STATE BASKETBALL ROUNDUP: Badgers earn a two seed, start NCAA tourney play in Milwaukee
MADISON -- Wisconsin earned the Number-two seed in the West Region of the N-C-A-A men's basketball tournament. The Badgers will play Number-15 American University of Washington D-C at 11:40 on Thursday morning in Milwaukee's B-M-O Harris Bradley Center. Tru T-V will televise that game, as four networks will again televise every N-C-A-A contest. U-W Milwaukee was given the 15th seed in the East Region. The Panthers, winners of the Horizon League tournament, will play Number-Two Villanova at 8:25 on Thursday night in Buffalo New York. T-B-S will show it.
The 26-and-7 Badgers had a top-quality resume with wins over Number-One seeds Florida and Virginia. But Arizona beat out Wisconsin for the top draw in the West. That gives the Badgers a match-up against Patriot League champion American, which is 20-and-12 in its third Big Dance. Bo Ryan's Wisconsin team made the tournament in each of his 13 seasons in Madison. Seventh-seeded Oregon and Number-10 B-Y-U is the other Milwaukee game in the West bracket. The winners of both contests will face each other Saturday in the second round.
Milwaukee was one of the last automatic bids announced, with a 127-R-P-I ranking assuring its low 15th seed. The Panthers are 21-and-13 in their first Big Dance since 2006, and will play a Villanova team that's 28-and-4 after winning its first Big East season title since 1982. Panthers' guard Matt Tiby expects his team to pressure 'Nova's top scorers James Bell, Jay Vaughn Pinkston, and Darrun Hillard.
In Thursday night's matchups in Milwaukee, Big Ten champion Michigan plays Wofford. And Texas will take on Arizona State. Those games are in the Midwest Regional. The winners face each other Saturday.
The U-W Green Bay men were given a Number-four seed in the N-I-T Field-of-64. They'll host Belmont tomorrow night in an opening-round contest. The winner will play either Saint John's of the Big East or Robert Morris in the second round. Green Bay is 24-and-6 after winning the Horizon League regular season crown. The Phoenix were among the last four teams considered for the N-C-A-A Field-of-68 -- but they were hurt by a semi-final loss to Milwaukee in their conference tournament.
The Marquette men will not play in the post-season for the first time in 13 years. After the N-I-T excluded the Golden Eagles from their field of 64, associate athletic director Mike Broeker tweeted that Marquette would not accept a bid from any other tournament -- like the College Basketball Invitational -- and its season is over. The N-I-T selection committee was less than impressed with Marquette's 17-and-15 record and five straight losses to end the season, including a defeat to Xavier in last week's Big East tourney.
The U-W Green Bay women will learn their post-season fate tonight. The Phoenix lost at home yesterday in the title game of the Horizon League Tournament, 88-69 to Wright State. Green Bay led by six at the intermission. Wright State scored the first 11 points of the second half to go in front for good. The Phoenix stayed close until Wright State closed out the game on a 25-8 run in which Green Bay only scored one field goal. Tay'er Mingo scored 31 points to give the Raiders the Horizon League's automatic berth in the N-C-A-A Tournament. Freshman Mehryn Kraker had 19 points and 12 rebounds for Green Bay, which won the league's regular season title outright. The Phoenix committed 24 turnovers, as they dropped to 22-and-9 overall.
__________________The U-W Whitewater men's and women's basketball teams will both play in their national Final Fours this weekend. The Warhawk men will face Illinois Wesleyan on Friday night in the semi-finals of the N-C-A-A Division-Three men's tournament in Salem Virginia. The winner will play either Amherst or Williams College for the national championship on Saturday night. The Whitewater women will take on Whitman College of Washington State on Friday night in Stevens Point, which is hosting the Women's Final Four. That winner will play either Tufts or Fairleigh Dickinson-Florham on Saturday night for the national crown. The Whitewater women made their Final Four for the second straight season. They advanced with a 17-point quarter-final win at DePauw on Saturday night. The Warhawk men are going for their second national title in three years. Whitewater advanced with a 74-to-51 victory over Emory of Georgia on Saturday night.
The Milwaukee Bucks have a four-game losing streak, after falling at home to Charlotte yesterday 101-to-92. Former Buck Gary Neal hit a three-pointer with 1:06 left to help seal the Bobcats' victory. Neal went 6-for-6 from the free throw line and a pair of treys to score 18 on the afternoon. He was dealt from Milwaukee close to the mid-February trade deadline. Kemba Walker scored 21 for Charlotte, which led by two going into the fourth quarter before pulling away. The Bobcats out-shot Milwaukee 57-to-41 percent. Charlotte won despite committing 17 turnovers to the Bucks' nine. Five Milwaukee players scored in double figures, led by Brandon Knight with 21. Ersan Ilyasova missed his second game in his last four with a lingering right ankle injury. The Bucks are now 13-and-54, with 15 games left. Their next four will be out West, starting tomorrow night at Portland.