The Wisconsin Badgers narrowly escaped the Oregon Ducks on Saturday night in battle of offensive prowess. For the most part, the game see-sawed back and forth between the two teams, but the dagger ultimately came in the form of a huge three-pointer made from Ben Brust with 1:07 left to play in the game. Fred Kaminsky led the team in scoring with 19 points, followed by Traevon Jackson with 16. With the win, the Wisconsin Badgers will move on to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2012 and await the winner of the Baylor/Creighton game Sunday night.
The Baylor/Creighton game is shaping up to be a game that is sure to impress. The third-seeded Creighton Blue Jays were tested early in the tournament this year, narrowly escaping the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns. For 38 minutes, the Ragin’ Cajuns were in the game until a huge three-pointer was made by the Jays’ Doug McDermott. Conversely speaking, the Baylor Bears breezed by their first round matchup with Nebraska, beating them handedly by the score of 74-60. The Creighton/Baylor matchup is sure to impress for several key reasons, the Baylor Bears are riding some major momentum coming in to this game and the senior-driven Creighton Blue Jays are an experienced team that understands that they ‘got away with one’ and are sure to not let that happen again.
Who would the Wisconsin Badgers rather take on in the winner of the Baylor/Creighton game? Starting with number six-seeded Baylor, the Bears are a very threatening team riding the always dangerous momentum, especially if they beat a team like Creighton. The Baylor Bears can beat teams in a slew of ways and can stymie just about any of the hottest offenses. With their two big shot blockers and offensive rebounding machines down low in seven-foot Isaiah Austin and Cory Jefferson, if they stay strong inside against Creighton and Baylor’s three-point specialist Brady Heslip can knock down his shots, look for Baylor to be able to beat just about anyone…including Wisconsin. Wisconsin is like Creighton in that they both have top offenses in the country. Should Baylor win, Wisconsin coaches and fans alike will be taking note on this game for a preview of what is to come with their own match up against them.
The Creighton Blue Jays, as previously mentioned, are among the top teams in offensive production this year. If the Jays were to get by the big men in the Baylor Bears, the fireworks are sure to ensue. The Jays currently have four players hitting over 40 percent from beyond the arch. If that number sounds astounding, it is because it is. The Jays are led by four seniors and a junior and in the tournament experience is always a hot commodity. The Jays struggled mightily in their first round matchup, but do not expect a senior driven team to make the same mistakes twice in the big dance. Look for the Jays to be hitting their shots, therefore neutralizing and forcing the big men of Baylor to leave the paint and to squeeze by to play Wisconsin the next round.
Regardless of who wins the Baylor/Creighton matchup, this will be no easy task for the Wisconsin Badgers to take on. If the Baylor Bears happen to get by the Creighton Jays, Wisconsin will have an advantage and a disadvantage against them. The advantage: having the Baylor Bears beat back-to-back offensive juggernauts in Creighton and then Wisconsin is an extremely tough task to accomplish. The disadvantage: if Baylor does win, the Badgers will be playing a team riding a dangerous high with a chip on their shoulder against a team very similar to Wisconsin. If Creighton gets by Baylor Sunday night, expect the score board to be lit up. The winner of that game may just simply go to the team that is hitting the most clutch shots in the game.
Commentary by Ryne Vyles