Nigel Hayes played his best game when Wisconsin needed him most

Yolanda Curtis
March 19, 2017

Wisconsin is miffed at its lowest seeding in eight years.

The Badgers are the only team in the country to make the Sweet 16 in the past three seasons, a testament to the experience of head coach Greg Gard's team. This is the lowest they have been seeded since 2009, when they were a No. 12 and upset Florida.

That's the reality the Wildcats will have to endure, at least in the short term, as March moves on without them.

"It's a great gym, a great facility, there are great people that run it", he said of Island Garden in West Hempstead, mindful it once was the home of the Nets. "I think he's starting to see what are the good shots for him the way the defense is playing him and he's doing a good job of finishing on the inside as well". "I gotta say we gotta forget about it and we gotta get ready for the victor of this game".

Coming off a First-Four victory Wednesday over North Carolina Central, UC Davis plays its second-ever NCAA Tournament game, this time against Kansas.


Devin Robinson had 24 points, seven rebounds and two blocks in 33 minutes to lead the Gators. Villanova seized the 2016 national championship with the most ideal full-court inbounds play ever run.

Koenig made a school-record eight 3-pointers versus Virginia Tech and is shooting almost 58 percent from beyond the arc over his last six games.

As they prepared to meet a team as physical as any they've played all season, the Wildcats are wary of Wisconsin. The Badgers rarely foul, give up offensive rebounds or allow easy baskets inside. UW's best chance to upset top-seeded Villanova at the KeyBank Center will be to have guard Bronson Koenig hitting from the outside, center Ethan Happ operating inside and Hayes using his all-around game to fill in the blanks. He finished with 18 points and 13 rebounds. "You can be down 8 or 10 points, hit a couple 3-pointers, and you're back in it".

This is just the second meeting between the two programs. Wisconsin won 74-72 at Virginia Tech in 2008. Wisconsin has made the national quarterfinals five times in the past six years.

Outside of the fact that we won't be having a repeat victor - something that hasn't happened since 2007 when Florida won it's second of back-to-back titles - there's the bracket busting angle to consider.


Koenig proved to be the difference maker in the contest, as the 6-foot-3 guard made eight three-pointers, which was a Wisconsin school record for an NCAA tournament game.

B1G BEATERS: The Hokies already have two wins over Big Ten opponents this season, defeating Nebraska and MI in back-to-back games in November. If the Badgers' first-round game against the Hokies was any example, expect wildfire shooting to provide an exciting second-round game.

Although it might not have been as aesthetically pleasing, Koenig wasn't the only Badger senior to put on a show.

Denzel Ingram scored 17 points and made 4-for-9 from 3-pointers, while Ambrose Mosley made all five of his shots, including 4-for-4 from 3-point range on his way to scoring 14 points for the Seahawks (29-6). Williams went 3-3 against Wisconsin while at Marquette.


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