The Wisconsin women’s tennis team will face its first test of the season Friday when four players take on an elite talent pool in Cary, N.C., for the Duke Invitational.Juniors Alaina Trgovich and Aleksandra Markovic will join sophomore Hannah Berner and freshman Jenny Hois to represent the Badgers in their fall opener.“The four girls that are going are the girls that have performed the best this fall for our team,” captain Jessica Seyferth said. “It’s a great opportunity for them to get wins over ranked opponents.”The team will look to improve on its 3-7 record last year when the Badgers finished ninth in the Big Ten and were eliminated in the second round of the conference tournament.According to Seyferth, finishing in the top five of the Big Ten is a major goal for Wisconsin heading into the season.While Seyferth added the Badgers were close to achieving this goal last year, it will not come easily, as eight of the Big Ten teams finished the previous season ranked in the top 75.The Duke Invitational will also serve as a chance for the newcomer, Hois, to seek her first collegiate win when she faces Duke’s Rachel Kahan in the singles bracket at 3 p.m. Friday.Despite her inexperience, Seyferth said Hois is a tough competitor who shows great poise on the court and should not let nervousness inhibit her performance.“Playing in such a strong tournament early will gauge where we’re at, where we need to be and what we need to work on for the fall,” Seyferth said.The team’s ability to stay aggressive when closing out games and believe in themselves will be keys to success in the tournament, Seyferth added.UW will face the challenge of rebuilding a young team that features four new freshmen and just one senior.“Everyone works hard already, so I think it’s about pushing ourselves even more and having confidence and trust in each other as a team,” Seyferth said.This year’s Wisconsin team has 11 players, which is larger than teams from the past three seasons. Seyferth said these additional players will give the team more options in its single and doubles lineups, especially in case of injury.The invitational tournaments during the fall season, like Friday’s Duke Invitational, count for individual rankings, but not the team’s overall record. However, strong performances against ranked opponents in these tournaments will improve UW’s reputation for the start of the season in January.Additionally, players from Purdue and Illinois will be represented in Friday’s tournament, so the Badgers can get a glimpse of what they will be facing during Big Ten play.The Duke Invitational will feature five top 25 teams including UNC (3), Northwestern (7), Duke (9), Texas (16) and Illinois (24).Even though the Badgers face highly competitive, ranked competition this weekend, Seyferth said an upset is not out of reach. The Badgers experienced many ranked opponents last year, highlighted by Hannah Berner’s win over Duke.Seyferth will not compete in the Duke Invitational due to injury. She is working to rehabilitate her injured posterior tibial tendon this fall so that she can be fully recovered for the team’s home opener against Green Bay Jan. 16.The Badgers begin their season Friday at the Duke Invitational.
Despite his lower Overall rating, Murray will be a big threat right out of the gate. He has 91 Speed, 92 Acceleration, 90 Agility, 89 Throw Power and 87 Throw on the Run. The second-highest-rated rookie is Ed Oliver of the Bills. He comes in at 79 Overall, ahead of his draft position of 9th. Nick Bosa, selected second by the 49ers, ranks third at 78 Overall.One name rated well above his draft position is Seattle Seahawks wide receiver D.K. Metcalf, who was taken 64th but boasts a 76 Overall rating that ranks him tied for seventh among rookies.Players with impressive physical and athletic attributes have an advantage in ratings, as those have already been demonstrated without having play a single down. At receiver, Metcalf has 95 Speed (second), 94 Jumping (second), 93 Acceleration (third), 80 Stiff Arm (first), 77 Strength (first), and 68 Trucking (first).Others who jumped beyond their slots include Vikings tight end Irv Smith Jr. (taken 50th — 75 Overall) and receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside of the Eagles (drafted 57th — 73 Overall).Marquise “Hollywood” Brown is the fastest rookie with a Speed rating of 97. Metcalf, Mecole Hardman, and Andy Isabella are next at 95.MORE: Patrick Mahomes graces cover of ‘Madden NFL 20’The most disappointing player entering “Madden NFL 20″ is easy to identify. Giants quarterback Daniel Jones was taken sixth overall, but ranks 204th among rookies with a 63 Overall. One of those players is a quarterback who went undrafted. A new ratings system is spreading out the numbers more this year in order to better differentiate player performance on the field. That has been reflected here, as typically in the past the top rookies would start in the low-mid 80s. This year there are numerous first rounders who don’t even crack the 70s.80: Quinnen Williams (NYJ)79: Ed Oliver (BUF)78: Nick Bosa (SF)77: Josh Allen (JAX), Marquise Brown (BAL), T.J. Hockenson (DET)76: Dexter Lawrence (NYG), D.K. Metcalf (SEA)75: Brian Burns (CAR), Irv Smith (MIN), Byron Murphy (ARI), Christian Wilkins (MIA)74: Noah Fant (DEN), Clelin Ferrell (OAK), Josh Jacobs (OAK), N’Keal Harry (NE), Jeffery Simmons (TEN), Jerry Tillery (LAC), Devin White (TB)73: Kyler Murray (ARI), J.J. Arcega Whiteside (PHI), Garrett Bradbury (MIN), Rashan Gary (GB), Montez Sweat (WAS), Greedy Williams (CLE)72: A.J. Brown (TEN), Sean Murphy-Bunting (TB), Devin Bush (PIT), Hakeem Butler (ARI), Dwayne Haskins (WAS), Darrell Henderson (LAR), Trysten Hill (DAL), Andy Isabella (ARI), Darnell Savage (GB), Jace Sternberger (GB), Jachai Polite (NYJ), Miles Sanders (PHI), Devin Singletary (BUF), Jonah Williams (CIN)”Madden NFL 20” releases on July 30 (Superstar Edition for $80) and Aug. 2 (Standard Edition) and includes a new Career Mode featuring some college teams. The Standard Edition of the game is available for just $50.94 through Amazon.Bryan Wiedey posts sports gaming news and analysis daily at Pastapadre.com, is co-founder of the sports gaming site HitThePass.com, hosts the “Press Row Podcast” and can be reached on Twitter @Pastapadre. MORE: ‘Madden’ Russell Wilson looks nothing like real thingRookie quarterbacks have generally been rated lower than other positions that may have easier transitions to the NFL from college. Lower ratings in categories such as Awareness play a big role in that trend. Quarterbacks have to get on the field and prove themselves, but they benefit from playing the position that can produce the most highlights — and stats — to result in a rise in ratings over the course of a season. Kyler Murray was selected No. 1 in the 2019 NFL Draft by the Cardinals, but that isn’t his position as far as rookie ratings go for the upcoming “Madden NFL 20.” The label of “top rookie” instead belongs to the NFL Draft’s third overall pick, Quinnen Williams of the New York Jets, who was given an 80 Overall rating by video game developer EA Sports.In fact, Murray barely cracks the upper tier as he finds himself in a tie for 20th with a 73 Overall rating.