The 19-year old who made his senior debut for Nigeria in the friendly clash with the Cranes of Uganda late last year has been tipped to add verve to Eagles attacking midfield with his quality play.His Spanish club, Villarreal, who value the lad with relish had made it known to Nigerian authorities that they will not allow their jewel to burn out playing in both the AFCON 2019 and the U-20 World Cup.This perhaps may have informed the decision of Super Eagles Head Coach Gernot Rohr to opt for Chukwueze joining the party to Egypt rather than going to Poland for the cadet World Cup starting later this month.Media Officer of the Flying Eagles, Andrew Randa, further put the matter to rest yesterday when in a reply to tweet on his official Twitter handle dispelled any chance of Chukwueze going to Poland with the team.“Point of correction. Chukwueze specifically requested to be invited for the U20’s. He wasn’t in the mix originally. I can also confirm to you that he won’t be in Poland. Cheers,” Randa stated in response to a follower on his Twitter handle.Chukwueze has enjoyed an impressive debut season with Villarreal since breaking into the club’s first team. He has scored eight goals in 37 appearances across all competitions.The Villarreal player valued at €35million was recently named Africa’s Most Valuable Under-20 Player. He has vowed to continue to work hard on his game.“It’s always a pleasure for me to see my name being mentioned among the best at what I do. For me it’s a privilege and I want to continue doing my best to ensure I even keep getting better.“It’s been a good first season for me as a professional and I want to ensure I keep giving my best on the pitch to ensure I finish the season on a good note,” Chukwueze concluded.Chukwueze remains a target of top European clubs this summer with the Yellow Submarines stating that only a club record transfer fee will tempt them into parting ways with the young Nigerian.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram Duro IkhazuagbeVillarreal exciting winger, Samuel Chukwueze, has had his wish to play at the AFCON 2019 on track following confirmation wednesday that he is not going to be part of the Flying Eagles for the Under-20 World Cup in Poland.Chukwueze is among the overseas-based players listed for the competition by Flying Eagles Head Coach Paul Aigbogun, but the player appeared not too keen to feature in Poland. Samuel Chukwueze
Football fans will be treated to a bumper package this weekend as games from the Premier League, Serie A and La Liga will be aired on GOtv this weekend.The games, scheduled to hold from 8-9 February, will be broadcast live on SuperSport Select 2 to GOtv Jolli and GOtv Max subscribers, and on SuperSport Select 4 and SuperSport Select 5 exclusive to GOtv Max subscribers.The weekend’s broadcast begins with the Premier League encounter between Everton and Crystal Palace at Goodison Park on Saturday. The game kicks off at 1:30pm and will be aired live on SuperSport Select 2. Everton, who were languishing at the bottom of the table in the early part of the season, have been resurgent since the appointment of Carlo Ancelotti as manager. The Toffees – currently placed ninth – are now more attack-minded, the likes of Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison and Nigeria’s Alex Iwobi flourishing. They are also tighter at the back, with central defender, Yerry Mina, regaining his form. Crystal Palace, on the other hand, have struggled all season and are currently lie 14th, just six points above relegation places.The Eagles have drawn three and lost two of their last five games, leaving manager Roy Hodgson worried. But with the tricky pair of Wilfred Zaha and Jordan Ayew in attack, they carry offensive plenty of offensive menaceThe Serie A will witness the fierce rivalry on Sunday when Inter Milan host AC Milan in the 296th Derby Della Madonnina (Milan Derby) at San Siro. The game, which kicks off at 8.45pm, will be aired live on SuperSport Select 5.Inter, who won the first encounter 2-0 in September, will seek strengthen their chances of dislodging Juventus as the league champions. The Nerazzurri slid from the first position to the second following three draws in their last five games. But Antonio Conte’s men remain within touching distance of their rival and will continue their chase for their first Serie A title since the 2009/2010 season. The team will rely on the in-form strike partnership of Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez. They will, however, meet a Milan team who have been in indifferent form. I Rossoneri are currently in eighth position and are in danger of not qualifying for a European competition.Manager Stefano Pioli knows that his team must start winning and will hope the likes of Ante