Badgers say Sweet 16 loss will burn for a long time

Wisconsin’s dream run to a third-straight Final Four was cut short on Friday night with a tough 61-56 loss to Notre Dame. Despite leading with less than a minute to go, a couple of late turnovers and missed opportunities spelled defeat for the Badgers.

The Badgers, to say the least, were upset after the game. “This team has come a long way this year,” said Zak Showalter, “but right now it’s tough to focus on that. Obviously, we wanted more.”

“We just started moving in slow motion down the stretch, that’s all I can say,” added Vitto Brown. “They earned the win, but we gave it away as well.”

Turnovers were a key issue for the Badgers, who coughed up the ball 17 times in the game, including three integral ones late. “We were feeling like we had them where we wanted them,” said Jordan Hill, who played key minutes off the bench. “We just never cleaned up the turnovers.”

Now, the Badgers will look to next year, and a team that is returning nearly everyone (minus Jordan Smith, and pending no one leaving for the draft). Still, the loss stings, and plays as a major motivator for next year.

“I don’t know about everyone else,” told Hill, “but I’m pissed, and I’m gonna work hard this offseason.”

“We feel like we’re gonna be a much better team from the start next year, no question,” said Bronson Koenig, whose 8-point performance was quiet compared to the loud exclamation point he had against Xavier on Sunday night. “The goal next year is a national championship, just like it was this year.”

Still, there’s no doubt this loss hurts. “We overcame a lot of adversity in the game and were up, so to lose in the end is gut wrenching,” added Hill.

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