FanShot

Badgers' home court advantage partly due to strange balls

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Wisconsin is the only program from the six major conferences that uses a Sterling basketball. When Bo Ryan was the coach at Division III Wisconsin-Platteville, Sterling provided him with camp basketballs. Since he took over as the Badgers’ coach in 2001, Ryan has stayed loyal to the company, based in Puyallup, Wash. Players and coaches from the Big Ten gripe about the Sterling basketballs, citing them as one of the challenges of playing at Kohl Center in Madison. It is perhaps no coincidence, then, that the Badgers have a 91.7 winning percentage at Kohl Center under Ryan. For his part, Ryan dismissed the idea that the basketballs played a role in helping to build the impressive home record. "I’m a Nike guy, so if there was a uniform ball, I’d want it to be Nike," Marquette Coach Buzz Williams said. "That’s how my kids get Christmas presents, so, yeah, I want to use Nike."

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