Rebic, Hakan Çalhanoğlu and star signing, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, deliver the goods.Also on Sunday, reigning LaLiga champions, Barcelona, will travel to face Real Betis at the Estadio Benito Villamarín. The game kicks off at 9pm and will be live on SuperSport Select 4.Real Betis, currently placed 12th, have lost two and drawn two of their last five games, pushing them closer to the relegation battle. But coach Joan Francesc Ferrer, popularly known as Rubi, will hope that his charges – including striker Borja Iglesias Quintas, midfielder Nabil Fekir, and veteran winger Joaquin – will rise to the occasion against their more illustrious opponents. Second-placed Barcelona will aim to regain top spot. Los Blaugrana are three points behind their rivals, Real Madrid, and manager Quique Setién knows that another loss may hamper the team’s chances of retaining La Liga title. Although the team will miss injured striker, Luis Suarez, skipper Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann will provide sufficient threat upfront, Ivan Rakitic and Frenkie De Jong will provide depth in the middle of the park while Gerad Pique will be tasked to lead the team’s defence line.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram
Three separate but similar incidents in the past month have authorities looking for a man with a penchant for feet.The first incident occurred Sept. 11, by 37th and Catalina streets. A female student — a junior majoring in print journalism who chose to remain anonymous — said she was riding her bike to her friend’s house around 3:30 p.m. when the suspect gestured for her to ride over to him.The man told her he was a podiatry student at USC conducting research on the arches of people’s feet and would like to look at her feet.“He was like, ‘I was wondering if I could take a look at your arch.’ I told him no, and that I was late meeting my friend. He was like, ‘You know what, it’ll only take two seconds, I just have to look at your foot,’” the student said. “Because I was wearing flip flops, I held out my foot.”After the student held out her foot, the man began to massage and fondle her feet. When the student realized the man was not actually a podiatry student, she tried to walk away but he yanked her foot back and began kissing it.“He told me, ‘You have beautiful feet, you should thank me for kissing your foot with my lips,’” the student said.The student then pulled back her foot away, rode away and called the USC Department of Public Safety.Another female student reported Monday that as she was riding her bicycle by 37th and Catalina, a man gestured for her to stop.She ignored him and continued toward her apartment, but the man followed and asked her twice if he could look at her feet. The man claimed to be an orthopedist. The student refused both times, then went inside her apartment and called DPS.A third female student reported Tuesday that while she was walking near Century Apartments, a man approached her asking to see her feet. This time, the man claimed to be a shoemaker.The student refused the request, and the suspect walked to a vehicle parked nearby.The student had heard of similar incidents occurring in the past, so she took down the suspect’s license plate number and contacted DPS.DPS Capt. David Carlisle said although these are suspicious circumstances that should be reported to DPS, no crime has been committed yet.“If someone asks for consent and a student gives it to them, it’s not a crime,” Carlisle said. “If he did fondle someone against their will, then it could be considered a sexual battery, but thus far that hasn’t happened. He approached two other people who did not fall for his proposal. We will have to see where this leads.”DPS Chief John Thomas said the students who reported the encounters gave thorough descriptions each time. The man was described by all three students as a 20- to 25-year-old Hispanic male with spiky hair. DPS believes there is only one suspect acting repeatedly.“This is odd behavior. Who knows what else he may be up to, so we want to get this person identified,” Carlisle said.Thomas said DPS is working with LAPD to identify the suspect and they have dedicated additional resources to both areas where the suspect has been spotted.“We’ve added extra officers and we’re working with LAPD to ensure that their resources are aware of this individual’s description,” Thomas said.Brooke Parker, a junior majoring in violin performance who lives in Century, said that despite these incidents, she still feels safe walking off campus.“If you’re careful, it’s not that dangerous,” Parker said. “I always feel safe because Century is so close to campus, and since we have those new [security ambassadors], I feel like someone is always watching.”
