(1) Syracuse vs. (4) Wisconsin Preview
Senior NBA & College Basketball Editor
Follow @Yannis KoutroupisYannis Koutroupis
(1) Syracuse Orange
You would have thought that the Orange lost in the second round based off of the way that people were jumping off the bandwagon. Against Kansas State they showed that there’s still plenty of reason to believe. Yes, they are without talented center Fab Melo, but they have a freshman in Rakeem Christmas who can do some things himself. He was strong, putting up eight points, 11 rebounds and three blocks as the Orange eliminated the Kansas State Wildcats. The Wildcats suffered an unexpected loss prior to the game when they found out that Jamar Samuels was suspended due to his eligibility coming into question. Still, the Orange’s performance demands respect. They held the Wildcats to 31 percent shooting from the field and 23 percent from deep. They did give up far too many offensive rebounds and turn it over 14 times, though, so there are things they’ll need to shore up against the Badgers. It’s important for the Orange to be unselfish and really look play off of each other in the Sweet 16 because you don’t beat the Badgers’ defense by attacking in isolation.
(4) Wisconsin Badgers
The Vanderbilt Commodores’ role players had a fair amount of success against the Badgers’ top-notch defense. They were good enough to stay within a possession of them up until the final buzzer, but in the end the Badgers’ ability to shut down their stars prevented them from taking the lead as they lost 60-57. John Jenkins and Jeffery Taylor shot 7-25 from the field combine. Jenkins had a clean look at a three with six seconds remaining and his team down two, but he couldn’t get it to go. The Badgers demonstrated great balance as five different players scored in double figures for them, nobody topping 14. They did shoot the three excessively, launching it up 33 times while only making 10. That will have to change against the 2-3 zone of Syracuse in the Sweet 16, otherwise their season will be done. They have to attack the weak spots of the zone and refuse to settle for triples.
HOOPSWORLD’s pick: Syracuse. We expect the Badgers to have more trouble scoring against Syracuse’s defense than they will against theirs.
Who do you think is going win? Chime in by leaving a comment below!