West – No. 2 Wisconsin vs. No. 15 American

Posted Mar 16, 2014

2014 NCAA Tournament Preview, Breakdown & Pick: West Region – No. 2 Wisconsin vs. No. 15 American

- 60-Second Video Analysis On Each Team

Line: Wisconsin -14
Why To Pick American: This is just the type of sluggish team that could play around with a Badger team that has no problems bogging down and getting into the half court game. Wisconsin doesn't move the ball around quite as well as you'd think, and it doesn't create a slew of turnovers. If the Eagles can control the clock, and if they're careful with the ball and hit their threes, they could make this interesting.
Why To Pick Wisconsin: The Badgers are better and more explosive offensively than you might think. American doesn't have any offense whatsoever when it's not bombing away, and while it's ultra-efficient shooting the ball, it'll be one-and-done on the boards.
The Pick: Wisconsin 70-55. American will keep the score and the game slow and go, and then the Badgers will go on a second half run the Eagles won't be able to answer for.

Wisconsin Badgers
Head coach: Bo Ryan Record: 26-7 Conference: Big Ten

What You Need To Know: The Badgers might not always be pretty, but this year's version can score and is far more explosive than past Bo Ryan squads. They lull teams to sleep by being patient on offense, and they boast a roster of players who can knock down open jumpers with the shot clock winding down. UW doesn't make many mistakes with the ball, and every player on the floor can drain three-pointers if defenders give them too much room. Sam Dekker is a strong forward who can get to the bucket but also has a bit of range, and like all Badgers, he can rebound. Big Frank Kaminsky is a stretch 4 who will pull opponents away from the rim, but he also can operate on the low block. Guards Traevon Jackson and Ben Brust are good passers and decent outside shooters who are tenacious on defense.
Strengths: Assist-Turnover Ratio, Free Throws, Three Point Shooting
Weaknesses: Steals, Assists, Blocked Shots
How Far Will They Go?: This might be a dangerous Badger team with the offensive firepower to match up better with the strong offensive teams, but it'll struggle mightily with the BYU-Oregon offense in the next round and won't get past Baylor in the Sweet 16.

American Eagles
Head coach: Mike Brennan Record: 20-12 Conference: Patriot League

What You Need To Know: The Eagles won 20 games this year … How? American averaged 64.2 points a game, which ranks 316 out of 345 teams in Division I, and the team ranks 340th in the country in rebounding. The answer is two-fold. First, the Eagles play suffocating defense and never let teams get into a rhythm. Second, they are efficient with the ball and rank among the top shooting teams in the country. When it comes to putting points on the board, the Eagles are patient and feature a pair of quality distributors in Darius Gardner and Tony Wroblicky. Gardner is the prototypical point guard, but Wroblicky is a 6-10 center whose passing sets him apart. American's offense uses him as a hub, and he often finds sophomore guard Jesse Reed either slashing to the basket or open on the perimeter. Reed is one of three starters who shoot better than 50 percent from the floor.
Strengths: Scoring Defense, Interior Shooting, Three Point Shooting
Weaknesses: Turnover Margin, Scoring, Turnover Margin
How Far Will They Go?: It'll be a plucky first round battle with Wisconsin before bowing out. There just isn't enough offense.