#6 Notre Dame vs. #7 Wisconsin.
Maybe they had an easy run, but I’d like to think both Michigan and Stephen F. Austin were tricky teams that each had their chances to win. In fact, had it not been for a last-second tip, Notre Dame wouldn’t even be here. And Wisconsin used a furious rally to overcome a sizable lead as well.
Led by Demetrius Jackson and Zach Auguste, the Fighting Irish play a deliberate game and use good perimeter shooting to stretch the floor. While they don’t have a big man similar to Luke Harangody, Jack Cooley, or Torin Francis, they have several long bodies with range. Guys like Martin Geben, Austin Burgett, and Matt Ryan aren’t used as much but all are at least 6’8 and can play.
Look for Steve Vasturia to be a guy that can make a difference. Bonzie Colson also has the ability, though he doesn’t have as much range as other 3’s. V.J. Beacham is that guy that could potentially stretch Wisconsin’s defense.
Wisconsin has gotten a lot out of their roster since Bo Ryan abruptly quit. Nigel Hayes was expected to be a star for this team after he spurned the NBA when Frank Kaminsky graduated and Sam Dekker went early. It hasn’t been that easy, but he’s been productive. He’s needed help from Bronson Koenig, Ethan Happ, and Vitto Brown.
This will be an eventful game if you are looking for scoring Wisconsin won’t push the ball. They will look for open shots out of half court sets and do their best to control the pace of the game. Jordan Hill, Khalil Iverson, and Charlie Thomas are other guys off the bench that will help provide energy and productivity.
If this comes to big shots or ability to get it done down low, then Wisconsin will be favored. If Notre Dame can get out and get running some then this favor the Fighting Irish. One way or another, we know that this game will be close all the way till the end.