|Bucky likes "W's."|
Hayes, Koenig, Showalter, and Brown crafted a gritty victory over the defending champion and #1 overall team in this year's college basketball tournament.
The 65 - 62 win extends Wisconsin's season. It rejuvenates the hopes and dreams for a very talented squad and is a shot of confidence in the arms of the players.
It's the best all-around effort so far. As the saying goes, "they left it all out on the court."
In the second round game, the Badgers forged a four point half-time lead, surviving early foul trouble for point guard standout Bronson Koenig and sophomore center/forward Ethan Happ.
Vitto Brown (left) had his best game of the season. After a real good junior season, his senior year didn't meet that standard. But with three, three-point shots, a crucial defensive play, and clinching free-throw... he was a key part of the outcome.
Nigel Hayes scored 19, including the final go-ahead basket with 11 seconds to play.
Villanova called time-out. Their play, a driving lay-up was blocked by Happ and Brown held on to the ball where he was fouled and sent to the line with 3 seconds left.
Koenig, coming off the first-round win where his shooting pushed the Badgers to victory, sat on the bench more than usual because of fouls. He still scored 17, including a couple cold-blooded threes to make up a 5 point deficit.
|LET'S GO, BADGERS!|
12-23-16 dwm photo
In major college basketball these days there are a number of players who choose to play just a year before moving on to the professional ranks.
Wisconsin's senior leadership and experience paid off.
My hat's off to this team. For their cool-under-pressure approach to big games and the understated coaching style of Greg Gard. He is quickly establishing himself out of the shadow cast by Bo Ryan.
Just five days from now they play again; the second of potentially three long basketball weekends.
Friday, they play Florida/Virginia in New York's Madison Square Garden. The Badgers played there earlier this year. After, these Badgers will fly west.
I'm looking forward to this exciting journey and their destination.