Finals week is nigh and, in the interest of academic pursuits, the UW-Madison will cease athletic activity for a week following the men's and women's basketball games at the Kohl Center on Saturday.
The Badger women's game against Marquette, at 1 pm, is probably the best bet. And thanks to a lackluster 72-78 record in five seasons under head coach Lisa Stone, tickets shouldn't be hard to come by.
Stone's record has brought declining attendance and zero NCAA tournament appearances. And it has fueled much speculation among fans that this year is do or die for Stone, especially given the arrival of assistant coach Kathi Bennett, former head coach at UW-Oshkosh and Indiana and daughter of legendary Wisconsin men's coach Dick Bennett.
If Stone can't get the Badgers to the big dance this year, athletic director Barry Alvarez has some options.
Stone's Badgers, however, were an eyebrow-raising 8-1 going into their game at UW-Green Bay Wednesday night, and not against a slate of chumps. The Badgers' opponents are a combined 44-29 so far, with Baylor ranked sixth in the country when Wisconsin defeated the Lady Bears in the Virgin Islands two weeks ago.
But Saturday's game is no cakewalk. Wisconsin is finishing a stretch of 10 games in 23 days, while the Golden Eagles, 7-2, are coming off six days of rest.
"If you ask a player, they like games," says Stone. "As coaches, we like a little bit more time in between, but they've done a great job handling the tough schedule and staying focused."