The USC College Republicans’ decision to bring David Horowitz, a conservative writer and activist, to campus sparked controversy from the moment it was announced, but the outcry ramped up this week when some students were denied admission to tonight’s event.The College Republicans, who are hosting the private event, are denying admission to around 30 students affiliated with specific student organizations, including Students for Justice in Palestine and the Progressive Alliance. Alexa Ekman, president of the USC College Republicans, said the group decided to ban certain students because they were worried about potential protests.Ekman said the College Republicans has obtained copies of emails that made the organization feel there was a real danger of physical or verbal protest by members of SJP and other groups during the event.Ekman wouldn’t say exactly why she believed a protest might ensue. She did, however, reference an Facebook message that was sent to members of SJP from the group’s president, Alex Shams.The email tells SJP members, “The fact that a USC student group is bringing this kind of racist trash to speak at our school is absolutely unacceptable, and it is up to us as students to resist it. Students for Justice in Palestine has voted to oppose this speaker in any way possible, and I am now calling on you to help us figure out how to respond.”In light of this message, Ekman said College Republicans was concerned.“We’re worried about our event and the people attending and our speaker,” Ekman said. “We do have reason to believe that there is a threat of opposition, whether it is by words or via violence.”Shams, a senior majoring in international relations, said he is angry about the choice of speaker because of Horowitz’s conservative principles, which often target Islam.“Right now, the USC College Republicans is bringing a man who is a very vocal and famous racist and Islamophobe who has in the past come to campuses across the country and targeted students in a similar way with his hate speech,” he said.But no verbal or physical protest was ever planned, Shams said.“That protest wasn’t supposed to disruptive at all. It was supposed to be silent,” he said.Leena Ali, a second-year neuroscience Ph.D. student and a member of SJP, said only a silent protest was planned.“We weren’t going to shout anything; we were going to get up and turn our backs,” she said.But Ekman insisted there was a real threat of a protest at the event.“They have shown active involvement in preparation to protest our speaker, and [we] feel that the reasons above justify their denial to our event,” Ekman wrote in an email.She emphasized, however, that it is not the protest that concerns USC College Republicans, but the way in which it might be conducted.“We are fine with their protest,” she said. “We welcome their opinions and ideas, [but] not to the speaker on our time, and at our event that we paid for, in a disrespectful manner.”Shams accused the College Republicans of denying anyone with a “Muslim-sounding” name entrance to the event, but Ekman denied that claim. Many members of Students for Justice in Palestine are Muslim.“We are not letting anybody in those [specific] groups in. It has nothing to do with racial profiling,” she said. “We spoke with Heather Larabee, [assistant dean of students and director of Campus Activities], and we told her exactly what we’re doing, so we’re in the clear.”Larabee did not return calls asking for comment.Ekman said the USC College Republicans are using Facebook to determine if students are associated with SJP or the Progressive Alliance and emailing these students to tell them they will not be allowed to attend the event.“This is event is entirely privately funded, and thus USC College Republicans reserves the right to deny entrance to anyone for any reason,” the email reads. “The rhetoric utilized by students opposed to this event has given USC College Republicans extreme concern regarding the safety of our speaker and all those in attendance of the event. We have excluded your names from the RSVP list. Please do not attempt to attend our event, as you will be denied entrance.”The College Republicans did not attempt to talk to members of SJP before the event in order to find a compromise between the two groups, because SJP and USC Progressive Alliance demonstrated they did not want to make amends with the College Republicans, Ekman said.“[The USC Progressive Alliance made] fliers that pretend to be from our club and are inflammatory and derogatory and are types of slander,” she said. “By putting those words in our mouth, they have usurped their rights to have attendance to our event because they are not respectful at all.”On his blog, Horowitz addressed the creation of the fliers, which were titled, “Hate Muslims? So Do We!!” and refuted the Progressive Alliance’s claims that he is a racist, saying they misquoted him.Horowitz wrote that the Progressive Alliance flier attributed a quote to him which was “entirely invented” and “represent[s] nothing” that he has ever written.Despite the controversy, Dan Schnur, the director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics, said one of the benefits USC students receive is the opportunity to hear speakers of a wide range of ideas and opinions.“Horowitz is certainly a very provocative speaker, but his is one voice of many in the debate over the future of the Middle East that has right to be heard,” he said.
