Preview: No.12 Ole Miss vs. No.5 Wisconsin

For the 15th straight season, Wisconsin basketball is playing in the NCAA tournament. The Badgers will look to advance to a second game for the seventh straight season when fifth-seed UW plays 12th-seed Ole Miss Friday morning in Kansas City, Mo.

No.12 Ole Miss (26-8, 12-6 SEC) vs. No.5 Wisconsin (23-11, 12-6 Big Ten)

Date/Time -Friday, March 22, 11:40 a.m. Central

Arena –Sprint Center (18,972)

Television - TruTV (Marv Albert, Steve Kerr and Craig Sager)

Radio - Wisconsin Radio Network (Matt Lepay and Mike Lucas)

Series – First meeting

Wisconsin Probable Starters

1 Ben Brust (6-1 Junior Guard, 11.2 ppg)

5 Ryan Evans (6-6 Senior Forward, 10.2 ppg)

12 Traevon Jackson (6-2 Sophomore Guard, 6.9 ppg)

31 Mike Bruesewitz (6-6 Senior Forward, 6.5 ppg)

40 Jared Berggren (6-10 Senior Forward, 11.1 ppg)

Off the Bench

3 George Marshall (5-11 Freshman Guard, 4.2 ppg)

15 Sam Dekker (6-7 Freshman Forward, 9.4 ppg)

44 Frank Kaminsky (6-11 Sophomore Forward, 4.2 ppg)

Ole Miss Probable Starters

3 Derrick Millinghaus (5-10 Freshman Guard, 5.6 ppg)

20 Nick Williams (6-4 Senior Guard, 8.1 ppg)

22 Marshall Henderson (6-2 Junior Guard, 20.1 ppg)

23 Reginald Buckner (6-9 Senior Forward, 9.5 ppg)

31 Murphy Holloway (6-7 Senior Forward 14.6 ppg)

Off the Bench

10 Ladarius White (6-6 Sophomore Guard, 6.5 ppg)

32 Jarvis Summers (6-3 Sophomore Guard, 9.2 ppg)

Last Time Out

CHICAGO (BadgerNation) -The improbable conference run finally ended for the University of Wisconsin.

After going toe-to-toe with some of the best teams in the conference, let alone in the country, No.22 Wisconsin finally ran out of steam, as No.10 Ohio State used a late run to win its fourth tournament championship with a 50-41 victory Sunday afternoon.

Wisconsin (23-11) fell to 2-3 in title games, which includes a 66-49 setback to Ohio State the last time the Big Ten Tournament was held at the United Center.

After shooting about 50 percent for three straight halves in the conference tournament, the Badgers shot only 38.3 percent from the floor, including 16.7 percent (3-for-18) from 3-point range, and only Traevon Jackson (10 points) reached double figures for Wisconsin.

"Ohio State defensively is a tough team because they read and react and they help and recover," said UW coach Bo Ryan. "They are long and athletic. They made it difficult for us to get the looks that we always like to have. That's why they call it defense.

"How do you hold a team 1-for-16, like we did against them, from 3-point range? I thought we did an excellent job that way. We just needed to get a few more at the other end."

After each team won a decisive victory on its home court during the regular season, it was only fitting that neither team led by more than two points through the first 15:29 of the second half. That changed after Sam Dekker's reverse layup gave the Badgers a 41-39 lead with 7:03 remaining. That turned out to be the last field goal the Badgers made in the Windy City.

Watching Ohio State close the game on an 11-2 run, the Badgers final 10 possessions included 0-for-6 from the floor, 0-for-3 from 3-point range, two turnovers and one missed free throw on the front end of the bonus. The only points Wisconsin got was two free throws from Jackson.

With Wisconsin cold, Ohio State went on an 8-0 run that was punctuated by LaQuinton Ross scoring consecutive points in the paint. A day after UW's 30 points in the paint set up its win over Indiana, the Buckeyes held Wisconsin to only 22 points.

Series Notes

Wisconsin is 23-16 all-time against members of the SEC. The Badgers played a pair of SEC foes this season in non-conference play, losing at Florida, 74-56, and beating Arkansas, 77-70, in the Las Vegas Invitational.

The Badgers defeated SEC member Vanderbilt, 60-57, in the third round of the 2012 NCAA Tournament.

Ole Miss owns a 6-8 all-time record against current members of the Big Ten Conference and is riding a two-game winning streak having knocked off Penn State in 2010 and `11. The Rebels have played eight of the 12 teams in the league. They have never faced Iowa, Northwestern, Purdue or Wisconsin. They have faced one member of the Big 10 in the NCAA Tournament, falling to Michigan State 74-66 in 1999.

NCAA Tournament Notes

UW will make its 19th appearance in the NCAA tournament. The Badgers are 25-17 (.595) all-time in the Big Dance, advancing to the 2000 Final Four and winning the 1941 NCAA title. Wisconsin has qualified for each of the last 15 consecutive NCAA tournaments, the 4th-longest active streak in the country and it ties as the 7th-longest in NCAA history.

The Badgers have been to the NCAA tournament in each of Bo Ryan's 12 seasons at Wisconsin. In Ryan's first 11 NCAA tournament appearances, UW owns a 16-11 record and has advanced to five Sweet 16s and an Elite Eight in 2005.

The Rebels are making their seventh appearance in the Big Dance and sport a 3-6 mark in the NCAA Tournament. Ole Miss' last appearance came in 2002 in the West Region in Pittsburgh, where the Rebels dropped an opening round game to UCLA. The five other appearances came in 1981, 1997, 1998, 1999 and 2001.

