The Wisconsin Badgers took on the Arizona Wildcats in the Staple Center with a trip to the Final Four at stake. The Badgers were looking to punch their ticket to the Final Four for the second straight year with a win over the second seeded Wildcats.
Wisconsin came out of the gates fast against Arizona. Frank Kaminsky scored the first 5 points of the game and helped the Badgers open up with a 10-2 run. Arizona fought back and found a way to tie the game just past the midway point of the half. The remainder of the first was back and forth, and the Wildcats went into the break up by 3. Wisconsin stormed out of the gates again in the second half. Kaminsky promptly opened up the scoring in the second half by knocking down a tying three just 13 seconds into the frame. The Badgers started out the half hot and opened up with a 14-3 run. Sam Dekker was just too much for Arizona to handle in the second half and finished with 20 points in the half. He knocked down the game sealing 3 with 20 seconds left in the game to punch the Badgers' ticket to Indiana. Wisconsin will be heading to their second straight Final Four with the 85-78 victory.
What We Learned
The Badgers can be lights out from behind the arc
Wisconsin was 67% on 12 of 18 shooting from behind the 3 point line on Saturday. Arizona didn't have an answer for them behind the arc. Everyone in the Badgers' starting lineup knocked down at least one 3. Wisconsin was able to knock down a 3 every time you felt Arizona was starting to get some kind of momentum going.
Wisconsin can beat teams with strong starts for both halves
The Badgers outscored the Wildcats 24-7 in the opening four minutes of both halves. Wisconsin came out of the gates flying and Arizona didn't have an answer for their intensity. If Arizona was able to match Wisconsin's passion from the onset of the halves maybe they'd be the ones celebrating an Elite Eight victory.
Frank Kaminsky dominates no matter who the opponent is
Kaminsky is arguably the most dominate player in college basketball and he showed us why again on Saturday afternoon. The senior finished with 29 points and 6 boards in the win. Arizona had no answer for him inside. Kaminsky did an excellent job of putting pressure on Arizona's defense and attacking the basket. The Wildcats had no choice but to send him to the line where Kaminsky also made them pay by knocking down 10 of his 12 free throws. Arizona found out the hard way that there's no way to stop Frank the Tank when he's on his game, even when he has 4 fouls.
Sam Dekker was unreal the second half
Dekker was 6 for 6 from the floor in the second half including 5 for 5 from distance. He had 20 of his 27 points in the second half including 8 points in the final two minutes. He hit a huge three with just under two minutes left to give Wisconsin a 79-71 lead. He then followed that up by knocking down the game clinching 3 with just 20 seconds left to give Wisconsin an insurmountable 7 point lead. Dekker showed the nation just how good of a player he is. The 6' 9" junior proved that someone besides Kaminsky can lead the team to victory. There's no doubt Dekker opened up some NBA scouts' eyes with this dominating performance.
Arizona had no answer for Wisconsin's frontline. Kaminsky and Dekker were just too much for the Wildcats to handle. The Badgers will be headed to their second straight Final Four and will face the Kentucky Wildcats who beat them by one point in the Final Four last year. Wisconsin will be looking to make sure that history doesn't repeat itself.