Breakdown: No.8 Oregon vs. No.1 Wisconsin

After taking care of business against Coastal Carolina Friday, top-seeded Wisconsin matches up with eighth-seed Oregon for the right to advance to the Sweet 16 in Los Angeles on Thursday. BadgerNation breaks down the matchup.

No.8 Oregon (26-9, 13-5 Pac 12) vs. No.1 Wisconsin (32-3, 16-2 Big Ten)

Date/Time -Sunday, March 22, 6:45 p.m. Central

Arena – CenturyLink Center (17,630) - Omaha, Nebraska

Television -truTV (Marv Albert, Len Elmore, Chris Webber)

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

National Radio - Wisconsin Radio Network (Kevin Kugler and Will Perdue)

Series – Wisconsin leads 4-2 (Wisconsin leads 3-2 on neutral courts)

Last Meeting – Wisconsin won, 85-77, on March 22, 2014 in Milwaukee

Wisconsin Probable Starters

10 Nigel Hayes (6-8 Sophomore Forward, 12.5 ppg)

15 Sam Dekker (6-9 Junior Forward, 13.2 ppg)

21 Josh Gasser (6-4 Senior Guard, 6.9 ppg)

24 Bronson Koenig (6-4 Sophomore Guard, 8.5 ppg)

44 Frank Kaminsky (7-0 Senior Forward, 18.4 ppg)

Off the Bench

3 Zak Showalter (6-2 Sophomore Guard, 2.0 ppg)

13 Duje Dukan (6-10 Senior Forward, 5.0 ppg)

30 Vitto Brown (6-8 Sophomore Forward, 1.9 ppg)

Oregon Probable Starters

1 Jordan Bell (6-9 Freshman Forward, 5.0 ppg)

3 Joseph Young (6-2 Senior Guard, 20.4 ppg)

15 Jalil Abdul-Bassit (6-4 Senior Guard, 8.1 ppg)

23 Elgin Cook (6-6 Junior Forward, 13.2 ppg)

24 Dillon Brooks (6-6 Freshman Forward, 11.7 ppg)

Off the Bench

0 Dwayne Benjamin (6-7 Junior Forward, 8.5 ppg)

2 Casey Benson (6-3 Freshman Guard, 3.6 ppg)

14 Ahmaad Rorie (6-1 Freshman Guard, 4.2 ppg)

25 Michael Chandler (6-10 Junior Center 2.2 ppg)

Last Meeting

MILWAUKEE - Battered and beaten by Oregon’s style in the first 20 minutes, second-seeded Wisconsin recovered in the nick of time for an 85-77 victory at the Bradley Center Saturday night, its biggest comeback win of the season.

Kaminsky (19 points), Traevon Jackson (16), Josh Gasser (13), Ben Brust (12) and Sam Dekker (12) were all in double figures for Wisconsin (28-7), who shot 48.4 percent in the second half and 43.8 percent (7-16) from 3-point range.

Those numbers were built up by the foundation the Badgers created in the first 6:30, scoring on their first seven possessions and pounding the paint. It started with Jackson registered the old-fashioned three-point play and continued with Kaminsky on consecutive possessions, a two-pointer from Gasser and then a three from Gasser after Dekker drove into the lane.

Once lifeless and out-of-sorts, Wisconsin was within 55-54 and the energy was back in the building, which Gasser helped ignite with one simple emphatic point to some of the 18,206 fans in the partisan crowd screaming in the upper deck rafters as he raced toward the timeout huddle.

“The crowd was awesome,” said Gasser. “At that moment, you know, we were obviously struggling then, down by double digits. Just to see the will of the crowd had, the energy they had for us, doing whatever they could to help us out.”

Wisconsin associate head coach Greg Gard crunched the numbers in the jubilant locker room and could only smile. The Badgers – long known as a plodding, deliberant offense – scored 24 points on its first 11 possessions of the second half and 48 on 30 second-half possessions altogether.

Those points couldn’t have been more timely. UW’s outburst out of the locker orchestrating a 17-6 run to cut the lead to one by the first media timeout, and scored 27 points on 13 possessions to eventually play with a lead for long stretches of the second half.

- Benjamin Worgull, BadgerNation.com

Last Time Out

OMAHA, Neb. - Frank Kaminsky, Sam Dekker and Nigel Hayes combined to score 62 points, grab 22 rebounds, delivered nine assists, hit eight 3-pointers and make four 3-point plays, easily setting the tone for the Badgers 86-72 victory over the Chanticleers in the NCAA tournament second round.

Kaminsky finished with a game-high 27 points and 12 rebounds, Dekker had 20 and Hayes had 15 and 8 for Wisconsin (32-3), which set a new program record for single season wins, improved the Badgers to 12-2 in their first NCAA tournament game under Coach Bo Ryan and kept No.1 seeds 124-0 against No.16 seeds in the tournament’s history.

With a distinct size advantage across the board, Wisconsin led by 15 at halftime, as many 24 in the second half and were rarely threatened after a first half in which it shot 54.8 percent, scored 40 points on its final 21 possessions, went 8 of 17 from 3-point range, had only two turnovers in 27 possessions and averaged over 1.7 points per possession.