While Ole Miss is playing in just its seventh NCAA Tournament in school history, three of those appearances have included a trip to Kansas City. The Rebels opened the 2001 NCAA Tournament in Kansas City, winning the first two rounds against Iona and Notre Dame en route to the school's only Sweet Sixteen appearance.

Wisconsin Notes

During conference play, UW led the Big Ten in scoring defense (55.8 ppg), FG percent defense (.389), 3-point FG percent defense (.281) and defensive rebounding percentage (.730).

The Badgers have won 23 games in 2012-13, the 9th-highest single-season win total in school history. Bo Ryan-led teams own each of the top 9 spots in the UW record book for single-season wins.

Ryan owns the best winning percentage in Big Ten history at 70.8 percent, but his teams seem to get even better late in the year. In regular season games played on Feb. 1 or later, Ryan's teams have gone 80-28 (.741) over his 12 seasons. That includes a mark of 7-3 this year.

T\he Badgers have won at least 19 games every season and have never finished lower than 4th place in the conference standings. That is the 2nd-longest streak in Big Ten history, trailing only Purdue's streak of 13 consecutive top-4 finishes from 1920-32.

Ole Miss Notes

The Rebels have notched 20 wins for the sixth time in seven seasons under Andy Kennedy. Ole Miss had seven 20-win campaigns in the 96 seasons prior to Kennedy's arrival in Oxford. He is the fifth coach in SEC history to guide his teams to 20+ wins in six of his first seven seasons in the league.

While this may be Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy's first NCAA appearance as a head coach, he made five trips to the Big Dance as an assistant - four at Cincinnati and one at UAB - and two trips as a player.

Ole Miss rates highly in the latest NCAA national stats (games through March 14), as the Rebels rank 10th in the nation in scoring (77.9 ppg) and in turnover margin (+4.2), 22nd in block shots (5.1 pg), 24th in scoring margin (+10.6), 31st in steals (8.4 pg) and 36th in turnovers (11.4 pg).

Holloway has become Ole Miss' all-time rebounding leader with 1,071 career boards. Holloway is the SEC active career leader in rebounds and double-doubles, ranks second in steals and third in points. He ranks first in the conference and 24th in the nation in rebounding at 9.6 rpg. Holloway became only the 21st player in SEC history to score at least 1,400 points and pull down 1,000 boards in their career, a list that includes Shaquille O'Neal. With 10 more steals, Holloway would become the first player in SEC history with 1,400 points, 1,000 rebounds and 200 steals in a career.

Ole Miss is 18-1 this season when it forces 15-plus turnovers and just 8-7 when it forces fewer than 15. The Rebels are 23-4 this season when they have the same or less TOs than the opponent and 3-4 when turning the ball over more than their opponent.

Ole Miss has been particularity stingy on defense this season as the Rebels rank second in the league and 22nd in the nation in blocks (5.1 bpg), third in the SEC and 31st in the NCAA steals (8.4 spg). Ole Miss has forced 529 turnovers this season and is second in the league forcing an average of 15.6 turnovers per game, and currently ranks second in the SEC and 10th in the nation in turnover margin at +4.2.


In the eyes of Berggren, the identity of a Bo Ryan coached team is a squad that is going to be consistent, work hard, stick to their principles and play as a team.

"There is no individual that is going to have big ego or do too much by themselves," said Berggren. "Everyone is playing for each other and playing for the team. We're just going to work hard, persevere and never get too high or too low."

Wisconsin has been accustomed to having a good balance with its approach heading into the tournament. With two Sweet 16 appearances the last two seasons, seniors Berggren and Bruesewitz admit that experience definitely plays a role for Wisconsin; knowing what to expect with the pomp and circumstances surrounding the national tournament and having a taste of success.

"Just the vibe and the feel of it is something special that you don't understand until you are a part of it," said Berggren. "There's something to be said for experience."

The big key for Wisconsin in this tournament is to run its offense, attack the paint and make shots consistently. In the conference tournament, Wisconsin had one of its worst halves of basketball in the first half against Michigan (17.4 percent), shot over 50 percent the next three halves and finished in the title game shooting less than 40 percent each half.

Consistency would be nice if the Badgers want to make a run, but defensive consistency is a must if UW wants to make is first Final four in 13 years. That's been prevalent throughout conference play, as the Badgers have held 15 of its last 21 opponents below 60 points.

"If we can play defense, we can win games when we aren't shooting well," said Brust. "When the shots are falling, we're a tough team to beat."

Still, Wisconsin is taking nothing for granted. Brust pointed out that the number one team in the nation lost five straight weeks, and has a feeling that is going to carry over into the national tournament.

"Just because we are a higher seed, by no means is it going to be an easy win," added Berggren. "It's March madness. You see all the upsets every year. You can't take anything for granted. We've got to come out and play our best 40 minutes of basketball. That's our goal every time we step on the floor. It's important for us to exert our will on them and go out there and get the job done."

Over the last six years, Wisconsin has got it done. The Badgers have won six straight opening-round games and done so by an average of 12.0 points per game, including last season's 73-49 win over No. 12 Montana.

In UW's six straight opening-game wins, opponents have scored an average of 55.7 points per game. The last opening-round opponent to score more than 60 points against the Badgers was Texas A&M Corpus Christi in 2007 (63 points).

I like Wisconsin to go far in this tournament; I like Wisconsin to shut down Marshall Henderson and I like the Badgers by 10 points.

Worgull's Record: 21-13

Points off Prediction: 402 (11.82 per game)

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