Wisconsin Beat Baylor

In what was quite the contrast of styles from even before tip off, Wisconsin were a bit too much in pretty much every way imaginable for Baylor, tearing the matchup zone to shreds through a great game by Frank Kaminsky and once again presenting a defense that seemed like it was a bit too much for a slightly shocked Bears team, losing 69-52.

Bo Ryan makes the Elite Eight for only the second time since taking over the post in Madison, hoping it’ll end up also being his first Final Four. I’m not sure he expected Kaminsky to be such a success this season, proving to be stellar on both ends of the floor for Wisconsin with 19 points on 8-of-11 from the field and 6 blocks on the other end.

All of Kaminsky’s field goals came from within the paint. The aggressive style from the Badgers made Baylor’s size and attempt to keep them away from the basket quite futile. Kaminsky scored 16 points on layups or dunks, and not just by waiting for someone to find him under the basket. He bulldozed opponents on his way to the hole more than a couple of times, while Baylor struggled to do anything similar on the other end.

Wisconsin didn’t force too many turnovers (only six), but they wouldn’t let Baylor get any clean looks at the basket, resulting in a 2-of-15 night from beyond the arc for Baylor and 31.6% from the field in general.  Baylor had only 18 points on layups and dunks, finding nothing easy going their way through a rough night, which also happens to be the team’s worst loss in tournament history.

Wisconsin really played a great game, and we did a very poor job in making things tough. They’re extremely hard to pressure and rattle. Once we got behind, we had to do some things we wished we didn’t have to do.

Baylor aren’t a team that can come back from the dead by shooting 3’s, yet they still tried, and failed. Meanwhile, Wisconsin also made Baylor give up on the zone after some big shots from Ben Brust, finishing with 14 points including three 3-pointers. Aside from some displays of athleticism and skill when they were finally able to get on the break, Baylor were outplayed through every stretch of the game.

And are Wisconsin good enough to make it all the way to the Final Four? Arizona are something different, but this Wisconsin teams believes it’s been through enough rough battles in a very tough conference to prepare them for anything that might come their way. Arizona are better than Baylor in every possible way, which simply means Bo Ryan might have to change his gameplan a little bit, knowing Kaminsky won’t be having such an easy time getting to the hoop against the Wildcats. It doesn’t make his run and rise any more impressive.

That would be a very special thing to do, but we also know that he’s not going to let us look too far ahead. When that time comes, we’ll handle it. I’d definitely like to do that for him. We’d be honored to be part of that.

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