Preview: Cal State Fullerton vs No.8 UW

Making its 14th appearance in the NCAA Tournament and seventh in the last seven years, third-rank Wisconsin takes on No.14 Cal State Fullerton in Omaha, Nebraska, Thursday night.

Cal State Fullerton (24-8) vs. No.8 Wisconsin (29-4)

Date/Time - Thursday, March 20 at approx. 8:40 p.m. Central

Arena – Qwest Center (17,839)

Television - CBS (Kevin Harlan, Dan Bonner)

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

Series – First Meeting

Wisconsin Probable Starters

1 Marcus Landry (Junior Forward, 11.3 ppg - Big Ten Tournament MVP)

3 Trevon Hughes (Sophomore Guard, 11.3 ppg - Honorable mention All-Big Ten)

22 Michael Flowers (Senior Guard, 9.4 ppg - Second-team All-Big Ten)

32 Brian Butch (Senior Forward, 12.5 ppg - First-team All-Big Ten)

45 Joe Krabbenhoft (Junior Forward, 7.5 ppg - Big Ten All-Defensive Team)

Off the Bench

12 Jason Bohannon (Sophomore Guard, 8.1 ppg - Big Ten Sixth Madn of the Year)

24 Tim Jarmusz (Freshman Forward, 0.8 ppg - has played in each of last eight games)

34 Greg Stiemsma (Senior Center, 3.0 ppg - leads the team with 36 block shots)

Cal State Fullerton Probable Starters

2 Scott Cutley (6-foot-5 Senior Forward, 14.8 ppg)

34 Marcus Morgan (6-5 Junior Forward, 5.9 ppg)

1 Josh Akognon (5-11 Junior Guard, 19.9 ppg)

22 Ray Reed (5-11 Senior Guard, 6.4 ppg)

5 Frank Robinson (6-4 Senior Forward, 16.0 ppg)

Off the Bench

54 Marcus Crenshaw (5-10 Junior Guard, 8.9 ppg)

21 Kenneth Alexander (6-6 Senior Center, 3.1 ppg)

42 Andrew Green (6-6 Senior Center, 3.1 ppg)

11 Marcio Lassiter (6-2 Junior Guard, 3.5 ppg)

Last Time Out

Led by all-tournament team member Brian Butch's 12 points and 10 points from tournament most valuable player Marcus Landry, No.8 Wisconsin ended Illinois' Cinderella run to the NCAA Tournament with a convincing 61-48 triumph in Indianapolis.

"This is quite an accomplishment to be the first team in Wisconsin history to win both the regular season and conference championship," UW coach Bo Ryan said "These guys are pretty proud and hopefully, we have a lot more in it."

Everything seemed to click for Wisconsin, earning its second tournament championship (ironically, 2004 title also came against the Illini). The Badgers shot 49 percent from the field, took care of the ball (eight turnovers) and got scoring contributions from eight different players.

Series Notes:

This will be the first meeting between Wisconsin and Cal State Fullerton

UW is 7-2 all-time against teams from the Big West Conference, including an 83-47 win over Pacific on Dec. 23, 2006 in Madison

Wisconsin is 6-4 against team that made the NCAA tournament, defeating Indiana (twice), Michigan State (twice), Texas and Georgia while losing to Purdue (twice), Duke and Marquette

Wisconsin Notes:

UW will be making its 14th appearance in the NCAA tournament. The Badgers are 17-12 all-time in the Big Dance, winning their only NCAA title in 1941.

The Badgers will be making their 10th consecutive NCAA tournament appearance. UW is one of just eight schools in the country that have an active NCAA tournament streak of at least 10 years. The others are: Arizona (24 years), Kansas (19), Kentucky (17), Duke (13), Michigan State (11), Gonzaga (10) and Texas (10).

Wisconsin enters the NCAA tournament with a 29-4 record. That is one win shy of the school record for victories in a season, set by last year's 30-6 club. The Badgers' 59-10 (.855) record over the last two seasons is the fifth-best in the country.

UW's No. 3 seed is the second-highest in school history, topped only by last year's No. 2 seed. Wisconsin joins Memphis, North Carolina, Kansas, UCLA and Georgetown as the only schools to earn top-3 seeds in each of the last two seasons.

UW has won 23 of its last 25 games, with its only two losses coming against Purdue. That is tied for the third-best record in the country for a team in its last 25 games, trailing only Memphis (24-1). Davidson, UCLA and North Carolina have won 23 of 25 as well.

Cal State Fullerton Notes:

At 24-8, the Titans have posted the best record in the school's Div. I history (since 1974-75; went 24-7 in 1961-62 at the NAIA level) capped by a 3-0 run through the Big West Conference Post-Season Tournament at the Anaheim Convention Center Arena.

This is the first time Fullerton has won 20 games in back-to-back seasons. Fullerton has posted four consecutive winning seasons for the first time since 1981-82 thru 1984-85 and matched that team for the school's best conference record (12-4).

All 11 Cal State Fullerton players transferred from another college -- five from Div. I schools and six community colleges (and one of those -- Andrew Green -- started at Boise State. Ray Reed's former Georgetown team, Josh Akognon's former Washington State team, Green's former Boise State team and Scott Cutley and Marcus Crenshaw's former Kent State teammates also are in the 65-team field. Only Frank Robinson's former East Carolina mates will be home watching.

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