NCAA Tourney: Wisconsin Badgers Have a Date with Davidson

Adam LindemerSenior Analyst IMarch 24, 2008

Well, the field is set for the Sweet 16, and the Wisconsin Badgers drew the 10th seeded Davidson Wildcats. 

This will definitely be another tough test for the Badgers, after passing the Cal State Fullerton and the K-State portions over the weekend.  This Davidson team is one that shouldn't be taken lightly, but the Badgers have won because they forced others to play their style of basketball.

Let's look back at how both teams got this far.

The Badgers beat the Fullerton Titans in round one by 16 points, with a Wisconsin-style balanced offense.  Of the seven guys that scored, scoring ranged from six to 14 points, with Brian Butch leading the way with those 14.

Fullerton's Josh Akognon did score 31, but the other Titans couldn't step up offensively. 

Wisconsin then went on to round two to face arguably the best freshman in the country (Michael Beasley) and his K-State squad—a team that had rolled passed another freshman phenom, OJ Mayo. 

The Badgers out-shot the Wildcats 52 percent to 40 percent, and Trevon Hughes scored a game-high 25 points, including four treys.  Michael Flowers missed one shot the entire game, and finished with 15 points. 

Beasley was Beasley and got yet another double-double (23 and 13), but that was most of the offense.  The Badgers went on to a 72-55 win.

In both Badger wins, the squad held their opponents to 55.5 ppg.  That's right around their season average.

The Davidson Wildcats had a tougher road into the Sweet 16, beating Gonzaga and Georgetown. 

Against Gonzaga, Stephen Curry led them with a tournament-high 40 points, including eight of 10 from downtown. He averaged 25 in the regular season.

The Bulldogs just didn't have an answer to Curry.  Davidson also made eight more free throws, which turned out to be the difference in an 82-76 win.

In round two the Wildcats went against one of the top five teams in the country—the Georgetown Hoyas. 

Curry again led the way with 30 points (five triples).  But this time he had some help, as Jason Richards poured in 20 of his own.  Davidson certainly didn't win by outshooting the Hoyas (Hoyas-63 percent v. Davidson-39 percent), but instead from the charity stripe yet again. 

They made 16 more free-throws than Georgetown, and went on to a 74-70 victory.  Curry averaged 35 ppg in Davidson's two wins, 10 more than his season average.

So on to the matchup...Badgers vs. Wildcats on Friday night in the Motor City. 

If the Badgers want to win, they need to stop Stephen Curry.  That's easier said than done, but nobody else has proven that they can led them.

My guess is Flowers will guard Curry. He doesn't need to stop Curry, just limit him to 20 points.  Also, Flowers should get a hand in his face behind the arc.

Davidson won't have that game plan defensively, however. 

The Badgers have a seven-man rotation, and they all know how to score.  Take away Hughes, they still have six others that can beat you.

It will be a good game, but the Badgers again have the edge because they simply have more scoring options.

If it comes down to free throws, seeing as how Davidson went to the line more than their opponents, the Badgers still have the edge.  All season long we hear how the Badgers make more free throws than their opponents attempt.

The Badgers get to the line early and often, and that's how they control the game.

As a Badger fan, I'm a little scared of this Davidson squad though.  Well, I'm fearful of Curry more than anyone else.

Think about it: Who are you more afraid of, one of the best teams in the country, or the team that knocked out one of the best teams in the country?

If Davidson can send the Hoyas home early, there's no reason to think that they don't have the ability to make the Badgers' stay in Detroit two days shorter than they planned.  The Wildcats are no fluke.  Anyway, in March there is no such thing as a fluke.         

Regardless of that fact, I still think the Badgers have a better overall team sense, and they continue to dance.


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