On the same court a few hours later, Purdue was eviscerated by Kansas.
At this point, the differences between teams are small, and, ultimately, the margin between winning and losing is razor thin. "They are the No. 1 team so you had to feel a little happy about that but mainly we were just happy to be moving on and advance to the next round".
He also offered up a friendly wager to Florida Governor Rick Scott, saying he will bet on Wisconsin cheese curds and HARIBO gummies that Wisconsin will win, while Governor Scott wagered some kermit key west key lime pie for a Florida victory. But the program got back on track in the Big Ten tourney.
I went against my better judgement and put Villanova over Wisconsin in my bracket simply because I thought I was reaching.
The Tar Heels broke out of the gate early, building a double-digit lead and really weren't threatened after halftime, although Butler did get within 10 at one point.
Meanwhile, Florida defeated East Tennessee State by a score of 80-65 and Virginia, 65-39. Both teams control tempo, play efficient offense and lock down on defense.
Wisconsin is similar to Virginia. Virginia shot below 30% for the game included a putrid 1-15 from behind the arc. The Badgers finished second in the Big 10 ahead of Minnesota, Maryland, Northwestern and MI all teams with better or equal seeds.
Florida's ranked third overall, according to KenPom. All three losses were by no more than five points.More news: Tipping Off: On to the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament
The important thing for Trice is to not let one poor game carry over to the next one. Florida will play relatively fast, and Wisconsin's basically the opposite. He's the most important player on the floor as far as either team is concerned and he will be heavily used against a smallish SC front line.
Sindarius Thornwell scored 24 points and seventh-seeded SC cruised past third-seeded Baylor 70-50 on Friday night in the East Regional semifinals, the Bears' worst NCAA Tournament loss.
Wisconsin has an advantage on the boards.
"A lot of these guys were freshmen my a year ago", McCall said of his days assisting former Gators coach Billy Donovan before Donovan headed off to the NBA's Oklahoma City Thunder.
If Ethan Happ and Nigel Hayes get Robinson and Kevarrius Hayes in foul trouble, they could dominate inside, especially without the injured John Egbunu.
Wisconsin backup point guard D'Mitrik Trice has played beyond his years for much of the season, but he looked like a freshman during the Badgers' 65-62 win over Villanova. That'll be the case from here on out. "They have obviously been in two tournament games to get to this point, so I think sometimes there's more made of that experience than necessarily applies".
Long-range shooting can run hot and cold, which adds an extra layer of unpredictability to the already volatile world of March Madness, which can lead to an unlikely foursome at the Garden this week: Florida, Baylor and SC with Wisconsin. The Gators haven't been tested much in the tournament.
Wisconsin was part of that mix, even if it could only earn an eight seed.