Hoping to make science more accessible to a wide range of people, the National Science Foundation and the USC School of Cinematic Arts have teamed up to create a new initiative that combines science and interactive media.Moving pictures · The National Science Foundation and the USC School of Cinematic arts are aiming to make science more accessible. – Daily Trojan File Photo The Creative Science Studio, known as CS2, aims to educate large audiences about contemporary issues in the world of science through interactive media outlets.The idea began with NSF, which developed the concept along with USC’s Research Advancement Office in Washington, D.C. NSF had partnered with USC before and approached the school to discuss the possibility of a science and interactive media collaboration.“NSF is worried about scientific illiteracy in the country,” said Elizabeth Daley, dean of SCA. “They want to find a way to better educate the public in fundamental scientific ideas, principles and research.”CS2 will launch in fall 2010. It will not be a physical space on campus but rather a virtual environment run through SCA.NSF has provided SCA with innovative resources, such as new devices and data visualization methods, to help the school achieve the goals of CS2.The hope, Daley said, is that researchers nationwide will take advantage of CS2’s resources to make their research and findings accessible to the general population.“If a researcher gets a major grant, they bring it to us to help them with their educational components,” Daley said. “The end result could be anything from a documentary to a game to a website.”Cinematic arts students and faculty will have the opportunity to engage in various research projects and new forms of production through CS2. The opportunity to work with top researchers from multiple disciplines may also arise.Students are excited by the opportunities the partnership will present.“It sounds fantastic,” said Edwin Eversole, a junior majoring in cinema-television production. “I think cinematic arts students will be happy to be a part of this opportunity. The more information we help get out there, the better.”Thomas Kalil, deputy director for policy for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, said in a statement that the White House hopes this partnership will help merge the science and entertainment worlds.“This novel and creative partnership will enlist the power of the entertainment media to inspire audiences to learn more about science and engineering, to develop a network of scientific experts, facilities and instruments available to the arts, and bring new technologies in sight, sound and video to the marketplace,” Kalil said in a press release.As a federal agency, NSF is looking to promote President Obama’s “Educate to Innovate” campaign, which emphasizes the importance of excelling in the sciences.NSF and USC first partnered in 1996, when the two parties established the Integrated Media Systems Center, which has played a significant part in the expansion of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering. Over the past decade, IMSC has developed an extensive cross-disciplinary program and has become the only NSF center of excellence in multimedia and the Internet.Daley said the key to make CS2 work is to successfully incorporate the tools used to make quality media products to improve science education and information.
When Andrea Edoria was diagnosed with a brain aneurysm at age 3, she spent six months at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles.Fifteen years later, Edoria, who has fully recovered, is a spokesperson for CHLA — and a future Trojan.Good cause · Shiny Toy Guns performed a concert on Friday as part of Sigma Chi’s Derby Days. Proceeds were donated to CHLA. – Photo courtesy of Sigma Chi Through her work with CHLA, Edoria connected with her dream school, USC. Specifically, she connected with the Sigma Chi fraternity, which raised more than $50,000 for the Children’s Miracle Network at CHLA last year during its annual Derby Days philanthropy. Derby Days, which consists of a series of activities and a concert, typically raises more money than most other fraternity philanthropies combined. Admission to the concert typically costs $20 to $25 and the fraternity also collects funds from corporate sponsors.According to Lisa Coleman, assistant director of the Children’s Miracle Network at CHLA, most of the money goes toward meeting the needs of families with ill children — families like Edoria’s.Edoria met members of Sigma Chi for the first time last year, when she was invited to a barbecue. She was asked to speak at Derby Days to recount her experiences as a young child battling illness at CHLA. She has since been in constant contact with members of the fraternity.“I’ve met these [Sigma Chi] boys on different occasions, and they’re really good guys at heart,” Edoria said. “They’re really supporting a good cause.”For Edoria, who just recently committed to USC, working with Sigma Chi is just the beginning of her relationship with USC.“It’s like a dream come true,” she said.Edoria will be studying journalism at the Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism. She said she is very excited to become a Trojan and is grateful for the support she has received from members of Sigma Chi.“Since I was about 7 or 8 years old, I have always wanted to write. When I came across USC, I knew that was where I wanted to go,” she said.Though she officially becomes a Trojan in the fall, Edoria said she already feels like part of the Trojan family thanks to her relationship with Sigma Chi.“I definitely feel welcome,” she said.Although new restrictions from the Interfraternity Council forced Sigma Chi to limit the length of Derby Days this year, Stephen Lindgren, a member of Sigma Chi and one of the chairs of Derby Days, said the fraternity still had high hopes for the amount of money they could raise.“We’re hoping to match last year’s donations,” Lindgren said. “We feel a deep connection to Children’s Hospital and to Andrea.”
