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Buckeyes say they respect but can't stand Badgers

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Buckeyes say they respect but can't stand Badgers

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) It used to be that Ohio State players despised their longtime enemies to the North, Michigan, and abided everyone else on their schedule.

No more.

Now the Buckeyes also have a special level of dislike for the Wisconsin Badgers.

``I don't want to go on record saying that I hate Wisconsin more than Michigan,'' Buckeyes wide receiver Corey Brown said, ``but I hate Wisconsin just as much as Michigan.''

A lot of that enmity will likely bubble to the surface when the sixth-ranked and unbeaten Buckeyes travel to play the Badgers at Camp Randall Stadium on Saturday.

Blame the antagonism on chippy, close, contentious games the past few years. Each side says the other's fans are obnoxious. Both have accused each other of grandstanding after victories, such as dancing on the opposing team's logo at midfield after a rare road win.

Along the way, they've worked up a heated little rivalry where once there was none.

This year's edition began during the middle of the winter. Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema alleged that Ohio State's Urban Meyer was swooping in and stealing verbal commitments. Both coaches downplay it now. At the time it seemed like a natural extension of the battles that have been taking place on the field.

``We do a lot of recruiting in Ohio. So the kids know each other,'' Bielema said of the rivalry this week. ``That builds up a little bit of animosity and some feelings out there more than anything. I've learned early on in my coaching career you lose more friends in recruiting in the coaching world than you do on game days.''

The Badgers have three starters from the Buckeye state, including star linebacker Chris Borland (second in tackles and first in sacks and fumbles recovered), along with tight end Brian Wozniak and defensive lineman Pat Muldoon. Chase Hammond is a backup wide receiver and Darius Hilary is a second-teamer at cornerback as a freshman.

Once just a blip on the schedule, now the game's recent history raises the rancor on both sides.

The Buckeyes won every meeting between 1960 and 1980, and have a 54-17-5 lead in the series. That mark does not count one of the most painful losses ever to the Badgers. Two years ago, the last time the Buckeyes visited America's Dairyland, Ohio State was 6-0 and ranked No. 1 in the nation but David Gilreath returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown and the Buckeyes fell behind 21-3 at the half on the way to a 31-18 loss to the No. 18 Badgers. (Ohio State had to vacate the 2010 season as part of NCAA sanctions for violations committed under deposed coach Jim Tressel.)

``I continually think about when we were ranked No. 1 a couple of years ago going into their house,'' Ohio State cornerback Travis Howard said. ``They took that away. A lot of guys on the team, especially the seniors, are continually thinking about that moment and don't want it to happen again - especially with the perfect season we're having.''

Meyer is in his first year at Ohio State as head coach, but has a sense of the emotional tug of war between the teams.

``I'm learning about it. I think they stole a season,'' he said, referring to the 2010 upset. ``(The Ohio State players) were telling me that story a little bit. It's interesting hearing our players talk about it. This is a rivalry game because you have to understand who you're playing and what they've done the last few years.''

If you're looking for omens, the week before that Ohio State team's perfect season was ended, undefeated Alabama was No. 1 and was upset - just as it was a week ago by Texas A&M.

Just last year, the Buckeyes broke the Badgers' hearts. Quarterback Braxton Miller danced around to avoid a rush and heaved a 40-yard touchdown pass to Devin Smith with 20 seconds remaining to upset No. 15 Wisconsin, 33-29, in Ohio Stadium.

``It comes up a lot in the players' minds,'' said Wisconsin's record-setting running back, Montee Ball. ``That was a game we felt we could have won and we didn't. We just tell everybody that same thing can happen if we don't go out and execute the way we want to. And way we plan to.''

Ohio State has won six of the last 11 meetings and holds a narrow 239-231 edge in points over that span.

Don't expect either side to exchange air-kisses before or after the game.

``I really don't like them, to tell you the truth,'' Buckeyes defensive lineman Johnathan Hankins said. ``I'm sure they probably hate us too, but I really don't care what they think.''

