March Madness Day 3 Live From Milwaukee
#2 Michigan Wolverines vs #7 Texas Longhorns
The biggest question coming into this game was how would Michigan hand Cameron Ridley down low?
I guess the answer to that question is make 14 three pointers. Michigan seemed like they just couldn’t miss from beyond the arc shooting 50% for the game. Michigan was in control from the start when they got off to a 27-12 lead. Strangely, Texas did not work the ball into their big man Cameron Ridley much at all early. He didn’t get his second shot of the game until 2:53 left to go in the first half.
Texas Coach Rick Barnes tried to mix things up with a zone going with a 1-3-1 and a 2-3 matchup zone but it just wasn’t working For what it’s worth though, Barnes didn’t think that the Longhorns lost because of the three point shot:
“We didn’t lose the game because of the 14 three pointers. We lost because of all the easy shots we missed and missed opportunities out there”
I don’t know how many Longhorn fans agree with that assessment. Michigan looked great this week though and got balanced scoring with four players in double digits scoring for the game on the way to the 79-65 win. On his way to back to back Sweet 16s, Coach John Beilen had this to say:
“This is what my staff and I envisioned when coming to Michigan”
#2 Wisconsin Badgers vs #7 Oregon Ducks
In the first half of this one, it didn’t seem like Wisconsin would send all the fans that traveled with them home happy.
Good thing basketball has a second half. In the first half, Oregon really controlled the pace of the game. Oregon had 19 points in the first half propelling them to a 49-37 halftime lead. They got strong play from the bench just like game one of the tournament, getting 14 first half points from Jason Calliste. Going into halftime Wisconsin was reeling and really looked rattled.
What a difference halftime can make. Head Coach Bo Ryan, who was in good spirits after the win had this to say about his comments to the team at halftime:
“I asked the guys who was the best defensive player on the team. Everyone looked around and I said that I was the best defensive player on the team because I got that tech and got them to miss a free throw. I got a stop.”
I guess that worked for them because the Badgers got off on a 17-6 run to start the second half. Traditionally you don’t think of Wisconsin as an offensive team, but offense won the day for them as they had all five starters in double digits led by Frank Kaminsky scoring 19. Once the Badgers got the crowd back into and rocking it really lifted the team’s spirits. Each player and Coach Ryan commented on how the crowd was a big factor for them throughout the game. Credit Oregon with weathering the storm from the Badgers and the crowd though as Joseph Young was a standout with 29 points.
After sending their fans home happy with the 85-77 win, the Badgers will head to the Sweet 16.