Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

2014 NCAA Tournament: Wisconsin Needs Sam Dekker to Shine

Alright Mr. Sam Dekker. We’re ready!

For the 16th-consecutive season, the Badgers are dancing in March.

Wisconsin was awarded the No. 2 seed in the West Region of the 2014 NCAA Tournament and will face No. 15 seed American in a second-round matchup Thursday at the BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee.

Only seven times in the history of the NCAA tourney, has a No. 2 seed been knocked out of the first round.

That stat alone seems to point to the inevitable that Wisconsin should experience success Thursday – though losing two of their last three games to Big Ten opponents leaves doubt in even the biggest Badgers fan.

After Thursday, win or lose, the measure of Wisconsin’s 2013-14 season and tournament run could fall on the shoulders of one 6-7 sophomore who came into the season as one of the most touted sophomores since Alando Tucker.

Without a dominant senior class to take the load off, many this year have pointed to the play of Frank Kaminsky, Traevon Jackson, Nigel Hayes and especially Sam Dekker.

Dekker rode into Madison on a Wisconsin prep spotlight.

Dekker was named Wisconsin Gatorade Player of the Year following his senior season at Sheboygan Lutheran High School.

A 2012 Parade All-American, AP first team all-state and Wisconsin Basketball Coaches’ Association’s Mr. Basketball, he led Sheboygan Lutheran to the school’s first ever WIAA state title.

Dekker scored 40 points in the title game including the game winner with two seconds left … it was the lasting impression many people had moving forward, waiting for the next big Sam Dekker moment to come.

Is it safe to say we’re all still waiting? Could the 2014 NCAA Tourney be the coming out party for one of the nations most touted players coming into the season?

No one questions Dekker’s ability to score the basketball. No one questions his work ethic, desire to win or focus when it comes to the team, but when it comes to winning NCAA tournament games, Wisconsin will need Dekker to establish more of an offensive mentality that will be the only way UW moves past the round of 32 into the Sweet 16.

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Tags: 2014 NCAA Tournament March Madness Sam Dekker Wisconsin Badgers Basketball

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