- Elena Bergeron
The Wisconsin Badgers have always made it through the Big Ten on grit and slide-steps, to make up for their struggle-to-60 offensive style. But in a second-round strangling Sunday, Xavier gave Wisconsin a taste of that ol' ball-deflating magic. Trevon Hughes' layup with 17:20 to go capped a 6-1 run for the Badgers at the start of the second half, putting Wisconsin up 33-26 -- a nothing run in a game between say, North Carolina and Louisville, but a potential death knell for these shot-clock-chewing squads. Knowing that getting over a double-digit lead is as unlikely as a slumdog knowing the name of the third musketeer, Sean Miller called a full timeout to regroup. And out of that game-changing TO came perhaps the best defensive stance of the tourney so far, something for Pitt to spend a few days thinking deep thoughts about.
With 6-foot-8 forward Derrick Brown flopping after loose balls and 6-5 point guard Dante Jackson helping to deny the post, the Musketeers used their length to impose a damning second-half drought that saw the Badgers rattle 13 3-point attempts and shoot 18 percent from the field.
The Musketeers suffocated Wisconsin on Sunday. Next up: a much more difficult task.