UW Athletic CommunicationsFor junior jumper Alonzo Moore, satisfaction never comes easily.An All-American just a year ago, Moore has opened the 2005 outdoor track and field season in successful fashion. He is currently ranked No. 4 in the nation in the triple jump.Nevertheless, the Hampton, Va., native remains discontented with his efforts until he has reached the No. 1 spot.“I always try to improve every year so this year I’m going to try to do better than last year and then better than indoor,” Moore said. “My goal is always to aim for first place and nothing less, so that’s what I’m going to aim for.”Topping his success from last season and this year’s indoor season will be quite the task. Moore won the 2004 Big Ten Indoor Championship in the triple jump event and took second this indoor season despite recording an indoor personal best mark of 52 feet, 1/2 inch.He treated his personal best mark at Big Ten indoors with little contentment, as he is hoping to take the Big Ten and nationals by storm in outdoors with a polished jumping approach and improved conditioning.“Indoor, it was pretty decent,” Moore said. “I wasn’t satisfied with what I did, but I was pleased because I did it off of no training. But I think now for outdoor I’m going to try and stay healthy and get the strength back in my legs. I think I’ve done pretty good because I’ve been jumping from short approach and doing pretty decent, so I think when I back it up and then go for it [I’ll do well].”Moore has leaped off to a fast start in the outdoor season thus far. At the Gatorade Classic in Knoxville, Tenn., this past weekend he took first and third, respectively, in the triple and long jump events. However, even his latest triumph has not satisfied Moore, who is striving to accomplish much more.“(This past weekend) was alright,” Moore said. “I mean we’ve been training so I wasn’t expecting much. I had a few good jumps, but I fouled them. But overall I was just trying to work on something new, something different, to try and better my jumps.”As part of a strong track and field program like Wisconsin’s, Moore realizes that training with his teammates has contributed to his development, as even practice is always competitive with Rick Bellford or Paul Hubbard always looking to surpass him in the jump events.“(My teammates are) always encouraging and talking about me — especially if I’m not good — although they [are] just joking around,” Moore said. “But watching them is what pushes me because when I see them getting better at something then I know they’re working hard for it and I know if I don’t do things right, then they’re going to be beating me.”As Moore begins his preparation for the Big Ten Outdoor Championships and NCAAs, he will continue to sharpen up his jumping approach using the new techniques he has been testing out in practice. With a fresh approach, Moore is confident he will be able to accomplish his goals against the top competition in both the conference and nation.“Competition-wise, it’s the same as indoors, but some people jump better outdoor than they do indoor,” Moore said. “I still got Aarik (Wilson, of Indiana) pushing me to jump with him, and as far as nationals go Allen Sims (of USC) is back and there are a lot of other dudes who have been putting some jumps out there, so that’s pushing me.”In this season’s Big Ten and national championships, Moore hopes to reach the finals in the triple jump event and challenge Wilson and Sims. He was unable to make it past the preliminaries last season at nationals, and while he has noted some personal goals that he plans to accomplish by the year’s end, his chief objective is simply to stay healthy.“My main goal is to stay healthy, to stay injury free — that is my main goal,” Moore said. “And if that all goes well, jumping-wise in the triple jump I want to jump at least 54 plus. My goal is 55, so if I get anything close to that I’ll be pretty satisfied. The long jump — try to improve on that; I got a lot of work on that and at least to stay consistent with 24. Just to jump as far as I can when I’m healthy, and if I’m healthy I think everything will go right along with it.”
