Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

2014 NCAA Tournament: Frank Kaminsky Needs Big Game Against Baylor

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The 2013-14 Wisconsin Badgers saw the rise of junior Frank Kaminsky this season.

The All-Big Ten First Team selection had his most outstanding performance in the Cardinal Red, to date, during his current campaign.

Voted onto the first team by both coaches and the media, there is no doubt he’s in the spotlight again this Thursday when the match-up between he and Baylor’s Isaiah Austin will either continue Wisconsin’s run or lead to their departure from the National Championship chase.

“Personally, I watched (Baylor vs. Creighton ) in the locker room kind of by myself,” Kaminsky said. “I wanted to sit there and watch the game, no distractions.  I’m sure everyone else back at the apartment was watching it together. But, yeah, I was just looking at tendencies they have of their players, who I could possibly be matched up with or what they like to do on offense.  There are things they’re doing on defense, you know, just trying to take in everything.”

Needless to say, Kaminsky, who’s averaging 13.5 points and 4.5 rebounds per game so far in the tourney, was impressed once again with one of the best big men in the country.

“He’s one of the longest players that we’ll play against,” Kaminsky said. “His arms are probably an eight-foot wingspan … he’s a good player.  He’s a good defensive player.  He’s got those long arms, and he moves well.  On offense, he’s able to get a bunch of stuff because of his height.  Hopefully, we can neutralize that.”

Wisconsin’s had success and witness failure against the few true big men they’ve faced this season.

Michigan State’s Adreian Payne is in a league of his own. Maurice Walker had a very good game off the bench against Wisconsin – particularly in the first meeting when he scored 18 points off the bench. Austin is sort of a hybrid of those two players – the athleticism of Payne and the ability to bang down low and rebound the ball offensively, like Walker.

Kaminsky’s teammate Sam Dekker says Kaminsky has a lot of qualities of his own the will match-up well with the defense.

“Frank is one of the best pump faking, footwork, finesse players I think I’ve ever played with easily,” Dekker said, Monday. “When you can use those moves in there and just kind of confuse some guys with some moves that are pretty unorthodox, I think Frank can use that to his advantage.”

No doubt, Kaminsky’s ability to not only play with his back to the basket, but step out and hit the three-point shot is a huge upside in a game where scoring needs to come and come often.

Shooting nearly a 37% crack from behind the three point line, Kaminsky though doesn’t really come close to that of Doug McDermott (45%). Very few big men in the game can match-up with the NCAA’s third all-time leading scorer, but Kaminsky must if Wisconsin wants a chance at the Elite Eight.

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Tags: Baylor Bears Basketball Creighton Bluejays Doug McDermott Elite 8 Frank Kaminsky Isaiah Austin March Madness NCAA Final Four Sweet 16 Wisconsin Badgers Basketball

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