Wisconsin Provides That Pick-me-up

Wisconsin March Madness Day 3 Pick-me-up

Lesson learned: Never spout off to the gods of March Madness. On the contrary, maybe that helped.

(It didn’t.)

Regardless of your feelings on the Big 10, we can all admit Wisconsin was under-seeded. We can also admit that their season, mainly the tail-end of it, didn’t go smoothly. Their season-long shooting struggles eventually caught up with them, and from February 12 to March 2 Wisconsin lost five of six. This stretch would include losses against lackluster sides like Ohio State and Iowa. 10 days later, they got rolled by Michigan in the Big 10 Championship game.

Simply put, this wasn’t the Wisconsin Badgers team we had grown accustomed to over the past three seasons. For obvious reasons, of course, but disappointing nonetheless. But an 8-seed? Come on, selection committee. Even taking Wisconsin’s struggles ahead of the tournament into account, you did Villanova no favors. Perhaps they could have swapped the Badgers and Minnesota, I don’t know.

But also, Villanova had been relatively untested over the past couple months or so. Through no fault of their own, the Wildcats took on underwhelming team after underwhelming team down the stretch—Butler being an exception. Then, they had to prepare for a second-round matchup against a team that has dazzled in the NCAA Tournament in recent years. A team that recently, seems to play their best basketball when it matters most. That’s what happened Saturday.

What happens next?

That’s not all…

  • I laughed when I saw Maryland was a 6-seed, and knew Xavier would prevail. And while Florida State didn’t convince me as a 3-seed, I certainly didn’t expect Xavier to cruise by 25 points. Were they under-seeded too, or was it just one of those days?
  • Gonzaga was this close to their patented tournament disappointment. Then the officials stepped in, swinging the game irreversibly back in the Bulldogs favor. But hey, at least they admitted to making a mistake, right? Surely that makes it all better, considering they punished the team on the court after making said mistake. It’s fine.
  • Butler is arguably the strongest 4-seed in the tournament (I’d say West Virginia), but there was no more dangerous 12-seed than Middle Tennessee. But the Bulldogs prevailed, and even if they have to take on North Carolina, I’d fancy their chances.
  • I don’t know how Purdue let Iowa State back into the game on Saturday. But more importantly, what the hell happened to Virginia against Florida? Two of the best by adjusted defensive efficiency (Virginia 2nd, Florida 3rd), the Gators held the Cavaliers to just 39 points, setting up a matchup with the Badgers. I surely cannot wait for all of the lazy analysis, the constant use of the word “boring.” Well at least for the Badgers, anyway. People still haven’t learned.

Predictions…

  • Wichita State will make it a game this afternoon, but Kentucky will prevail.
  • Rhode Island is winning tonight.
  • I don’t trust Baylor. At all.
  • Cincinnati was easily the most dangerous 6-seed in the tournament; arguably under-seeded. And, UCLA is going to be in for far more than they bargained for this evening.

[FBW]
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