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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Badgers knock off Bruins

 

What a difference a week makes.

Six days after being knocked out of the first round of the Big Ten Conference tournament by Penn State, 36-33, Bo Ryan’s Wisconsin Badgers advanced to the NCAA Tournament round of 32 by beating Belmont University 72-58 Thursday.

“”We were just excited to get back on the floor,”” junior guard Jordan Taylor said. “”As you can see, guys were ready to relish this challenge of knocking down shots and we had a number of guys do that today.””

The victory is Wisconsin’s fifth straight victory to open an NCAA Tournament, and the Badgers’ 13th straight tournament appearance – and 10th under Ryan.

Senior forward Jon Leuer scored 22 points to lead the Badgers while also grabbing seven rebounds. Taylor scored 21 while shooting 5-of-9 from three-point range.

Forward Mick Hedgepeth scored 17 to pace the fourteenth-seeded Bruins, who are now 0-and-4 in NCAA Tournament appearances.

The game got out to a painfully slow start reminiscent of Wisconsin’s latest snooze-fest in the Big 10 tournament, with the Badgers leading 8-7 with a little over 11 minutes left to play in the first half.

Then Taylor caught fire, leading the Badgers to a 34-27 halftime lead.

After the break, Belmont got the Wisconsin lead down to four points before the Badgers went on a 13-1 run to end Belmont’s hope of pulling off the second upset of a four seed on Thursday.

Would Arizona beat Wisconsin?

Yes.

Even though Wisconsin is a big team, it isn’t overly athletic or skilled. Outside of Taylor, who has to be contained if anyone wants a shot at knocking off the Badgers, Wisconsin doesn’t bring anyone else to the table that is a consistent producer. Leuer can be productive at times, but he also disappears for stretches in games.

Arizona has enough size at the wing positions to match up well with the Badgers, and as long as Derrick Williams can avoid foul trouble and Kyryl Natyazhko can be a productive defender like he was against USC, the Wildcats should be able to counter Wisconsin’s size in a potential showdown in the national championship game

 

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