Arizona faces sharp shooting Wisconsin with Final Four berth on the line
ANAHEIM, Calif. — For the second time in four years, Arizona made it to the Elite Eight.
Standing in the way of Arizona’s fifth Final Four appearance, its first since 2001, are the Wisconsin Badgers that can shoot with the best of them.
“They can shoot, they can shoot and oh did I say they can shoot,” Arizona freshman forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson said. “We have to limit their 3-point shot.”
Similar to Arizona, Wisconsin has put together a record that includes six victories over nationally ranked schools. During the regular season Wisconsin was 6-2 versus schools that were nationally ranked at the time of their match up.
On Dec. 4 they also defeated a Virginia school that was unranked at the time, but eventually became a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
29-7, 12-6 Big Ten
Nov. 12 vs. No. 11 Florida (59-53)
Feb. 9 vs. No. 9 Michigan State (60-58)
Feb. 16 at No. 15 Michigan (75-62)
Wisconsin and Arizona both played Michigan and Oregon this season. The Badgers split its two games with Michigan. They lost to the Wolverines at home on Jan. 18 but got revenge a month later at Michigan.
Arizona beat Michigan 72-70 in Ann Arbor, Mich. on Dec 14. It was its only meeting with the Wolverines.
Wisconsin defeated Oregon 85-77 in the Round of 32 of the NCAA Tournament.
The Wildcats split its two games against the Ducks. Arizona beat Oregon 67-65 at home on Feb. 6 but loss 64-57 to the Ducks in Oregon on March 8.
73.5: points per game
63.8: points allowed per game
33.2: rebounds per game
.45 percent: field goal percentage
Like Arizona head coach Sean Miller, Badgers head coach Bo Ryan has now reached the Elite Eight twice. But neither Miller nor Ryan have reached the Final Four as a head coach.
Frank Kaminsky: 13.7 PPG, 6.2 RPG
Ben Brust: 12.9 PPG, 4.6 RPG
Traevon Jackson 10.4 PPG, 3.6 RPG
Big Ten Conference:
The Big Ten regular season conference champion was Michigan (27-8, 15-3 Big Ten). The Big Ten Tournament champion was Michigan State.
The Spartans defeated Wisconsin 83-75 in the semi-finals of the tournament.
Six Big Ten schools reached the NCAA Tournament.
Kaminsky was unanimously named to the All-Big Ten First Team roster. The Badgers’ freshman Nigel Hayes was named the conference’s Sixth Man of the Year by the coaches.
The Badgers have had 23 players make an NBA roster. Dick Schulz was the first in 1947. Memphis Grizzles’ forward Jon Leuer was the most recent. Leuer was drafted in the second round of the 2011 NBA Draft.
There most notable alumnus currently in the NBA is Dallas Mavericks’ guard Devin Harris who played in Madison, Wis. from 2001-04.
Maybe the schools most famous alumnus to be drafted is Michael Finley. The retired two-time NBA All-Star won the 2007 NBA championship with the San Antonio Spurs.
Kaminsky said it:
“It’s going to be a big challenge for us to try and set the tone inside,” Kaminsky said. “But I think once we do that, it will open up a lot of things for us.”
Miller said it:
“Their ability to shoot the 3-point shot speaks for itself,” Miller said. “Very disciplined team, but on offense and defense, extremely well coached by Bo Ryan, and it should be a great game.”
—Follow Luke Della @LukeDella