The University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team (18–12, 10–10 Big Ten) concluded their season Sunday afternoon after losing to the No. 1 seeded Baylor Bears (24–2, 13–1 Big 12) in the round of 32.
The Badgers came up just shy of the Sweet 16 this season after winning their first NCAA tournament game since 2017.
The Badgers rostered three true seniors and four redshirt seniors this season, one of the most veteran teams to play college basketball.
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Round of 64: North Carolina
Wisconsin started the tournament by cruising past Coach Roy Williams and the North Carolina Tar Heels (18–11, 10–6 ACC) in the round of 64 at Mackey Arena.
Roy Williams was 29–0 in the opening round of the NCAA tournament, and at the same time Wisconsin was 4–42 all time at Mackey Arena
The Badgers win defied both statistics, handing Coach Williams his first round of 64 loss while collecting a rare Badger win at Mackey Arena.
Wisconsin’s 85–62 victory was fueled by Brad Davison’s red-hot shooting from beyond the arc. Davison was five-for-seven from distance and finished with 29 points.
D’Mitrik Trice provided the perfect complement at the guard position. Trice poured in 21 points and three assists. The Badger guards combined for 50 points, 11 rebounds and four assists in the opening round game.
The Badger guards simply outplayed those of North Carolina, however, some credit for the win goes to the Badger big men as well who out-rebounded the Tar Heels 37–34.
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Many experts believed the Tar Heels’ huge front court was going to dominate against the Badgers, but Wisconsin proved to be battle-tested from playing against the great big men of the Big Ten all season. The Tar Heels rotation of forwards was nothing new for the Badgers, and Bucky danced on to the next round, winning 85-62.
Round of 32: Baylor
Wisconsin was done no favors by the selection committee as they faced the Baylor Bears in the round of 32.
The difference in the game was 14 turnovers for Wisconsin. Free throws did not help either, as Baylor converted 13 more free throws than Wisconsin in a game the Bears won by 13 points.
Besides turnovers and free throws, the game was evenly split and well-fought on both sides.
Both teams shot the ball 45.5% from the floor and each team also converted on eight three-pointers. The rebounding margin was very tight as well, only favoring the Badgers by two (32–30).
Distribution of the basketball was very sound on both ends as well, Wisconsin finished with 13 assists and Baylor finished with 15.
In the end, it was the guard play of Baylor that was too much for Wisconsin to handle. Davion Mitchell scored an efficient 16 points on eight shot attempts and dished a total of eight assists. Jared Butler finished with 16 points and collected four rebounds in the process. The pair also combined for three of Baylor’s six steals.
The Badgers fought diligently but ultimately ended their season on a final score of 63–76 in favor of the Bears.
This marks the end of an era. Aleem Ford, Nate Reuvers, Potter and Trice have already expressed their gratitude for the University of Wisconsin and announced they will be moving on from college basketball. The team is still waiting to hear announcements from the other seniors on the team.