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Wisconsin Sports Briefs: Badger men are 16-0 after defeat of Illini; Bart Starr is 80…

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Wisconsin Sports Briefs: Badger men are 16-0 after defeat of Illini; Bart Starr is 80…
River Falls Wisconsin 2815 Prairie Drive / P.O. Box 25 54022

Wisconsin is 16-0 for the first time in school history after pounding Illinois 95-70 Wednesday night in Madison.

The fourth-ranked Badgers pulled away early with a 20-0 run in the first half. They were up by 25 at the break and cruised from there.

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Wisconsin shot 56 percent and its defense held the 23rd-ranked Illini to just 32 percent. The Badgers committed only four turnovers. They lead the nation with just 8.5 mistakes per game.

Five Badgers scored in double figures, led by Ben Brust with 18 points. Sam Dekker added 17 points and six rebounds, as Wisconsin won its sixth straight game over Illinois.

Rayvonte Rice had 19 points and nine boards, as the Illini ended a four-game overall winning streak and dropped to 2-1 in the Big Ten and 13-3 overall.

The Badgers are now 3-0 in conference play. Coach Bo Ryan said he's proud of his players and what they've accomplished. He added, "Let's try to keep it going."

The Badgers are just one victory away from tying the team-record winning streak of 17 games. They'll go for that milestone next Tuesday night at Indiana.

Bart is 80

Perhaps the greatest of the Green Bay Packer greats turned 80 Thursday.

Quarterback Bart Starr helped the Packers win five NFL championships and the first two Super Bowls in the "Glory Years" of the 1960s under Vince Lombardi. When he retired, Starr's career completion percentage of 57.4 was the NFL's best.

His Green Bay team lost the league title game in 1960, but it never lost another playoff game. Starr's post-season record was 9-1.

His quarterback sneak at the goal line to win the 1967 "Ice Bowl" was shown numerous times on TV as the Packers were about to play last Sunday's cold-weather playoff loss to San Francisco.

McCarthy says 2013 was challenging

Packers coach Mike McCarthy said this past season was the most challenging of his eight years in Green Bay.

At his season-ending news conference Wednesday, McCarthy said there were certain times in his first year in which he felt like he got run over by a truck. "This year, it just seemed like it never stopped," he said.

McCarthy was referring to the parade of injuries to top players. Running back DuJuan Harris and right tackle Bryan Bulaga never played. Clay Matthews was healthy for just three whole games. Tight end Jermichael Finley and receiver Randall Cobb were out for most of the campaign.

And the biggest injury, of course, was to quarterback Aaron Rodgers who sat out for seven contests. And the issues continue into the off-season.

Finley is doing rehab work after his spinal fusion surgery from the neck injury he suffered against Cleveland on Oct. 20. Defensive end Johnny Jolly is getting a second medical opinion on his neck, after he had a bulging disc at his C-5 vertebra.

McCarthy said the Packers hung together throughout the injuries, and it provided some valuable insights that the coach hopes to use in the future.

The team finished 8-8-1 after its playoff loss to San Francisco in last weekend's Wild Card round.

Quarterbacks coach interviewed for Browns’ job

Green Bay quarterbacks coach Ben McAdoo will not have to compete with Josh McDaniels for the head coaching job at Cleveland. Media reports said McDaniels - who runs the offense at New England - has removed himself from consideration.

That word came down Wednesday when McAdoo was reportedly interviewed for the Browns' coaching job. McDaniels, a former head coach at Denver, was said to be a leading candidate for a job that opened up when Rod Chudzinski was fired on the final night of his only season at Cleveland.

McAdoo was given nice endorsements from Packers head coach Mike McCarthy and quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

Rodgers says McAdoo is a good listener, raises good questions and deserves any opportunities he gets.

McCarthy said McAdoo has prepared himself for potential opportunities. McCarthy said he'll do a "phenomenal job" wherever he goes.

McDaniels had interviewed for the Browns' job along with defensive coordinators Todd Bowles of Arizona and Dan Quinn of Seattle.

PGA season begins

Wisconsin golfers Mark Wilson and Jerry Kelly teed off Thursday afternoon in the PGA's first full-fledged tournament of 2014, the Sony Open in Hawaii.

The Badger State was not represented at last week's Hyundai Tournament of Champions, because no state players won a tournament in 2013. However, both Kelly and Wilson have won the Sony event in Honolulu.

Wilson, who's from Pewaukee, won it in 2011. Kelly, of Madison, won the Sony Open in 2002.

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