Despite falling behind by as much as nine points with six minutes left, No. 7 Wisconsin fought back on the strength of a game-winning corner three as time expired from junior guard Bronson Koenig to upset No. 2 Xavier, 66–63, and advance to the Sweet 16 in the East. Koenig led the way for the Badgers with 20 points. He had two huge threes in the final 11 seconds to tie and then win the game. Freshman forward Ethan Happ scored 18 points and added seven rebounds. For the Musketeers, junior forward Jalen Reynolds scored 13 points, including a three-dunk spree to start the second half.
Why It Matters
Wisconsin found its new Frank Kaminsky. Happ, the 6'9" freshman from Illinois, plays a very similar game to Frank the Tank, and went up against him often in practice last year as a redshirt. The combination of Happ’s inside skill with Koenig’s experience and clutch shooting is one that few teams match. With veterans from last year’s run to the championship game like junior forward Nigel Hayes (six points and eight rebounds), and contributions from 6'8" junior Vitto Brown (12 points), the Badgers can follow the same formula that took them to the precipice of a championship. There’s a new star in Madison, but with its familiar faces, there’s the same recipe for success.
On Friday in Philadelphia, Wisconsin will take on No. 6 Notre Dame. The Irish foiled would-be Cinderella Stephen F. Austin, 76-75, earlier Sunday.