Assessing Wisconsin’s Tournament Chances

After a 1-1 showing at the Big Ten Tournament, the Wisconsin Badgers will travel south to Albuquerque, New Mexico as the fourth seed in the East region.

Everyone in the country knows what the Badgers are going to do.  It is certain that Bo Ryan will not be taking any secrets into the NCAA tournament.

The Badgers will take on the Big Sky Champion Montana Grizzlies in the second round.  In order for the Badgers to advance they must end the Grizzlies’ fourteen-game winning streak.  Here are some keys for the Badgers:

Exploit the Grizzlies’ lack of depth by making them defend for a full thirty seconds – Montana’s starting five each play over twenty-five minutes per game and they only have two other players that average over eight minutes per contest.  If the Badgers wear down the Grizzlies and force head coach Wayne Tinkle to go to his bench, Bo Ryan’s crew should be especially effective.

Limit the Montana backcourt – The interesting matchup in this game will come at the guard position, as Jordan Taylor and Josh Gassar (eleven points per contest and a two assist-to-turnover ratio) will face Will Cherry and Kareem Jamar (fifteen points per game and a one and a half assist to turnover ratio) of Montana.  It will be key for the Badger guards to limit Cherry and Jamar because they account for forty-two percent of the Grizzlies points this season.

Do what they do best – The Badgers must continue to play their brand of basketball if they are to be successful.  They must force turnovers, play tough defense, and slow the tempo of the game.  The Badgers commit only nine turnovers a game to Montana’s thirteen.  The Grizzlies shoot forty-seven percent from the field, while the Badgers only give up thirty-eight percent.

This should be a very interesting game, as Montana is no second round pushover.

My prediction: A close game ends with Wisconsin puling away late.  Wisconsin 55 Montana 49.

Tip is scheduled for Thursday at 1:10 central time on TNT.

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