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February 12, 2012

Rare week off between games for UW

MADISON -- With a full week between the 68-61 victory at Minnesota and Thursday's matchup at Michigan State, Wisconsin has a little extra time to rest up and prepare.

Considering the grind of the basketball season, especially with the physicality of Big Ten play, the players likely are happy to have a little extra time between games.

"My ankles hurt, so sure," said Mike Bruesewitz after Thursday's win. "My whole body is not feeling very good right now, but that's OK. I'm going to go and see Henry (Perez-Guerra, UW athletic trainer) after this and things will be copasetic."

Bruesewitz is not the only member of the UW roster that could benefit from an extra couple days.

In fact, 25 games into the season, there likely is not a player on the roster that would not benefit from extra rest this week.

"Any time you get a couple days off, it's going to help you, especially in the grind of the Big Ten season," said Josh Gasser "We go at it in practice, we go at it in games, so any time you can get a couple days to rest your body -- I've said it before, no one's really 100 percent this time of year -- any time you can get a couple days off to get close to 100 percent and get your body refreshed a little bit, it's definitely going to help."

As far as what exactly they plan to do with the extra time, head coach Bo Ryan made one thing clear.

"Disney World's out," Ryan said after Thursday's win. "I saw (Eli) Manning do that thing by the way."

So, the Badgers won't be taking any trips to warm weather climates this week. But what will they be doing?

Do they plan to use the extra time to get some additional rest? Or will Ryan take advantage of a few extra days to prepare for the Spartans?

"We've still got to work it, we've got a lot of things that we're trying to, a lot of edges to smooth," Ryan said. "We'll give the guys some time. There's some nicks on our team that every team has that we want to get healed up too. We'll take our standard one day off eventually here within the seven days."

The seven-day break is one shy of the Badgers' longest of the season. Wisconsin had an eight-day break during final exams between games against Savannah State and Mississippi Valley State.

Seven days marks UW's longest break during Big Ten play, with the next longest being a couple of five-day breaks. On average, the Badgers have 3.8 days off between conference games, with the shortest break being two days between Wisconsin's trip to Ohio State on Feb. 26 and a home game against Minnesota on Feb. 28.

"If you just think about basketball and our schedule, for our players to get into any kind of routine, meal-wise with the travel, 12:00 game, 6:00 game, 9:00 game on the east coast. It's really hard to get into any kind of routine," Ryan said. "It's not a weekend sport.

"So, I'm only saying that because we have to manage our time and make sure that our guys don't get leg-weary or Doc Meanwell and Knute Rockne said in a book that they wrote about athletic injuries, they talked about 'staleness' quite a bit.

"Where in basketball or a sport that goes over a long period of time, you've got to keep your guys fresh. Possessions in practice, we chart them all the time. And we keep them to a certain number. The number is lower as the season goes further. And that's worked well for us."


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