Any doubts the naysayers had about how well the Wisconsin Badgers could handle the zone of the Baylor Bears was silenced early Thursday night. The Badgers completely tore up the zone and ran away to a 69-52 victory, advancing to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament.
Wisconsin will play the winner of San Diego State-Arizona on Saturday.
Baylor took the early lead 15 seconds into the game. It would be the only time the Bears would be ahead of the Badgers.
Frank Kaminsky made his presence known early and often, scoring eight of the Badgers first 10 points. His counter part from Baylor, Isaiah Austin, did not have an answer for Frank the Tank. In fact Baylor didn’t have an answer for anything Wisconsin did.
The Badgers on the other hand had all the answers for the Baylor zone. With patience and looking for the soft spots in the zone, Wisconsin was able to gain an early advantage and use their defense to build on the lead. Towards the end of the first half, Baylor was getting beat so bad playing the zone they had to switch to man. That failed to work as well.
After shooting lights out against Creighton, Baylor could not hit a shot and looked out of sync on offense. Austin had a hard time finding the basket and found himself in early foul trouble. Brady Heslip had 17 points against Creighton. Against the Badgers stingy defense, he had three.
The story of the game was not only how well the Badgers exploited the zone, but the play of Frank “the Tank” Kaminsky. Not only did he shut down Austin, but he did whatever he wanted to on the offensive end. Kaminsky finished with a game-high 19 points, four rebounds and a career-high six blocks.
Also getting into the fun off the bench was Nigel Hayes, who finished with 10 points and six rebounds. Ben Brust made his brothers watching from the stands proud, ending the game with 14 points and going 3-5 from three point land.
Bo Ryan had his Badgers squad ready for the zone defense and made sure no one left having any doubts about this team. Wisconsin keeps dancing, two-stepping into the Elite Eight on Saturday.
For the best deals on Sweet 16 tickets visit TiqIQ.com