Thus far, the Wisconsin softball team has had to endure 21 non-conference games this season without competing in a single Big Ten bout.Some good news for the Badgers: the Big Ten season is finally here, and now the competition may begin.”I think it’s going to be up for grabs,” said UW head coach Chandelle Schulte of the conference title, a quest that begins for her squad this Friday at No. 17 Northwestern. “I want to get started. … I think there’s a huge opportunity this year for a lot of teams to beat each other. There’s going to be a lot of movement [that] people don’t expect.”Schulte has good reason for her optimistic outlook this conference season. The Badgers took on the most ambitious non-conference schedule in the history of the program this spring — “we continued to go into the fire,” said Schulte — traveling across the country to play games against teams like No. 3 Texas, No. 23 Fresno State, No. 12 Arizona State and No. 5 Stanford.While Wisconsin did not post upset victories against those traditional western powerhouses, the team’s confidence has grown by competing with them. The Badgers now know what they need to do to succeed against top-level competition.Recently, the Badgers have drawn upon their reservoir of early-season experiences and have turned their season around in the last two weeks. Since March 15, the Badgers are on a five-game winning streak in which they have vastly outscored opponents, 30-6.While ambitious scheduling is surely attractive to the fans — how many times have you wished the Badgers’ football team would (just once) play Texas or Notre Dame in September — there is a delicate balance that needs to be attained for every college squad. Teams would like to challenge the best programs possible, but at the same time, coaches are caught worrying about establishing confidence in their team. Wisconsin has been able to find a happy medium between playing the top teams to gain experience while continuing to schedule games in which they can fuel their confidence by posting victories.”You have a Michigan State and you have a Penn State that are leading the Big Ten now in wins,” explained Schulte. “But their competitive schedule hasn’t been what Michigan’s, Iowa’s or Wisconsin’s has been. So, it’s a give and take; the question will be do we have enough confidence to beat you, or did you play the competition that you need to beat [us]?”The Badgers face a daunting task this weekend when they try to steal a victory or two in their doubleheader against conference foe Northwestern. The Wildcats, who have been ranked all year long, recently traveled to Los Angeles, where they unseated No. 1 UCLA, knocking them from the top of the national rankings. However, because of the Badgers’ early-season experience against quality teams, they are not worried about this weekend’s matchup.”In my experience, anyone can beat anyone on any given day,” said freshman pitcher Theresa Boruta. “I’m not discrediting them at all — they’re a great team — but you don’t look at past records to judge how you are going to do against them. … I’m not really worried about them [just because they] beat UCLA.”Coach Schulte echoed Boruta’s comments.”I don’t think [the players] are intimidated,” said Schulte. “This team doesn’t seem to worry about too many other [teams].”The coaching staff is certainly wary of the dangerous lineup that Northwestern puts on the field. Coach Schulte thinks that they will be tops in the Big Ten this season, as does assistant coach Martha McCall.”I don’t think that [Northwestern has] quite hit their peak yet,” said McCall. “Last year, Michigan was the team [to beat] in the Big Ten, and we took them to the last inning. So I don’t think we’re really scared or intimidated by anybody because, in softball, anything can happen on any given day.”
