Virginia Tech set for March Madness match-up against Wisconsin
- Author: Jack Replman Mar 17, 2017,
Mar 17, 2017, 1:05
Or from reaching the second round at all. The Badgers lost to MI 71-56 in the finals of the Big Ten Tournament on Sunday.
Wisconsin will begin their 19th-straight NCAA tournament appearance with an opening matchup against Virginia Tech.
"We're for sure not comfortable (with) 'Let's play real slow and walk it up, ' " said Williams.
Indeed, the double-teams came fast and furious at Happ and Hayes as the season progressed.
If Virginia Tech survives Wisconsin - it would be a mild upset according to the tournament seedings, with the Hokies seeded ninth and Wisconsin eighth in the East Region - it would likely face the tournament's top overall seed, Villanova, in the next round.
It's a quick turnaround for UW, which arrived in Buffalo Tuesday, but the late tip will give them that much more time to rest. The first place team in the Big Ten would then go on a terrible 1-5 skid that included losses against three NCAA Tournament teams (as well as Ohio State and Iowa) and resulted in the Badgers missing out on a potential Big Ten title.
"The average-to-poor teams are on spring break", Gard said. Both of them could get you in foul trouble.
On the one hand, there are the good, Dr. Jekyll Cavaliers.
Many projections had the Badgers seeded higher than the eventual eight-seed dealt their way. Tech is dancing for the first time in a decade and chances are it'll be doing so with two left feet.
March was always the same for Greg Gard growing up in Wisconsin. "You get to this point in the year and there aren't any bad ones".
Teams that can push the ball and shoot well - think MI - have bothered Wisconsin all season long, especially of late. We couldn't get them in maroon or orange so we just found white and green so we just stuck with that.
Forward Ethan Happ (No. 22, 6-10, 232, R-SO) plays almost 28 minutes a game and leads Wisconsin in rebounds, assists, steals, blocks, turnovers, almost points, and to be fair, personal fouls.
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Senior forward Zach LeDay leads the Hokies in scoring at 16.3 points per game and in rebounds at 7.4.
Players to watch: G JeQuan Lewis (14.7 ppg); F Justin Tillman (12.4 ppg, 8.8 rpg); F Mo Allie-Cox (9.7 ppg, 4.3 rpg).
"Wisconsin is a different animal, but I think that's an animal that Virginia Tech can handle", Bonner said.
"We went through that five, six-game skid and the (Big Ten) tournament was a clean slate for us", Brown said. Meanwhile, the Badgers' plus-6.3 rebounding margin is 21st.
Playing against teams that like to run is nothing new for the Badgers. "If we can get those three components together in the (NCAA tournament), where there's less familiarity, it's even better". Bronson Koenig's 115 points ranks fifth.
Finally, there's the matter of doing a better job the closer the Badgers get to the basket. The slate is wiped clean and lasting impressions of a team are formed based on the final few weeks of the season.
David vs. Goliath, (ok, Wisconsin wasn't quite David, but 38-0 Kentucky was absolutely a Goliath), this was the rematch everyone had been waiting for. Wisconsin has 11 NCAA tourney wins over the previous three seasons, more than any other team in the country.