BAYLOR vs. WISCONSIN HOW TO WATCH AND GAME INFO
WHAT: West Regional Semifinal
WHO: 6-seed Baylor vs. 2-seed Wisconsin
WHEN: Thursday, March 27 7:47 ET/4:47 PT
WHERE: Honda Center; Anaheim, Calif.
TV/LIVE STREAM: TBS/March Madness Live
HOW THEY GOT HERE
Baylor Bears (Big-12 at-large)
• Round of 64: 74-60 vs. No. 11 Nebraska
• Round of 32: 85-55 vs. No. 3 Creighton
Wisconsin Badgers (Big Ten at-large)
• Round of 64: 75-35 vs. No. 15 American
• Round of 32: 85-77 vs. No. 7 Oregon
If you are still operating under the misconception that the 2013-’14 Wisconsin Badgers play a boring style, stop. If you are going into Thursday’s West Regional with the assumption Scott Drew is a sub-par coach, stop.
Two commonly held, false pretenses were shattered in the first weekend. Drew’s Bears are in their third Sweet 16 in the last four years, with this year’s and the 2012 run book-ending an NIT championship. One doesn’t just luck into repeated postseason success, and Sunday’s performance against West Region 3-seed Creighton was certainly not about luck.
Drew crafted a defensive game plan to shut down the high-scoring Blue Jays–and it wasn’t all about slowing All-American scoring machine Doug McDermott, as Gary Franklin told reporters Wednesday via ASAPSports.com:
Contrary to popular belief as far as playing against Creighton, Doug McDermott is obviously their main guy, but Coach Drew being the statistic junky that he is, he allowed us to realize that other players on their team are able to shoot the ball really well.
Franklin added the same principles should factor into the Bears’ approach against Wisconsin:
So even though you’re focusing on Doug McDermott a lot, you’re focusing on the guys that shoot a high 40% on the perimeter. So I think this will be similar to a Wisconsin team as far as guarding multiple guys in multiple positions who can shoot the ball.
No, this is not the stereotypical Bo Ryan-coached Badgers team. In the past, Wisconsin basketball emulated the ground-and-pound style of legendary Badgers football coach Barry Alvarez, favoring a slower, more methodical tempo and stout defense.
But this version of Wisconsin basketball powered its way to Anaheim with an offensive explosion. The Badgers shot 48 percent from the floor in their Round of 32 win over Oregon, but more impressively hit on almost 40 percent of their attempts from outside the 3-point arc. Six players hit from long range, including four by guard Ben Brust.
That kind of outside shooting complements the inside presences of Frank Kaminsky and Sam Dekker, giving the Badgers a variety of weapons.
Wisconsin has scored 71 or more in nine of its last 11. Similarly, Baylor hit 74 points on seven of its last eight. The Bears can also get points from a variety of contributors. Guard Brady Heslip is deadly from long range and backcourt mate Kenny Chery can score off the dribble.
Baylor’s style is reminiscent of Oregon, which gave Wisconsin fits in the last round. The key difference? Baylor has the size between 6-foot-9 Cory Jefferson and 7-foot-1 Isaiah Austin to effectively bang with the Badgers in the paint.
Kaminsky said per ASAPSports.com Baylor will try to use that size to bottle up Wisconsin’s potent offense
What makes Baylor’s [zone defense] different is obviously their length. They’ve got Isaiah Austin in the middle. He’s one of the longest players we’ll play all year. So just the athletes and the length combined in their zone is going to be tough to go against. But hopefully we’ll be able to be successful against it.
Traevon Jackson earned some criticism earlier in the season for his sometimes erratic play, but the dynamic playmaker who has shown up for Wisconsin in his tournament is a potential difference-maker against Baylor.