It’s finally game day Badger fans! Wisconisn opens up their NCAA tournament run tonight against 14 seed Colgate. While it is a an 8:50 PM CST tip time, the game is in Milwaukee at the Fiserv Forum. The crown will be just about entirely Badger red. The atmosphere will be electric! Here are the keys to move on to the Round of 32 Sunday.
Three Point Defense
Damn, Colgate is a really well-coached team. Lots of shooters.
— Jeff Potrykus (@jaypo1961) March 14, 2022
The one thing that will stick out to anyone scouting Colgate is they love to shoot the three and they’re good at it. In fact, Colgate is second in the country in three point shooting at just over 40% for the season. They are a team that will live and die by the three.
This is a veteran team too. They gave Arkansas all they could handle in the first half of the tournament last season. While the Razorbacks did end up winning by double digits, fans knew what Colgate was capable of.
The Badgers are not great defending the three either. For a team that will play with nothing to lose, this could present a problem if the Raiders are able to knock down shots early and often.
Establish Johnny Davis Early And Often
I would love to see Johnny Davis get going early and often in this game. You better believe after he struggled last Friday against Michigan State in the Big Ten Tournament that Davis wants to make his presence known. I think a good start from Davis is key not only for tonight, but moving forward should the Badgers advance.
I don’t know about the status of the ankle of Johnny Davis, but I have not seen any updates this week on it either. As a result, I don’t think the ankle is an issue nor will it be an issue before tip off. While I would have loved to see the Badgers advance further in the Big Ten Tournament last weekend, more rest for Johnny Davis trumps that. The Badgers didn’t have much to play for anyways.
Feed Off The Milwaukee Crowd
Want to know how a team feeds off a home crowd in the NCAA tournament? Look at the Wisconsin-Oregon game from the Round of 32 in 2015. The Badgers fell behind as much as 15 points. This game was at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee. The crowd kept the Badgers in the game and they ultimately erased that deficit and beat Oregon. Greg Gard and former players have mentioned the Badgers don’t win that game if it’s anywhere else.
The crowd in Milwaukee will be excited and fired up for this game. I’m not saying the Badgers should only rely on the crowd, however. They need to execute, get defensive stops, and get high percentage shots. It’s rare a team gets to play 80 miles from their campus and have it be a “neutral” site in the NCAA tournament. The Badgers earned the right to play in Milwaukee and they will definitely have the crowd on their side.
I think the Badgers have a great chance to have a nice night at the rim. I don’t see Colgate being able to defend players like Tyler Wahl and Steven Crowl. I also don’t think they can guard Johnny Davis. This is a veteran Colgate team, but they are not great on the defensive side of the ball either. On the other hand, Wisconsin is a really good defensive team, just not defending the three. Something has to give.
It’s also worth noting the Raiders have not lost since January 28 to Boston University. Regardless the team and the conference, that’s an impressive stat. However, Colgate hasn’t played the best competition either. I might be a little too optimistic, but I just can’t see the Badgers losing tonight.
Colgate will make shots. They’re too good of a three point shooting team to be cold for 40 minutes. I think the Badgers will get an early punch. How they respond will be key. If they can settle in and punch back, I think the Badgers have a good night in Milwaukee and advance to the Round of 32 Sunday.
Wisconsin 75 Colgate 67
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