Badgers draw OR in return to NCAA tourney


A team that became accustomed to winning this year should have a much tougher time in March.

Maybe there's merit in that belief, or perhaps it's just wishful thinking.

The Oregon Ducks are headed to San Jose, California to face Wisconsin at 1:30 p.m. Friday in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Yes, the south region is loaded with slowed-down offenses and stingy defenses.

Sophomore Kenny Wooten averages 2.0 blocks per game as the rim protector on a team ranked No. 18 nationally in the KenPom adjusted defensive efficiency ratings. The biggest thing is you've still got to execute. Wisconsin wouldn't see either of them until the Elite Eight.

Multiple Badgers compared Oregon's defensive style to a combination of Iowa, which mixes its defenses, Illinois, which will apply pressure, and Stanford for its length.

OR held Washington State and Utah under 55 points, and blocked 10 shots while rallying to beat Arizona State in overtime in the quarterfinals. Virginia (No. 5) could be waiting in the Sweet 16.

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Instead of playing as the favorites, the Ducks arrived in Las Vegas needing to win four games in four days to clinch an NCAA Tournament berth. Led by Payton Pritchard, Louis King, and Paul White, who each scored in double figures, OR put on enough points to secure the upset and win yet another Pac-12 tournament championship.

In their place, role players like Khalil Iverson and Brevin Pritzl have demonstrated leadership, carrying the team at times down the stretch.

Still, Dana Altman's team will present a unique challenge because it mostly uses a 2-3 matchup zone that features several long bodies. They start four players who are listed at 6-9, including freshman forward and leading scorer Louis King (13.1 ppg).

"It won't be easier, it'll just be different", Gard said.

"I thought we got decent shots. If we're able to take care of business, yeah, it was good". The team shot just 29 percent from deep over the season's final month after shooting a remarkable 41 percent during the winning streak.

The Wisconsin Badgers take the hardwood with Oregon Ducks in first round NCAA college basketball action. The Badgers went 20-for-39 in the paint - including 16-for-27 at the rim - and missed 17 of their 19 attempts from 3-point range. They allowed the fewest points per game during conference play, yielding only 59.2 points per game. Wisconsin may be the best defensive team they have faced to this point, but OR just dispatched of a very good Washington squad in the Pac-12 championship that also happens to boast a tough defense (No. 20 nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency according to KenPom).