After defeating Michigan State in overtime of the Big Ten Championship last Sunday afternoon the Wisconsin Badgers received the number one seed in the Western region. The Badgers have had the most successful season in Wisconsin history and they aren't finished just yet, the goal now is win the next 6 games and cut down the nets in Indianapolis.
First of the six checkpoints will come against Coastal Carolina who is once again a 16 seed in back to back NCAA Tournaments. The Chanticleers received the 16 seed last season and faced off against Virginia and actually led by ten at one point before losing 70-59. The Badgers are currently sitting at a 19.5 point favorite in this match up but know it's not how much you win by but how you win the game.
Who is Coastal Carolina:
Coastal Carolina received an automatic bid after winning three straight games in three days to win the Big South Conference. The Chanticleers are coached by Cliff Ellis who is in his 8th season there. Coastal Carolina will look to score often as they average over 70 points a game, but they aren't afraid to slow it down with their defense only allowing just over 60 points a game. Warren Gillis leads the offense but the Chanticleers have a very balanced scoring attack with 5 players averaging at least 9.6 points per game and Gillis leading with 13.1 per game.
Keys to the Game:
Wisconsin knows going into Friday night's game they are going to receive Coastal Carolina's best performance and will look to stick to their fundamentals like they have all season long to win this game.
Bo Ryan's club prides their self on having basketball smarts, which includes not turning the ball over, not fouling, and making sure they get the right shot. Wisconsin currently leads the nation with the fewest turnovers (7.4 per game) and fewest fouls (12 per game).
Frank the Tank
When you have the conference player of the year, you have to make sure you get him going right from the start of the game. Frank Kaminsky is in the running for National Player of the year for a reason, averaging 18.2 points per game and 8 rebounds a game, the 7 footer is a nightmare match up on the offensive end as he is able to use multiple shot fakes in the post as well as use the pick and pop to get wide open three point attempts. The earlier the Badgers can get Frank rolling the longer their season will last, as the offense revolves around Kaminsky causing mismatches and forcing opponents to double team on him and leaving a spot on shooter wide open.
Coastal Carolina might not be the toughest team the Badgers have seen all season long but the Chanticleers are a great rebounding team, and winning the rebounding game during in the tournament usually has good indication of which teams move on and who goes home for the off season. Although Coastal Carolina is not going to tower over this Badger team as most of their height sits around 6'7 or below, Wisconsin is still going to have to box out every possession.
Wisconsin will find a nice victory Friday night if they are able to stick to the fundamental style of basketball that they have played all season long. The key to a long post season run is starting off hot and to get the ball rolling early that way you don't catch your self in an end of the game battle.