Last night's game was fun. Sure I almost had a heart attack at work, but the Badgers were just too good for North Carolina, and it just felt like they would make a run at some point. I'd love to say I knew it would be a Zak Showalter inspired run, but that would be a lie. Also knowing something like that would have required me to know Zak Showalter still played significant minutes with Traevon Jackson back. That's not possible since I had to stop watching games the second I became an OTE "writer". The sacrifices I make to produce content for the peasants.
This meme is criminally underused
Now the game did not start particularly well. The Tar Heels shot approximately 741% in the first half (ok actually it was only 50%), while the Badgers seemingly couldn't hit water if they fell out of a boat. Interestingly, both teams finished the game 26-56 from the field. And yet, the Badgers only trailed 33-31 at the half, mainly due to Sam Dekker playing like the 5* recruit/potential top 10 pick he is. The second half reminded me a lot of the BTT Championship game, right down to the "there's ten minutes left, and we're down by quite a bit, but I still feel like we're going to win" thought I had while bartending with UNC up seven. Sure enough, the Badgers made clutch plays down the stretch, hit their last nine free throws (20-23 for the game), and UNC actually missed two threes in a row to end it, setting up the Elite 8 rematch with Arizona.
Here's why I love ESPN... While looking up stats I was on ESPN.com and in one video the only man known to blow his load while talking about fouls (and just about any basketball play if Duke is involved), Dick Vitale, is sitting and saying that he thinks Wisconsin is the second best team in the tournament and can't really find a weakness. I'll ignore that he thought UNC would beat Wisconsin. In the next video, Jeff Goodman talks about how much Wisconsin has struggled this tournament and he doesn't think Wisconsin can beat Arizona. Did he not watch Arizona play Xavier last night? Did he not watch the first half against OSU? If anybody besides Matt Stainbrook and Dee Davis would've had a pulse offensively Arizona would be headed home already. Arizona was down four with eight minutes to go against a team that shot 17% from behind the arc.
It's been bombs away for Wisconsin the first three games, so they're going to have to shoot the ball well to win (obvious statement is obvious). Detective Frank Kaminsky has proven again and again he'll get his (I don't think I've seen someone play so much below their norm and end up with 19 and 8 in a Sweet 16 game), but Koenig has to bounce back (2-9 from the field, fouled out), even with Trae Jackson back. Duje Dukan is also going to need to do something besides commit two fouls. Seriously, he played 14 minutes, did not attempt a shot, did not grab a rebound or dish out an assist, and committed two fouls. The good news? He didn't have any turnovers. I'm a lot less worried about this game than I was before yesterday, then again part of that was I was worried we might lose yesterday. Such is the NCAA Tournament. Basically Wisconsin wins tomorrow if they play inside-out, getting all three of Hayes, Dekker, and Tank Kaminsky involved early while knocking down the open looks from deep. It would also be beneficial if teams stopped shooting 52% from three. Honestly winning three tournament games when your opponents are 23-44 from downtown is rather impressive in its own right. KenPom tells me opponent three point percentage defense is random (I won't use luck, although a 31% 3 point shooting team starting 8-11 against you does seem unlucky unless you're helping them line up their shots), so the Wildcats will go like 3-20 and Wisconsin cruises to an easy win.
Hopefully, I'm writing a Final Four preview next week. Hopefully, I'm writing it about a matchup with Notre Dame (refer to previous meme).
Irregardless Regardless, I'm leaving you with another meme because I can and you can't stop me.