MARCH MADNESS: Heartbreak!! Gators’ Chiozza’s Buzzer Beating 3-Pointer Ends Badger Run 84-83 In OT!🏀😢

MADISON SQUARE GARDEN, NY. Just as the Badgers’ season was about to end, senior guard Zach Showalter (14 pts.) hit an impossible 3-point shot, releasing behind the arc as he flew over it to send the Sweet Sixteen game into an unlikely overtime.

In overtime, the Badgers, without senior Vito Brown (10 pts.) who had fouled out, with star senior guard Bronson Koenig (13 pts.) hobbled with a leg injury, and with Ethan Happ  (21 pts.) nursing four fouls, dominated.  Following two free throws by senior forward Nigel Hayes (22 pts.) with 4 seconds remaining, the Badgers held a 83-81 lead and appeared headed to the Elite Eight.

But, the Gators’ junior guard Chris Chiozza returned Showalter’s favor, and then some, by hitting the almost identical shot as the buzzer sounded.  This time, however, the three pointer ended the game and set off a jubilant celebration for the Gators, as they, not the Badgers, moved on to the Elite Eight.

The stunned Badgers could do nothing but watch in dismay and disbelief.  They had squandered their chances.

With under a minute to go in OT, junior Kahlil Iverson (3 pts.) had a chance at a breakaway slam dunk that in all likelihood would have sealed the game. But, somehow, he allowed himself to be “stuffed” by less athletic Gator Canyon Barry (son of NBA great rick Barry).

And, this time, the Badgers’s crummy free throw shooting (20-30, 67%) cost them the game. Two more free throws down the stretch would have put them in the Elite Eight. Wisconsin also turned the ball over 16 times and committed an amazing 26 fouls to help seal their own fate.

Sophomore KeVaughn Allen led the Gators with a career-high 35 points.  While Chiozza had only 8 points, he scored the final five to secure the victory for the Gators.  Florida (27-9) moves on to play the upstart South Carolina Gamecocks (25-10) in Sunday’s Elite Eight matchup, with a trip to the Final Four on the line.

Meanwhile, the Badgers close their 2016-17 campaign at 27-10. But, for seniors Hayes, Koenig, Brown , and Showalter, who had gone to the Final Four twice in their illustrious careers, there will be no tomorrow, at least at Wisconsin.



MARCH MADNESS: Badgers Haunted, Motivated By Memories Of Last-Minute Meltdown & Loss To Irish In Last Year’s Sweet 16 — Get My “Instant Pregame Mini-Analysis Here!”🏀😎

Jim Polzin reports in the Madison Cap Times:

“The moment is fresh nearly 12 months later, partly because the pain still lingers for the members of the University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team.

But even if there were a way for the Badgers to wipe the memory of a 61-56 loss to Notre Dame to end the 2015-16 season from their brains, it wouldn’t matter because their coach keeps bringing it up.

“It should stay in their minds since we mention it about every week,” Greg Gard said. “We referred to Notre Dame more than any past opponent, I think, since I’ve been here in terms of how it ended.”

It didn’t end pretty for UW, which self-destructed in the final minute against the Fighting Irish and watched its season come to an abrupt end in the Sweet 16.

The Badgers (27-9) have arrived at the same step on the NCAA tournament ladder a year later. They’ll face Florida (26-8) on Friday night in an East region semifinal at Madison Square Garden in New York.”


Schmidt’s Instant Pregame Mini-Analysis

In an earlier post, I highlighted the factors that could allow Wisconsin to go all the way to the Final Four:  experience, inside play, and Bronson Koenig. All three of those strengths were on abundant display in the first two games as the Badgers downed #9 Virginia Tech and then upset #1 Villanova.

The Badgers also minimized two of the three weaknesses that I thought could make them an “early out:” offensive inconsistency and turnovers.

The other factor was horrible free throw shooting. While the Badgers did have horrible free throw shooting (43%) against Villanova, fortunately it didn’t cost them the game.  Ironically, Villanova, a much better free throw shooting team (71%) missed a key charity toss down the stretch which would have given them a one point lead and might have changed Wisconsin’s strategy last minute strategy of having Nigel Hayes drive for a two-pointer.

Florida plays tough defense.  So, in addition to maintaining offensive consistency and getting continued outstanding play from Koenig, Hayes, Ethan Happ, and Vito Brown, the Badgers will have to hold down the turnovers and sink their free throws to escape the Gators.

Tune in on Friday night @ 10:00 PM on TBS to see what happens, live from Madison Square Garden in NY!





MARCH MADNESS: WSJ: JASON GAY: Much Maligned Big10 Shines As ACC Tanks — Badgers, Wolverines, Boilermakers Storm Into “Sweet 16,” While Duke, UVA, FSU Stumble!🏀

Fellow Badger grad Jason Gay writes:

“I just wanted to enjoy my Monday. Was it too much to ask? The Wisconsin Badgers are back in college basketball’s Sweet 16 for the fourth straight time, having stunned top-seeded Villanova on Saturday—although I wasn’t the least bit stunned, I told you last week it would happen. I predicted Wisconsin all along. Hey Warren Buffett, where’s my million bucks?

It was even better. Not only did my Badgers win, but now they’re coming here—to New York City, my home, for the remainder of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament East Regional.

I was psyched. Psyched for my alma mater Wisconsin, psyched for an NYC invasion of Badger fans (hide your beer and cheese), psyched to parade into work Monday and be an insufferable doofus to all my Journal colleagues with busted brackets and wounded school pride. I was going to march in there with my giant Starbucks and red Bucky Badger sweatshirt, humming “On Wisconsin” and ruining everyone’s day.

I was going to be unbearable. And love every minute of it.

And then…them. You-know-who.


They’ve made the Sweet 16, too. They stunned two-seeded Louisville on Sunday.

It’s a nightmare.”


Yeah, it was almost, but not quite, enough to make me want to be back at the Arlington Immigration Court wearing my Bucky Badger tie (incorrectly identified as a “grinning weasel” by my dear former colleague Judge Rodger Harris) and whistling “On Wisconsin” and “Varsity” all day in my chambers and in the corridors of justice. All I can say is: