things are getting a little ugly in Titletown.