MBB: Get to know Oregon’s first round opponent: No. 5 Wisconsin

Oregon opens up the NCAA Tournament with a first round game against No. 5 Wisconsin in the South Region

When it comes to Wisconsin, Ethan Happ is the only name anybody needs to know about, he’s that good. A potential all-American, Happ puts up video game-like numbers with 17.5 points, 10.1 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 1.1 steals per game — all team highs.

What makes Happ so special is his ability to use his 6-foot-10 frame to back opponents down with old school post moves or step out and hit the outside jumper. He also has great vision for a big man and will often wait for the double teams to come before finding the open man.

More often than not, the recipients of Happ’s passing are guards D’Mitrik Trice and Brad Davison, the only other Badgers to be averaging double figures.

Davison has led the Badgers in scoring in seven games this season, the most of any player outside of Happ, while averaging 10.7 points per game on 36.6-percent shooting from three-point territory. He’s capable of going off on a massive scoring spree, posting scoring games of 21, 24 and 26 so far this season.

Trice is the knockdown shooter, connecting on 40-percent of his attempts from beyond the arc while averaging 11.7 points per game. If he’s capable of knocking down his open attempts, it really forces defenses to spread the floor and opens up the game for Happ to work down low.

Nate Reuvers and Khalil Iverson are also role players who’ve shown the potential to do more. Reuvers led the Badgers with 22 points and 10 rebounds in a win over Illinois while Iverson dropped 22 and 14 in an overtime win over Ohio State less than two weeks ago.

Where Wisconsin does do well on offense is not turning the ball over, only averaging 9.5 per game. But that’s where it ends as they struggle to find open shots and have no one outside of Happ who can consistently create their own offense.

What Wisconsin lacks offensively (69.1 points per game), the Badgers more than make up for it defensively, holding opponents to 61.4 points per game, ninth best in the country. Opponents shoot 39.-3 percent from the floor and 31.2-percent from beyond the arc against Wisconsin, turning the ball over 11.3 times per game.

Using a combination of a matchup zone and man-to-man defense, the Badgers consistently frustrate opponents into taking bad and contested shots. They do a good job of denying far out into the perimeter to force offenses out of rhythm and their typical court placement.

The Badgers (23-10, 14-6 Big-10) finished in fourth place in a deep Big-10 conference, two games behind conference champions Michigan State and Purdue. They have good wins over Michigan, Iowa and Maryland but losses to Virginia, Michigan State, Purdue and Marquette.

Overall, Wisconsin is 7-8 against NCAA tournament teams on the season, including a 10-8 mark in Quadrant 1 and 5-2 against Quadrant 2

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