On the fourth day of the NCAA Tournament, No. 2 Xavier faces No. 7 Wisconsin in the second round of the West Region.
Continuing our conversations with fellow SB Nation blogs, Curt Hogg of Bucky's 5th Quarter broke down the Badgers' win over Pittsburgh in the first round and what to expect in this game.
BECB: The first name that comes to mind for Wisconsin is Nigel Hayes, but Ethan Happ was the main reason why the Badgers came back and knocked off Pittsburgh. How did Happ make his presence felt in the first round matchup?
Curt Hogg: The Badgers struggled mightily in the first half, evidenced by their 16 points. In the second half, Happ made his presence felt simply by his teammates feeding him the rock. Wisconsin went to isolation looks in the swing for Happ, and he was able to get the shots he wanted against Pittsburgh.
BECB: After the hot start from Panthers' guard James Robinson, the Badgers found a way to shut him down. What was the key to stopping the senior guard?
CH: In all fairness, Robinson had a lot of good looks in the first half. Then, the Badgers put a lot of pressure on him to be the man for the Panthers. They took away Michael Young and Sheldon Jeter, forcing Robinson to create his own shot. He was forced to take contested two pointers, which are the shots Wisconsin makes you take.
BECB: What kind of difference did Greg Gard make for Wisconsin down the stretch, and how much does he remind you of Bo Ryan?
CH: Gard has a lot of Bo Ryan in him in terms of philosophy and schemes. As a person, the players love him and he has the respect of each and every one of them. Bringing the swing back to Wisconsin was pivotal in regaining offensive spacing, but getting the Badgers defense together was even bigger. There may not be the same Bo Ryan faces, but Gard did spend 23 years with Ryan, so it's natural that there are plenty of similarities.
BECB: Xavier has won or tied the rebounding margin in 27 of their 28 wins this season and outrebounded Weber State 43-27. What will the Badgers need to do to keep James Farr, Jalen Reynolds and company off the glass?
CH: That will fall into the hands of Happ, Brown and Hayes. Simply put, they will have to do what they did against Pittsburgh. The Panthers are another great rebounding team, but the Badgers dominated the boards on both ends. Every point against a good Xavier team will be key, so boxing out will be important for the Badgers.
BECB: Wisconsin only shot 32.1 percent in the win over Pittsburgh. How can Hayes, who scored 17 points on just 3-of-17 shooting, bounce back offensively against Xavier's 1-3-1 zone defense?
CH: As Hayes said during Saturday's open media session, he hasn't shot well that last two games for Wisconsin. That doesn't change his approach, though. He's confident in his shot and expects them to fall sooner rather than later, stating statistical progression for that. Hayes still cannot get jump-shot happy, which he rarely does. Attacking the rim is what he does best.
BECB: What's your prediction?
CH: Xavier 73, Wisconsin 68. The Badgers could very well pull out this win, but I think Xavier has too many weapons on offense that the Badgers bench can't keep up with.
Thanks to Curt for helping us take a look at the Badgers. Bucky's 5th Quarter's website can be found HERE.