The Badgers and the Gators will clash in the Sweet Sixteen on Friday night in New York City. Wisconsin beat Virginia Tech and then stunned Villanova on their way to the second weekend. Florida pummeled ETSU and then stifled Virginia on their way to the Sweet Sixteen. The game will tip-off at 8:59 p.m. CST and will be televised on TBS. The all-time series between Wisconsin and Florida is tied at 2-2.
G: Bronson Koenig (14.5 PPG, 2.0 APG)
G: Zak Showalter (8.1 PPG, 2.8 RPG)
F: Nigel Hayes (13.8 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 2.7 APG)
F: Vitto Brown (6.8 3.9 )
C: Ethan Happ (13.8 PPG, 9.1 RPG, 2.8 APG)
G: Kasey Hill (9.7 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 4.5 APG)
G: KeVaughn Allen (13.4 PPG, 2.5 RPG)
F: Devin Robinson (11.4 PPG, 6.3 RPG)
F: Justin Leon (7.1 PPG, 3.9 RPG)
F: Kevarrius Hayes (6.1 PPG, 4.3 RPG)
The Badgers have reason to be confident against anyone after upsetting #1 overall seed Villanova 65-62 in the Round of 32, but no one should sleep on the Gators.
Florida had an impressive showing against #5 seed Virginia in the Round of 32 where they beat the Cavaliers in dominating fashion. The Gators held Virginia to just 39 points on 29 percent shooting.
Florida is paced by KeVaughn Allen, a talented sophomore, and Kasey Hill, and experienced senior. Hill was a top recruit out of high school, and the do-it-all point guard has played deep into March before. As a freshman, he was part of the Florida squad that made a Final Four run. Allen is the Gators top scorer at 13.4 PPG, and he shoots 37 percent from beyond the arc. Florida’s sixth man, Canyon Barry, scores 11.8 points on 34 percent shooting from beyond the arc.
Florida and Wisconsin’s strengths as a team are much the same: balance and defense.
The game will be played at Madison Square Garden, New York City’s iconic venue. The Badgers played there earlier this year in a matchup with Rutgers. Ethan Happ had a monster game totaling a career-high 32 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks and 4 steals. Wisconsin also beat VCU in the Garden last year after a Bronson Koenig game-winner.
This is the Badgers’, with Bronson Koenig and Nigel Hayes playing important minutes in all of them, fourth straight Sweet 16 appearance. Last year they lost to Notre Dame in a gut-wrenching game, their only loss in this round. With a win over the Gators, Wisconsin’s senior class will become the winningest class in the program’s history.
The matchup will pit two second-year coaches against each other who both took over for legends. Greg Gard has reached the Sweet 16 in both years he has been the lead man for Wisconsin. Mike White took over Florida after legend Billy Donovan left for the Oklahoma City Thunder. He’s posted a 47-23 record in his first two years.