Wisconsin Badgers Advance to the Sweet 16 — Business As Usual

Dana Altman

How - seriously, how - are the Badgers possibly going to defeat undefeated Kentucky to play in the national championship game?

Ideal brackets: After 33 games in the NCAA tournament, there are 105 flawless brackets left on the major, trackable online games, NCAA.com reported, tracking online brackets from NCAA.com, Bleacher Report, CBS, ESPN, Fox Sports and Yahoo.

Koenig was referring to UW's 61-56 loss to the Irish last season in the Sweet 16 in Philadelphia, a game in which he had a critical turnover with three seconds left and the Badgers trailing by three. They shot 54 percent in the first half to take a four-point lead into intermission.

Villanova, the top overall seed, went 32-3 on the season, won a fourth consecutive Big East championship, and took home the Big East tournament title a week ago. This, after that stunning win over No. 1 Villanova on Saturday, March 18th.

Nigel Hayes hit the big shot because of course he did. Not many teams do.

Bryant McIntosh, who hit the go-ahead free throws in Northwestern's opening-round win, had 20 for the Wildcats and Vic Law had 18 (see full recap). He finished the game with 17 points. There was nothing Villanova could do to stop them but send help.

The Wildcats have a Naismith candidate in Josh Hart, a late-game assassin in Kris Jenkins and a top-five coach in Jay Wright. The Wildcats' only "big" who played off the bench was Eric Paschall, who stands 6-7 himself.

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A clutch layup made from an impossible angle by Wisconsin's Nigel Hayes put the higher seed ahead and the Badgers were able to hang on when Josh Hart - a probably All-American and possible player of the year - forced a drive and layup that was blocked. You've got to be really good and just as lucky as good. At 32-3, the Wildcats dropped two games to Butler, tipped in a game victor at the buzzer to beat Virginia and steadied down the stretch. "You know, not only just that game, but how they've grown and matured and responded as the season has gone on, and they've handled some rough times when we haven't played exceptionally well".

The victim of that crime is Villanova, and now brackets all over the country are busted to bits.

Everything fits together for Greg Gard's team. He missed all eight 3-point attempts in his two games in Buffalo. Touted as a possible repeat champion, Villanova let slip its crown despite leading by seven points with 5:31 remaining in the contest.

MI forward Moritz Wagner (13) celebrates a 73-69 win over Louisville in a second-round game in the mens NCAA college basketball tournament in Indianapolis, Sunday, March 19, 2017. "He's really only a freshman, playing college basketball for one year". The Badgers also advanced to the "Sweet 16" for the fourth straight year and six of the last seven. No. 4 seed Florida (26-8): The Gators used a stingy defense and a 21-0 run to rout Virginia in the second round. No matter who they play, they will have the advantage upfront and the personnel to exploit the mismatch.

Obscured by that loss, however, is the fact that the Badgers have overcome second-half deficits in three of their four NCAA Tournament victories in the last two seasons.

For as great as the game on Saturday was, it was a letdown that it happened in the second round. Instead, the favorite was forced to fight for their lives against an underseeded team who can beat anyone in a one-game scenario.

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