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Five reasons Wisconsin wins the 2014 NCAA Tournament

2014 NCAA Tourney Handicapping

The Wisconsin Badgers are headed to the Final Four for the first time since 2000, on Saturday, and the only thing stands between them and their second NCAA Tournament title is Kentucky. [ad-4468020]

The Badgers haven’t won the tournament since 1941, but have found themselves just two wins away from grabbing their second title in school history.

Bo Ryan is perhaps the best coach in college basketball who had yet to reach a Final Four, even though he’s guided his defensive-minded teams to 14 consecutive NCAA tournament appearances and a few top-4 Big Ten Conference finishes.

There is something diffident about this year’s Wisconsin team, however,  perhaps it’s because its offense, which is as potent as it’s ever been. Or maybe it’s simply because the Badgers are multi-faceted, as they showed in their 64-63 overtime win against top-seeded Arizona.

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Trying to figure out that one thing that makes this Badgers team a favorite to win this year’s NCAA Tournament is hard to do,  so to make it easy, here are the top five reasons Wisconsin wins it all.

5. The Badgers are just plain good.

A Big Ten team has not won a national championship since Michigan State did so in 2000, but the Badgers, I believe, are every bit as good as that Spartans team — maybe even better.
This team possesses so much more than just talent and skill, they have a  synergy and solidarity that is going to be the difference-maker.

4. Frank Kaminsky.

Plain and simple, Wisconsin’s big man has become one of the NCAA tournament’s stars. A first-team All-Big Ten selection, he has been an unstoppable inside and out, scoring 28 points and grabbing 11 rebounds against Arizona in the West Regional final.
The junior center is averaging 22 points and 6.7 rebounds in his last three tournament games and stretches the floor, allowing space for guards Traevon Jackson, Ben Brust and Josh Gasser to go to work.

3. Defense.

The old adage that offense wins games but defense winds championships is totally in play with the Badgers, who even though they struggled offensively against Arizona, were able to hang around with its  tough and gritty man-to-man defense.
That should carry over enough in the next two games to win the national championship, even if the Badger offense should sputter.

2.The outside attack.

Nearly every player on this squad can toss up a three-pointer pretty accurately, giving the Badgers an inside-out capability that is tough for any defense to matchup up against.

Arizona was one of the best three-point defenses in the country and they got beat.

1.In the zone.

The Badgers are playing lights out. But not only in the tournament, but all season long as well.  It’s really hard to bet against a team that’s this hot.

Finally, bear in mind that Wisconsin has beaten at least one Final Four team — Florida.

And split a pair of wins with Michigan and Michigan State during the regular season, both of which gave Final Four contenders UConn and Kentucky  a run for their money in the Elite Eight.

Below we make a case for all teams in the Final 4.


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