Villanova Follows Up Shaky Outing with Experienced Wisconsin

Yolanda Curtis
March 18, 2017

The Wisconsin Badgers and Villanova Wildcats meet Saturday in the second round of the college basketball NCAA Tournament at the KeyBank Center.

The Wildcats can call on some NCAA Tournament experience of their own.

BUFFALO, N.Y. Darryl Reynolds, Eric Paschall and Dylan Painter played a combined 41 minutes in Villanova's 76-56 triumph over Mount St. Mary's in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament Thursday night.

"I would love to tell you I went in there and ripped them, and they all came out fired up, but I really didn't", Villanova coach Jay Wright said. "I gotta say we gotta forget about it and we gotta get ready for the victor of this game". We take pride in it. We've got to focus on Wisconsin, so whatever happened, happened. "We try to prepare for the most hard situations and our coaches do a great job getting us ready for every situation". We change up defenses more. "It's different styles, it really is".

Wisconsin: With Koenig, Hayes and junior Happ, the Badgers have the necessary know how and talent to make another deep 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. He's averaging 13 points per game.

Villanova has put together the most impressive post-national championship campaign in years. "He was definitely very positive for us last night", Head Coach Greg Gard said. But they do an excellent job compensating, and aggressively front players in the post, with great rotations and opportunity doubles if the ball does get in there. Nova will have its hands full against No. 8 seed Wisconsin, a team many believed was under-seeded.

SENIOR CITIZENS: Wisconsin seniors Bronson Koenig and Nigel Hayes will be playing in their 16th NCAA Tournament games on Saturday. They also were ferocious on the offensive boards, grabbing 17 rebounds there. With national Player of the Year candidate Josh Hart setting the pace, the Villanova perimeter attacks opponents with a wave of athleticism. Hart joined Georgetown's Patrick Ewing and Louisville's Peyton Siva as the only players to win two Big East Tournament MVP awards. No need to worry; you can stream the games online here. "You see how well-balanced they are". "It's going to be a challenge". The Wisconsin Badgers have won four of their last five games on neutral sites. And that could help the Badgers, who have seemingly flipped a switch since losing five of their last seven games in conference play. Big Ten coaches realized during that rough stretch for the Badgers that they could double team Happ.

Villanova must dig in for a low-scoring, grind-it-out game. He led the team in points with 23 and had the second most rebounds on the squad with four.

Darryl Reynolds will probably get the first crack defensively, but don't be surprised if Wright opts to do what he did a year ago against Kansas in the Elite Eight with Perry Ellis by fronting the low post. This probably won't be a game for lovers of offense, as Florida is fourth in adjusted defensive efficiency and Virginia is second (and first in points allowed per game). This is the Blue Raiders' second consecutive appearance in the second round-they upset Michigan State as a No. 15 seed last year-and don't let the seed fool you, this team has won 11 in a row and is a unsafe proposition for any opponent. This group of seniors got a rough draw for their final hoorah, but it would be a hoorah for the ages if they can advance past Villanova.

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