BRYAN FAUST/Herald photoThe Wisconsin men’s hockey team accomplished a lot of things in the 2005-06 season — the best regular season record in the WCHA and a national championship, to name a couple — but one notable accolade was not achieved.In last year’s conference tournament, the Badgers were knocked off by North Dakota in the WCHA Final Five, raising the question of whether Wisconsin had what it takes to go all the way.That question was answered in a matter of weeks, and this weekend, the No. 2 Badgers will square off against the No. 5 Fighting Sioux, the last team to beat Wisconsin. Last season’s loss, while insignificant in the greater scheme of things, has not completely disappeared from the Badgers’ thoughts.”All those games are in the back of our minds, but last year was last year, and it’s over with,” senior defenseman Jeff Likens said. “I like to beat them every time, I want to win every game and so does this whole team, so losing to them last year in the WCHA Final Five puts a little extra burn in our bodies.”We have to come out either way and get the job done.”Prior to Friday night’s game, Wisconsin (1-1-0, 0-0-0 WCHA) will commemorate last season’s national championship with a montage of last year’s highlights and fireworks to set the stage for the unveiling of the team’s 2006 championship banner. The ceremony will undoubtedly be emotional for the remaining players and coaches, who will try to stay focused on the task at hand.”I think this (the ceremony) will be good for the fans of Wisconsin, and now they’ll have something physical to look at and remember about last year,” senior captain Andrew Joudrey said. “It will be a good celebration for them and for us, but it is what it is, it goes up and it will be great, but North Dakota is a pretty easy team to focus on.”After it goes up, we will be right back to thinking about the game.”Many of the Badgers said the banner ceremony will serve as a motivating factor rather than a distraction. However, they recognize that across the way North Dakota (2-0-0, 0-0-0 WCHA) will be looking to shock the hockey world and quiet the Wisconsin faithful. “Oh, they’ll (North Dakota) be gunning,” Joudrey said. “They are always a tough opponent and they bring a ton to the table; they’re fast, they’re physical and they’re well coached; they got some guys who can put the puck in the net, and we expect a hundred percent from those guys right at the get-go. We need to make sure that we are mentally and physically prepared to go to start the game.”The Badgers earned three points in Green Bay against Northern Michigan last weekend, but the intensity level should be drastically higher in Wisconsin’s home and conference opener against the Fighting Sioux.”We are going to have to adapt to a lot of things against North Dakota this weekend than we did last weekend against Northern Michigan,” Likens said. “It’s going to be a different kind of game; it’s a bigger ice. Those guys might come a little harder, but we’ll be good to go.”North Dakota is coming off a sweep over Quinnipiac last weekend, outscoring the Bobcats 10-3. While Quinnipiac is not exactly a force to be reckoned with, the Fighting Sioux are picking up right where they left off a season ago — UND averaged 3.57 goals per game overall (fourth in NCAA) and 3.71 in conference games (second in WCHA).Those numbers should not taper off, considering that North Dakota is bringing back an impressive sophomore class that features forwards T.J. Oshie (24 goals, 21 assists for 45 points), Jonathan Toews (22-17-39) and Ryan Duncan (16-20-36) and defenseman Brian Lee (4-23-27). UND has 18 underclassmen, but a talented and experienced sophomore class could make this team an offensive juggernaut in the WCHA.However, UW head coach Mike Eaves is not focusing on any one player.”North Dakota, whenever you play them you know exactly what you’re going to get,” Eaves said. “They’re going to come at you with great pressure, play hard, and that’s the kind of the game it’s going to be, and we’ll be focused on that more than anything else.”The Badgers’ defense and goaltending will be looking to step up their play to contain the Fighting Sioux’s offensive attack. The Badgers blue-liners have looked strong in the early going, yielding only four goals last weekend while Hobey Baker finalist and senior goaltender Brian Elliott recorded a shutout in his only action of the season.The atmosphere in the Kohl Center this weekend should be as wild as it’s ever been, and the Badgers will look to use the fan’s support and excitement to get off on the right foot in conference play.”It’s going to be fun and the fans haven’t seen a game here in a long time, we expect them to be as fired up as much as we are,” Joudrey said. “The more energy they give us, the more motivation we have to just go out and play as hard as we can for them.”
