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Wisconsin vs. Baylor: How to watch & open thread

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Two more wins and the Badgers earn the right to cut down a very large net.

Tom Lynn

After sweeping the first four rounds in the NCAA Tournament, the No. 4 Wisconsin Badgers will face No. 1 Baylor in the first of tonight’s national semifinal matches. The winner plays for their first national championship in program history. The loser waits until they unwrap presents to get anything.

How to watch/listen

TV: ESPN, 6:00 p.m., CT.

Streaming: WatchESPN

Radio/Satellite: 1310 AM, Jon Arias

Live stats: Here

Arena: PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh PA

Fun Facts

  • This is Baylor’s first national semi-final appearance. It’s their first time being the top seed. It was their first time hosting a regional.
  • This is Wisconsin’s third national semi-final. The won their previous two appearances in 2013 against No. 1 Texas and 2000 against No. 2 Southern Cal. Their final game performances haven’t been as good, losing to No. 1 Nebraska, 3-2, in 2000, and second-seeded Penn State, 3-1, in 2013.
  • Wisconsin sold out all 17 home matches this season after opening up an additional thousand seats.
  • Over a third of the AVCA First-Team All Americans will be on the court for this game in Wisconsin’s Dana Rettke and Sydney Hilley, and Baylor’s Hannah Lockin, Yossiana Pressley and Shelly Stafford.
  • UW continues its blocking dominance in NCAA tournament play, outblocking all four opponents. The Badgers are averaging 3.50 blocks per set in NCAA play with three players averaging 1.0-or-more blocks per set.
  • Wisconsin has swept all four NCAA tournament opponents and also swept Rutgers on Nov. 30 to win the Big Ten championship. The Badgers have won 15-straight sets, their longest set-winning streak of the season.
  • Hilley had 31 helpers vs. Nebraska to bring her career total to 4,059 helpers and needs 17 assists to move into the top five at Wisconsin, a position currently held by All-American Morgan Shields (1999-03) with 4,076 helpers.

If you’re late to the Wisconsin volleyball train, welcome. You’re about to be the special kind of drunk that doesn’t require any alcohol. The part of your mind that has any idea what’s happening, where you understand blitz schemes and the swing offense? It can’t help you anymore. The attacks move too quickly for understanding, and all you’re left with is the deeply-rooted emotional attachment for people wearing ‘Wisconsin’ on their uniforms, creating a wonderful elixir of panic, hope and confusion.

Can’t wait. CAN’T WAIT.

If you are looking for some like minded individuals to watch the game with and you still live in Madison...well, there are a pair of watch parties happening on campus that will probably be pretty electric.