By Michael Terrill @MichaelTerrill on March 28, 2014
The Wisconsin Badgers electrified in their crushing win against the Baylor Bears in the Sweet Sixteen on Thursday. At this point, there hasn’t been a more dominant team in the 2014 NCAA men’s basketball tournament than Wisconsin. Of course, they will have their hands full against No. 1 seed Arizona. With that being I said, I fully expect the Badgers to be victorious, and here are five reasons why that will be the case.
The Badgers smothered the Bears on defense to the point where Baylor shot just 31.6 percent from the field. It is that same suffocating defense that will force Arizona to make their shots count. Even though the Wildcats are one of the better shooting teams in college basketball, the Badgers’ ability to get in the face of their opponents is going to challenge every attempt Arizona takes.
One of the reasons why Wisconsin is such a dangerous team is that every player who sees the court has the ability to stretch the defense. When center Frank Kaminsky is knocking down 3-pointers, it makes it very difficult for opponents to defend. The Badgers have sunk 40.3 percent of their shots from beyond the arc in the tournament. If they can do the same against the Wildcats, a Final Four berth is a realistic possibility.
After the win against Baylor, the Wisconsin players talked about their preparation for the Sweet Sixteen. Kaminsky, among others, said that they felt they were overly prepared. It was as if the Badgers knew the plays the Bears were going to run before the plays happened. Bo Ryan and the coaching staff are incredibly efficient. Mix that in with some of the most intelligent players in the country and it becomes a winning factor.
The well-oiled machine that is the Badgers has shown the ability to win in a variety of different ways this season. Wisconsin’s ability to adapt is why they were able to overcome a nail bitter against Oregon. They made the proper adjustments in the second half, which led to the win. The Badgers have been doing that all season. No matter what Arizona throws at them, Wisconsin has the backbone to sustain it and use it to their advantage.
Wisconsin is one of the best passing teams in college basketball. The way they move the ball to create the open shot is a credit to Ryan and the coaching staff. It’s that ball movement that will give the Badgers a huge advantage against the Wildcats in the Elite Eight. Making consecutive passes at lightning speed does create opportunities to score, but it also exhausts the opposing defense. It’s quite clear that’s what happened to Baylor.
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