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NCAA Tournament, Wisconsin vs. Iowa State: how to watch, game preview and open thread

The Badgers and Cyclones meet on Sunday evening with a Sweet 16 berth on the line.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament First Round Milwaukee - Colgate vs Wisconsin Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

In a matchup that neither team’s fanbase thought they’d be in at the beginning of the year, the 3-seed Wisconsin Badgers and the 11-seed Iowa State Cyclones will do battle on Sunday evening with a trip to the Sweet 16 on the line. The Badgers enter the game having staved up a valiant upset attempt by the Colgate Raiders in round one while the Clones held off the higher-seeded LSU Tigers to advance to the next round.

Wisconsin entered the season with a number of question marks after losing five seniors from last year’s disappointing squad. The Cyclones entered the season with a brand new coach and a new-look roster after having only won two games the year prior. If you had bet that one of these teams would be in the Sweet 16 at the beginning of the year, you’d probably be quite rich right now.

Both of these teams hang their hats on the defensive side of the court. ISU is ranked No. 8 in the nation in defensive efficiency, while the Badgers clock in at No. 36, according to KenPom. The Cyclones defense pesters ball-handlers and turns them over with a regularity. In fact, they have the fourth best turnover percentage in the country on defense. Unfortunately for them, Wisconsin is the best team in the country in NOT turning the ball over.

While Wisconsin’s offense isn’t exactly being run by Frank Kaminsky, Josh Gasser, Traevon Jackson and Sam Dekker this year, it is much more efficient than Iowa State’s unit. The Clone struggle to get to the free throw line and, when they do get there, they aren’t very good at making their freebies. They also turn the ball over a lot and aren’t great at shooting threes (although Wisconsin is worse lol).

Iowa State relies heavily on their starters, although not as heavily as Wisconsin does, so foul trouble is going to be a bigger deal in this game than many others. Another thing to note is that ISU is not a tall team. They have no players in their rotation taller than 6-foot-9 and while the Badgers don’t exactly have a rim-protector on the roster, there could be opportunities for some blocked shots Sunday night.

This game has all the makings of a, uh, rough watch for neutral fans. There is going to be good defense, there are going to be missed shots, there are going to be scoring droughts. It won’t be aesthetically pleasing, and it will almost assuredly be close, but the Badgers have thrived in those situations all season so why would this game be any different?

How to watch/listen

TV: TNT, 5:10 p.m. CT, Spero Dedes, Deb Antonelli, AJ Ross

Streaming: March Madness app; March Madness Live

Radio/Satellite: WIBA 1310 AM, Sirius/XM 84; Matt Lepay, Mike Lucas; Westwood One, Jason Benetti, Will Perdue

Live stats: Here!

Arena: Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee, Wis.

DraftKings Line: Wisconsin -4.5
(Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See for details.)

KenPom Wisconsin win percentage: 52%
Torvik Wisconsin win percentage: 54%

Fun facts (according to the media guides)

  • With their win over Colgate, Wisconsin advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the sixth time in its last seven trips to The Big Dance and the 12th time in the last 14 appearances.
  • Wisconsin has won 15 NCAA tournament games since 2014, the second-most among Big Ten teams and eighth-highest total in the nation, their 35 wins since 2000 have the same rankings too.
  • Only Kentucky (seven) has gone to more Sweet 16s since 2011 than Wisconsin (six). Duke, Kansas, North Carolina, Gonzaga, Michigan are the only other schools with six Sweet 16s since 2011.
  • Greg Gard’s six NCAA Tournament wins rank second in UW history, trailing only Bo Ryan (25 wins).
  • The Badgers are 3-1 all-time against No. 11 seeds, defeating Richmond, 76-64, in 2004, Northern Iowa, 57-52, in 2005 and Kansas State, 72-55, in 2008. The Badgers only loss came to Georgia State, 50-49, in 2001.
  • The Badgers are now 13-3 away from home this season, going 9-2 in true road games and 4-1 at neutral sites.
  • The Badgers and Cyclones will meet for the first time in 41 years in Sunday’s second-round NCAA tournament matchup.
  • Iowa State leads the all-time series, 5-3, including wins in each of the last two meetings.
  • Iowa State G Tyrese Hunter is a product of St. Catherine’s High School in Racine, as is Wisconsin assistant coach Sharif Chambliss. I was also informed this week that St. Catherine’s eliminated my brother-in-law’s high school from the state tournament 18 (???) years ago, so this one is personal.
  • Wisconsin sophomore G Isaac Lindsey spent his freshman season in 2020-21 at UNLV under head coach T.J. Otzelberger, who is now in his first season as head coach at Iowa State.
  • Otzelberger is a native of Milwaukee (Thomas More High School) and played his college ball at UW-Whitewater.
  • Iowa State assistant coach JR Blount also is a Milwaukee native (Dominican High School).
  • With one three-point make, Brad Davison will move into a tie for fifth place on the Wisconsin all-time single season three-pointers made list. With 10 three-pointers, Davison will move into tenth on the Big Ten career list for three-pointers made. Hopefully he is challenging for that second record.
  • Iowa State earned win No. 21 of their season on Friday. ISU is +19 in the win column this season compared to last, the best turnaround in school and Big 12 history and the best-ever by a team led by a first-year head coach.
  • The Cyclones are 20-20 all-time in the NCAA Tournament.
  • All-time, ISU is 2-4 (2-1 NCAA Tournament; 0-3 at Marquette) in games played in Milwaukee.

Potential Starters


  • Johnny Davis, 6-foot-5, sophomore, guard, No. 1
  • Tyler Wahl, 6-foot-9, junior, forward, No. 5
  • Steven Crowl, 7-foot, sophomore, forward, No. 22
  • Chucky Hepburn, 6-foot-2, freshman, guard, No. 23
  • Brad Davison, 6-foot-4, super senior, guard, No. 34

Iowa State

  • Izaiah Brockington, 6-foot-4, senior, guard, No. 1
  • Aljaz Kunc, 6-foot-8, senior, forward, No. 5
  • Tyrese Hunter, 6-foot, freshman, guard, No. 11
  • Robert Jones, 6-foot-9, junior, forward, No. 12
  • Gabe Kalscheur, 6-foot-4, senior, guard, No. 22