Wisconsin-Virginia Tech Preview
That first half of the second half that the Badgers played against Michigan yesterday was absolutely disgusting. There are no words that can describe how badly they played then, and how that is why I have a real fear of them struggling in the tournament. I don't think the committee got their seed right because seeds justify entire seasons, not just February, and that is one of many reasons why I believe they should step down and let an entirely different group do next year. With that said, I think only a 6 or 7 would be right, but the unfortunate part is we only have one game before we face the defending champion number one seed Villanova Wildcats.
Before we get to that point, 8-9 games are classic tossups, and Virginia Tech is not a slouch in any circumstance. A familiar foe is head coach of the program, former Marquette head coach Buzz Williams, and he has them back in the tournament for the first time since Seth Greenberg was there. Virginia Tech is more of offense than defense (which makes sense if you remember how Marquette played) but they have done nothing spectacular. They have home wins over Duke and Virginia, but other than that their best win was at Michigan in November (so it's not the same team we faced yesterday).
One of Virginia Tech's five players averaging points in double figures, sophomore G/F Chris Clarke, is out for the season with a torn ACL. That essentially makes this group a seven man team, but that doesn't really matter during tournament time. They still have five players scoring over 9 PPG, led by seniors Seth Allen and Zach LeDay. Besides those two seniors, Virginia Tech has four additional seniors on a veteran roster, and should be considered dangerous by the Badgers.
Size is a weakness that perhaps the Badgers can exploit, as the only regular player taller than 6'7" is freshman Khadim Sy. Ethan Happ should have the advantage there anyways since he is an All-American and All-Big Ten, but freshman are more likely to get in foul trouble, which could help Happ get going even more. The Hokies are good at scoring, but our defense is 9th in the country, and we should have the edge on that side of the ball.
This game comes down to not committing turnovers and shooting with a decent percentage. Our defense will be fine, our foul shooting has been a problem all year and we have won 25 games with that issue, so ball control and shot making are the biggest factors. Buzz Williams is familiar with how we play, but none of these players are and there is only so much you can teach. I like the matchup, but I wouldn't be surprised with a loss with the way we have played. I'll go with Wisconsin by about six points.