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Wisconsin Sports Briefs: Packers playoff blackout avoided, predicted game temperature keeps dropping…

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River Falls Wisconsin 2815 Prairie Drive / P.O. Box 25 54022

Your Packer house party should still be on. The remaining tickets for Sunday's Green Bay playoff game against San Francisco were sold Friday morning. That means the game will not be blacked out in the Green Bay, Milwaukee and Wausau TV markets.

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A group of corporate partners led by Associated Bank came forward to buy the final seats to ensure that the game will be on TV in all of Wisconsin.

The three Fox TV stations showing the game also kicked in to buy seats, as did Mills Fleet Farm and Bellin Health.

NFL policy requires games to be sold out in order to be shown on TV stations with coverage areas within 75 miles of an NFL stadium.

The Packers have had not this problem for over three decades. The last Packer game to be blacked out was a playoff contest in 1983, after a strike-shortened season.

In November, season ticket holders refused to buy about 40,000 playoff seats due to Green Bay's poor record at the time and a new policy which no longer grants refunds for post-season games not played. Those payments carry over to the next season's tickets.

But that didn't explain this week's slow ticket sales. Many fans thought it was because of the sub-zero cold predicted for Sunday's game. Some believed the Packers don't have a chance against the 49ers, who have beaten Green Bay three times since the start of the 2012 season.

The forecast

The forecast keeps getting colder for Sunday's NFC Wild Card game in Green Bay. Accu-Weather is now calling for a high of -5 degrees for the Packers' 3:40 p.m. contest with the San Francisco 49ers.

The wind-chill could reach as low as -51, three degrees colder than the classic "Ice Bowl" championship game from 1967.

Nose tackle Ryan Pickett kept his arms exposed in the 2007 NFC Championship Game at Lambeau. He said it took him three days to thaw out. He'll be wearing long sleeves this time.

So will tight end Ryan Taylor, who says going sleeveless "doesn't make you tough ... It makes you stupid."

Defensive end Mike Daniels says he hasn't worn sleeves since high school and he won't do it on Sunday, either.

Eddie Lacy listed as probable

Five Green Bay Packers are listed as probable for Sunday's NFC playoff game against San Francisco at Lambeau Field. Running back Eddie Lacy tops that list, as he gets over an ankle injury. Also probable are linebackers Mike Neal, Nick Perry and Brad Jones - and defensive lineman Ryan Pickett.

Coach Mike McCarthy said receiver and kick returner Randall Cobb is fully expected to play, and we'll find on Sunday how much he plays.

Part of Friday's practice was spent outside for the second day in a row so the players could get accustomed to the elements at game-time. The temperature might not get above zero on Sunday afternoon.

McCarthy said it was great that it was windy because it gave the team a chance to handle the ball in adverse conditions. McCarthy has said that ball security would be a top priority. The coach also said he was happy the game sold out, which happened late Friday morning. He said it's the way it's supposed to be at what he called "the showcase of the NFL."

Two Packers All-Pro

Two Packers made the Associated Press NFL All-Pro teams. Rookie running back Eddie Lacy and left guard Josh Sitton were both named to the All-Pro second team.

Fifty media voters selected the teams. Lacy set a Packers' rookie season rushing record with 1,178 yards with 11 touchdowns. Sitton helped provide much of the blocking for Lacy. He moved from the right side of the line to the left side this season.

Packers coach Mike McCarthy said both All-Pro selections were well-deserved. He said Lacy made a strong impact, while Sitton had his best year as a pro.

Badger men defeat Wildcats

The Wisconsin men's basketball team remained unbeaten, after pounding Northwestern 76-49 Thursday night in their Big Ten opener in Evanston, Ill.

Freshman reserve Nigel Hayes had season-highs of 19 points and six rebounds, and has averaged just over 15 points in his last three games. Badgers coach Bo Ryan said the 6-7 Hayes is a fast learner. Ryan said he's very smart and perceptive on the court.

Hayes made 8 of 12 shots from the floor. Sam Dekker scored 15 and Traevon Jackson 10 for fourth-ranked Wisconsin, which won its seventh straight over Northwestern.

The Badgers out-shot the Wildcats 55 to 39 percent, with a 38-27 rebounding edge. The Wisconsin bench dominated the Wildcats' reserves 32-4.

Wisconsin won its 11th straight Big Ten opener. The Badgers are now 14-0 for the first time since 1914. They can match the school record for their fastest start with a home win on Sunday night against Iowa.

Badger women win in TO

The Badger women defeated Illinois 76-64 in overtime in their Big Ten opener at Champaign, Ill.

Taylor Wurtz, a redshirt senior, led Wisconsin with 27 points and a career-high 19 rebounds. Her 27 points tied her career best.

"I am so proud of this group," said head coach Bobbie Kelsey after the game. "These kids step up. Taylor (Wurtz) was big today, Nicole (Bauman) hit a big shot, they got the ball to Mich (Michala Johnson) on some lobs and she hit some big baskets. It's not one person, it's not one play."

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