Between the start of football season and the end of baseball’s regular season, it is difficult to pay attention to much else this time of year. Sure, golf fans might have turned the channel to the conclusion of the PGA’s inaugural FedEx Cup over the weekend, and for Portland Trailblazer fans Greg Oden surely stole the limelight. But for the most part, it’s baseball or football on the minds of sports fans right now.I myself was enjoying a college football game on Saturday night when an advertisement came on that reminded me that there is a whole other side of sports that I pay little attention too and know even less about: women’s sports. It happened in a commercial where Rainn Wilson, better known as Dwight Schrute from “The Office,” jumped into a soccer goal and tore off his suit to reveal soccer shorts and a sports bra. For the next thirty seconds or so, Wilson, playing a character similar to Schrute, demonstrated to a bunch of female soccer players how they might improve their celebrations and impress fans. Eventually, one of the players kicks a soccer ball at Wilson as the screen goes black. There, looking fearless in front of a black background stand several members of the soccer team, which text soon reveals to be the U.S. Women’s National Soccer team. Nike, which sponsors the team, then proclaims that the viewers are catching a glimpse of “The Greatest Team You’ve Never Heard Of.”My first reaction to the commercial was to take offense. Obviously, I’ve heard of the team. It’s not like I didn’t know that America had a women’s soccer team. I can still conjure up the image of Brandi Chastain ripping her shirt off in celebration of a World Cup-clinching penalty kick, and I can capably give a brief biography of Mia Hamm. That, however, is where my knowledge of the team ends, and upon learning that neither Chastain nor Hamm is still a member of the team, I realized I am almost completely in the dark.A second event, this one taking place Sunday night, drove home the observation that I had stumbled upon earlier. A trip to ESPN’s website in an effort to check fantasy football stats reminded me, or rather informed me, that the decisive Game 5 of the WNBA championship was just hours from taking place, and that when it came to women’s sports, I didn’t even have a clue.The Detroit Shock played the Phoenix Mercury in the finale, but that’s about all I could tell you about the league. I could name a handful of players, but I’d be hard pressed to tell you what teams they played for or even how many teams are in the league these days.All of this goes to serve the point that even though I consider myself to be at the very least an “average” sports fan, when it comes to women’s teams, I am completely oblivious.Coming to that realization posed an interesting question: Does my lack of interest in these sports make me some sort of sexist jerk?Well, I thought about it, and I think I can safely say that the answer to that question is no.Most of my time devoted to watching and following sports comes from watching ESPN, and although the network provides some coverage of these female teams, it devotes considerably more to the NFL, NBA and MLB. I’m just exposed to other sports more than I am to women’s ones.When it comes to basketball, I firmly believe that the product of the WNBA is just as strong as the NBA, but there isn’t a Boston-based WNBA team. As a self-admitted “homer,” I’d like to think that if there was a WNBA franchise in Boston (Connecticut doesn’t count, I know about the Sun), I’d fight to the death with anyone who bashed the hometown team. Without a team to root for, though, it is difficult to develop an interest, at least initially, in the league.As for women’s soccer, well, I don’t really care about men’s soccer either. In fact, I probably know more about Mia Hamm than I do about anyone who has played for the U.S. men’s team. The only soccer team I really root for to begin with is the New England Revolution (see the previous argument for why), and I don’t even follow them too closely.I may not pay attention to women’s sports, but that doesn’t mean I don’t respect the leagues and the athletes. Commercials like the Nike ad that got me thinking about this seemed aimed at making myself, and probably many other male sports fans, feel bad about our lack of knowledge of these teams. I know just as much about the WNBA and women’s soccer as I do about NASCAR, but I don’t feel bad that I can’t tell you how many races Jeff Gordon has won, just the way I shouldn’t feel bad that I can’t tell you how many points Diana Taurasi scores per game. I’m willing to concede that the U.S. Women’s Soccer team may be the best team I don’t pay attention too, but it certainly isn’t the best I’ve never heard of.Mike is a sophomore majoring in journalism. If you”d like to have an in-depth conversation about the WNBA he might not be able to follow you, but he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org anyway.