With the spring semester at UW-Madison comes the beginning of Madison’s spring sports, as well as the continuation of several sports that began in the fall semester.
While football and volleyball — two of UW’s most popular and successful sports — are obviously over, Wisconsin’s spring sports have also seen success in recent years, and they’ll seek more success this year.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at the sports happening this semester, beginning with the ones that have already started.
With the exception of football, men’s basketball is the epitome of Wisconsin sports. Following a decade of success which resulted in NCAA Tournament appearances in nine out of ten seasons, Wisconsin will look to continue that success as they delve deeper into their conference schedule.
Following a surprisingly good start to their Big Ten schedule — including wins against The Ohio State University and Indiana — the Badgers still have several high-profile games remaining on their schedule, including Michigan State and a rematch with OSU.
If Wisconsin can hold their own through the last half of their schedule, expect to see them return to the NCAA Tournament in March.
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Despite not having finished with a record above .500 since the 2010-11 season, the Badgers have taken strides toward being a winning program in the last few years, including a 15-16 finish last season under third-year Head Coach Jonathan Tsipis.
Tsipis’ team has stayed above .500 thus far, including great play in their non-conference schedule. If the team can remain consistent the rest of the way, expect a return to at least the NIT Tournament, if not the NCAA Tournament.
The Badger wrestling team has reached expectations thus far, going a strong 7-1 to this point with their lone loss coming to Iowa in conference play. The Badgers have played high-quality opponents but performed well in each match besides the loss.
Wisconsin will face a string of Big Ten opponents between now and March, leading up to the Big Ten Championships and NCAA Championships in March.
After a promising start to the season, the men’s hockey team collapsed late in the fall semester, losing to weaker opponents despite strong leadership from freshman duo Cole Caufield and Alex Turcotte.
If the Badgers want any chance at returning to the NCAA Tournament in a couple of months, they must be consistent and perform well in conference matchups with several high-quality hockey programs.
The women’s hockey team had high expectations going into the season, coming off of an NCAA Championship victory last March. The Badgers managed to exceed those expectations in the fall semester, going 18-1-1 with their only two losses coming to Big Ten rival Minnesota.
The Badgers will face off with Minnesota again later this week in a matchup at LaBahn Arena. Currently sitting at No. 1 in the WCHA rankings, the Badgers will need to win at least one game against the Gophers in order to remain at the top nationally.
Wisconsin will certainly make a run for another NCAA Championship in March’s NCAA Tournament.
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Men’s and Women’s Tennis:
While the men’s tennis team didn’t have a great season last year, they did have at least one promising player in then-freshman Jared Pratt, who went 14-7, including a 9-2 record in Big Ten play. Expect Pratt to take another step forward this season on an all-around young team.
The women’s tennis team had a great season last year, finishing 18-6 with a 9-2 record in Big Ten play. The team made an NCAA Tournament appearance as well, falling to Syracuse in the first round. Wisconsin will look to repeat that performance this season with most players returning from last year.
Men’s and Women’s Golf:
Both the men’s and women’s golf teams had disappointing seasons last year, with the men’s team finishing at the bottom of the Big Ten and the women’s team finishing in ninth out of 14 teams.
In the fall season, however, bright spots emerged on each team from young players on each squad. If both teams can build on their successful fall seasons, it is certainly possible for each team to improve on last year’s results.
Last season’s softball team performed extremely well, going 43-14 and 15-8 in the Big Ten en route to an NCAA Tournament berth, where the team fell to No. 1 Oklahoma.
The Badgers will look to return to form this season as they battle for another NCAA Tournament appearance against a tough schedule that includes Oklahoma and top-notch Big Ten squads.
Forward Madison FC:
Following a successful inaugural season in 2019 that resulted in the No. 4 seed in the USL League One playoffs, the Flamingos will look to carry some of that success into 2020.
The ‘Mingos have already announced several re-signings, including Don Smart and Christian Díaz. FMFC’s schedule gets underway Mar. 28 on the road before their home-opener Apr. 11 in an expanded USL League One schedule.