By Michael Terrill @MichaelTerrill on April 3, 2014
The Wisconsin Badgers reached the Final Four on the back of Frank Kaminsky. That’s not to say that the rest of the team can’t hold their own, but it is saying that several players do need to improve their game. No one, with the exception of Kaminsky, has played up to their capabilities. The Badgers are a far better team than what they've shown, which should concern the Kentucky Wildcats.
Freshman sixth man Nigel Hayes will be playing in what just might be the biggest game he ever will suit up for at Wisconsin. The Wildcats are expected to double-team Kaminsky, which means he could fall into foul trouble early. If that happens, Hayes will have to step up and be productive off the bench, just as he did against Baylor. No matter what happens, Hayes has to be explosive when he’s on the court.
The senior sharpshooter has done everything in his power to give Bo Ryan a Final Four berth before his playing days are over. Ben Brust wants to go out a champion. A Final Four appearance is nice, but he wants a national championship on his record. He will need to bring the heat from beyond the arc, something he’s done all tournament. In fact, he’s shooting 52.2 percent from 3-point range in the last four games.
Traevon Jackson has hit some clutch shots in his career at Wisconsin. He may need at least two more if the Badgers want to see their dream of winning it all become a reality. The hype is on Kaminsky, but Jackson has been outstanding in the tournament as well. His ability to break to the basket and pull defenders on to him will be key if Wisconsin wants to defeat Kentucky.
Sam Dekker has been very quiet in the tournament. However, it’s not the worst thing in the world because the Badgers have been able to win without one of its stars playing at his best. The hope is that Dekker will use the Final Four to break out of his shell and put forth a performance that the Wildcats aren’t expecting.
Kaminsky is playing on a different level than almost every other player in the Final Four. It’s hard to imagine the Badgers winning without him having another stellar game, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. With all of the attention on Kaminsky, Wisconsin’s other talented players will have a good opportunity to step up and make a difference. Either way, Kaminsky’s presence must be known in order for the Badgers to win.
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