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Follow Rusty Miller on Twitter:http://www.twitter.com/rustymillerap

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Warriors will visit D.C. kids instead of White House when they play Wizards

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Warriors will visit D.C. kids instead of White House when they play Wizards

Instead of visiting the White House when they come to Washington this week to play the Wizards, the defending-champion Golden State Warriors plan to hold an event with D.C.-area kids.

Their invitation was rescinded by president Donald Trump following a back-and-forth between the two sides last year. After the Warriors won the title, they openly questioned whether they should follow the tradition given many of the players and coaches disagree with his policies. Trump took the opportunity away before they came to a final decision.

PODCAST: WIZARDS MAKE A FREE AGENT SIGNING

The Warriors' event will be closed off to the media and held at an undisclosed location. It is set for Tuesday, the day before they play the Wizards at Capital One Arena. The Warriors had the option of holding a ceremony with other politicians in the Democratic party, but decided that would send the wrong message. 

"It's their championship. They got disinvited to the White House, so it's up to them what they wanted to do. So they made their plans," coach Steve Kerr said. "I want the players to have a good day and to do something positive and to enjoy what they're doing."

The Warriors are the first NBA team to make this choice since Trump was elected president. Last season, the Cleveland Cavaliers held their celebration with president Barack Obama in November. They did so just days after Trump was elected and LeBron James questioned at the time whether he would visit the White House with Trump in office.

RELATED: DURANT MAKES HUGE DONATION TO PG COUNTY SCHOOLS

Sports teams visiting the White House goes back to the mid-1800s. The first World Series title team to visit was the 1924 Washington Senators. By the 1960s, NBA teams were going and by the 1980s NFL and NHL teams made it a tradition.

Entire teams snubbing the White House is unusual, but many players have turned down the opportunity. In the NBA, some famous cases include Larry Bird in 1984 and Michael Jordan in 1991, according to Rolling Stone.

Perhaps the Warriors start a trend, or maybe it will be a one-off thing. Regardless, the alternative they chose is a respectable one. 

RELATED: LATEST NBA POWER RANKINGS

 

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Game 62: Capitals vs. Sabres Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

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USA TODAY Sports

Game 62: Capitals vs. Sabres Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Buffalo Sabres

Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.

When: 7:00 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Sabres will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can watch the Capitals-Sabres game on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page.

WHEN IS THE CAPITALS-SABRES GAME?

The Capitals (34-20-7) take on the Sabres (18-32-11) Saturday, February 24 at 7:00 p.m. ET in Capital One Arena.

WHAT CHANNEL IS THE CAPITALS-SABRES GAME ON?

The Capitals-Sabres game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. Coverage kicks off with Capitals FaceOff at 6:00 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 6:30 p.m. Stay with NBC Sports Washington for Caps Extra following the game, Caps Overtime at 10:00 p.m. and Caps in 30 at 11:00 p.m. for all your postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

6:00 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
6:30 p.m. — Caps GameTime
7:00 p.m. — Capitals vs. Sabres
9:30 p.m. — Caps Extra
10:00 p.m. — Caps Overtime
11:00 p.m. — Caps in 30

WHAT ARE THE PROJECTED LINES FOR THE CAPITALS-SABRES GAME?

Here are the projected lines for the Caps-Sabres game:

Forwards
Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - Tom Wilson
Jakub Vrana - Evgeny Kuznetsov - T.J. Oshie
Brett Connolly - Lars Eller - Andre Burakovsky
Chandler Stephenson - Jay Beagle - Devante Smith-Pelly

Defensemen
Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Christian Djoos - John Carlson
Michal Kempny - Brooks Orpik

Braden Holtby starts with Philipp Grubauer as backup

Scratches: Alex Chiasson, Madison Bowey, Jakub Jerabek

WHERE CAN I STREAM THE CAPITALS-SABRES GAME?

The Capitals-Panthers game, as well as Caps GameTime and Caps Extra, is available to stream live here through NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and is available to authenticated NBC Sports Washington subscribers on desktops, tablets, mobile devices and connected TVs anywhere in the United States.

CAPITALS-SABRES OPEN THREAD

Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals correspondent JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.