And to really be bullies, Wisconsin’s bigs did a good portion of its damage from the perimeter, especially Dekker. Entering the game 4 of 25 from 3-point range in his last eight games, Dekker went 3-for-6 in the first half and scored 13 of his points.

All three of UW’s frontcourt starters were in double figures by the break, as Hayes had 13 points and eight rebounds (seven on the offensive glass) and Kaminsky had 12 after hitting a 3-pointer from the wing before the halftime buzzer. The trio combined to go 6 of 11 from 3-point range in the first half.

Coastal Carolina (24-10) – the Big South champions - were ahead of 5-4 and 8-7, but the Badgers’ size soon took over. Starting with Kaminsky’s bucket in the paint, Wisconsin went on a 15-4 run with a combination of post touches and perimeter jumpers.

After the two teams mostly matched one another possession for possession, Wisconsin closed the half on a 19-4 run with 3-pointers, free throws and points in the paint. UW’s and Hayes’ low-post dominance were on display in a three possession span.

After hustling for two offensive rebounds that eventually set up a Koenig 3-pointer, and a double-digit lead for the remainder of the game, Hayes registered a steal and drew a foul and then grabbed three offensive rebounds – twice rebounding his own miss – before registered a two-point put back.

From that point forward, it was all Wisconsin.

Series Notes

Wisconsin is 26-31 against teams currently in the Pac 12, but have won the last six meetings against the conference.

The Badgers are 4-2 against the Pac 12 in the postseason, including 4-1 in the NCAA tournament.

Wisconsin Notes

The Badgers have advanced to the Sweet 16 or further in 3 of the last 4 years and 6 times overall under Bo Ryan.

Wisconsin has won eight of its last nine opening round games and is 12-2 in NCAA openers under Bo Ryan overall.

Bo Ryan improves to 21-13 in NCAA Tournament games. He is now 353-124 in 14 seasons at UW and 736-227 in 31 years overall.

The 86 points were UW’s second-highest total for an NCAA Tournament game.

Oregon Notes

After losing to Ole Miss on Dec. 8, Oregon’s RPI was 161. Entering Pac-12 play, it was 114. After getting swept in Washington in mid-January to fall to 12-6, it was 92. But after ripping off 11 wins in its final 13 games, including a run to the Pac-12 Tournament Championship game, the Ducks’ RPI stands at No. 26.

Young became just the second Duck to score 700 points in a season when he reached that Friday against Oklahoma State (now with 715). Terrell Brandon in the other (745). Young is the fourth Oregon player to be named the conference’s player of the year.

Oregon is 23-0 when shooting better from the field than the opponent, and 3-9 when being outshot. More telling is that the Ducks are undefeated (17-0) when holding the opposition below 70 points.

Oregon’s freshmen are accounting for 35 percent of the team’s scoring (26.2 points per game), 40 percent of the total rebounds (14.7 rpg), 50 percent of the assists (7.1 apg) and 77 percent of the blocked shots (3.3 bpg).

Oregon has made at least one three-point field goal in 592 consecutive games. The Ducks’ last game without a three-pointer was Feb. 6, 1997, versus Washington.

Prediction

The names on the marquee are exactly the same as they were a year ago today – Wisconsin vs. Oregon for the right to go to the Sweet 16. And while the Badgers look nearly identical than a year ago, the Ducks look quite different. Of the 10 players Oregon played in its third-round loss to Wisconsin at Milwaukee’s Bradley Center, only two of those players return this season in Cook and Young.

It’s a reason why drawing motivation from last season wasn’t discussed much in the hours following the Ducks’ victory over Oklahoma State and Wisconsin’s victory over Coastal Carolina.

“It's a new team that's coming in,” said Young. “Like I said, just us just getting together and being more focused and dialed in to what Coach (Dana Altman) got to say. We the vets; we played them last year. Great team, great players on that team, and they're very smart. So we just gotta listen to Coach and really be dialed in and be focused on what the game plan is.”

Where this game will be won or loss is twofold: Can Wisconsin stop Young and can the Badgers take advantage of the Ducks’ leaky defense.

Young is the kind of player who has given Wisconsin fits this year, a quick guard who can put the ball on the floor, drive the line and can score, pass or draw fouls. He’s a tough assignment and was a main reason Oregon had 19 fast-break points in the first half against UW last season and 10 in the game against the Cowboys. Young’s productiveness is a reason why the Ducks are No.16 in adjusted offensive efficiency per KenPom.com.

Secondly, Oregon has struggled defensively, particularly in the interior. Rated No.130 nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency, per KenPom, the Ducks gave up nine offensive rebounds and 32 points in the paint. That suggests Oregon will have a tough time stopping Wisconsin’s frontcourt of Dekker, Hayes and Kaminsky if all our clicking like they did against the Chanticleers.

Wisconsin is a 12.5 favorite against Oregon. In the last 20 seasons, according to ESPN Stats and Info, Big Ten teams are 40-1 in the NCAA tournament when favored by more than 10 points (only loss came in 1997 when Illinois fell to Chattanooga in the Round of 32).

Young will get his points, but so will the Badgers’ frontcourt, which will lead UW to the Sweet 16 with 10-point victory.

Worgull's Record: 33-2

Points off Prediction: 253 (7.2 per game)


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