March Madness Day 1 Live From Milwaukee
#2 Wisconsin Badgers vs 15 American University Eagles
The Wisconsin Badgers had the many fans who came to Milwaukee to see them play very happy. The Badgers kicked off the games at the Bradley Center with the biggest tournament win in the history of the program. Once Wisconsin ended the first half on a 22-5 run led by Ben Burst scoring 11 points in the final 9:17, American was actually still in the game even though they were down 10 at half.
However, after Wisconsin score 28 of the first 32 points in the second half to extend that run to 50-9 overall, it was all she wrote for American. The Badgers had three players in double figures in Sam Dekker, Ben Brust, and Traevon Jackson wholes all scorers with 18.
American had a difficult time getting anything going offensively. They went on about a 15 minute stretch without scoring from the end of the first half well into the second half. John Schoof scored 11 points for the Eagles but unfortunately eight of those were the first eight of the game for American.
In the end Wisconsin was just too much for American. The Badgers well well prepared and it showed as they held American to a season low 35 points. The Badgers took this one 75-35 and will play Oregon on Saturday. Coach Bo Ryan said his team will be ready to face the distraction of playing in front of a home crowd due to great senior leadership.
#7 Oregon Ducks vs #10 BYU Cougars
Sometimes a homecoming is everything you want and more. That was the case for Oregon’s Elgin Cook who is from Milwaukee. Cook had a career high 23 points for the Ducks in the victory. Here is what Head Coach Dana Altman had to say about him in the post game press conference:
“Elgin Cook had a great game,” Oregon coach Dana Altman said. “He finished everything down low.”
There were lots and lots of foul calls in the game with the teams combining to shoot 68 free throws. Oregon played well as a team though and never let go of the lead after taking it early in the game when it was 4-2. BYU did make a run to get the game within three in the second half but the Ducks went on a 22-6 run after that to ice the game. It was a very tough game shooting for BYU who was held to 32.8% shoot from the floor.
Even though Mike Moser had foul trouble, the Ducks were still able to get the big win thanks to a season high 49 points off the bench. After getting the opening day win, the Ducks will face off against Wisconsin in what really amounts to a road game. The players said in the post game press conference that they would be ready though and they have played well on the road all year.
#2 Michigan Wolverines vs #15 Wofford Terriers
Michigan didn’t play their best game but when they needed to, they turned it up a couple notches on Wofford and the Terriers just couldn’t keep pace.
Wofford made it’s first two shots of the game but went ice cold after that missing their next 10 shots. Michigan fell behind 4-0 to start the game but went on a run to take a 20-8 lead in the first half. Once the Wolverines got going, they really got shots wherever they wanted on the court. They were led by Nik Stauskas’ 15 points and Glenn Robinson III chipped in 14 points with 11 of the 14 coming in the second half. Robinson seemed aggressive out there and said he wanted to assert himself on the offensive end. However, he did say that it wasn’t because of the game being played in the building where his dad was an NBA star.
In the end, Michigan was just too talented for Wofford to handle. Wofford got good looks but just couldn’t knock down shots and were held to their lowest point total of the season. Terriers G Karl Cochran said it best:
“Sometimes it just isn’t your night shooting. We had good looks but just didn’t make them.”
Michigan advances after winning 57-40. They will take on Texas on Saturday.
#7 Texas Longhorns vs #10 Arizona State Sun Devils
There was some March Madness magic in Milwaukee in this one.
Texas controlled this one most of the way through but could never quite put the nail in the coffin of Arizona State. The Longhorns had a halftime lead thanks in large part to strong play off the bench. The Longhorns were also able to control the tempo of the first half by getting out in transition and scoring points on fast breaks.
Even though they led most of the way, the never could seem to quite put the final fork in Arizona State. The Sun Devils put together a run to climb back into the game, powered by the three point shot. ASU shot 8/15 from beyond the arc for the game which was key because Cameron Ridley was making his presence felt around the rim. When asked about the run that the Sun Devils went on Cameron Ridley said that the team really showed it’s character by sticking together during the game tonight.
Ridley finished the game with 17 points, 12 rebounds and added 4 blocks with his most important bucket coming to win the game for the Longhorns 87-85. After Jonathan Holmes badly missed a three pointer, Ridley brought it in and got the shot to drop as time expired that will send the Longhorns to the next round where they will face Michigan. When asked about going through an ending like that. ASU star Jordan Bachynski who had 25 points and 7 rebounds had this to say:
”It’s a tough one, it’s a tough way to end the game and end my career,” Bachynski said.
On the winning side, Demarcus Holland just might have had the quote of the day when he said:
“That game winning shot by Cam was a great feeling. Welcome to March Madness.”