Preview: Freshman Duo Focus of UW

After combining for 55 points in leading their team to a first-round 'upset' victory, freshmen Michael Beasley and Bill Walker will be the focal point of the Wisconsin defense Saturday.

OMAHA, Neb. — The Wisconsin Badgers have a tall task ahead of them Saturday in their NCAA tournament second round game against Kansas State.

Make that two tall tasks.

If No.3 seed Wisconsin is to beat No.11 seed Kansas State and advance to the Sweet 16, it will need to control the freshmen frontcourt tandem of Michael Beasley and Bill Walker.

That is no easy job, especially considering the two are coming off great games against Southern California in the first round of the tournament, when they combined to score 55 of their team's 80 points.

Limited by foul trouble in the first half, Beasley still managed to score 23 points and pull down 11 rebounds.

Walker added 22 points and five rebounds, but was also dangerous from the perimeter, converting on 3-of-4 3-point attempts.

"It's going to be more than just one person (to stop Beasley)," said forward Joe Krabbenhoft, who will likely start the game guarding Walker. "Whoever starts out on him, whether it's Marcus (Landry) or Brian (Butch)… it doesn't matter because it's going to be a collective effort."

And while Beasley, a potential No. 1 overall pick in this year's NBA draft, gets most of the attention, Krabbenhoft knows Walker can't get overlooked.

"His skill set is unbelievable," the Wisconsin junior said. "He's so strong an so athletic down low, he can just rise up and dunk right over you after getting great position because of his strength.

"On the perimeter, his handle has gotten I think so much better in the last year that he can cross you over, take you to the hole and also shoot for three when he wants to."

If Beasley and Walker both go off for another big game, it will likely be Kansas State, not Wisconsin, that is off to Detroit and the Sweet 16.


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