Wisconsin Basketball Wins NCAA Tournament Title
(AP) Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan says his team will focus on the season ahead and the future after winning the NCAA Tournament.
The Badgers defeated No. 7 Kansas 74-66 in the national championship game Saturday.
Wisconsin is No. 1 in the AP Poll.
“I feel great,” Ryan said.
“We’ve got a great group of guys.
Our guys are really motivated.
They’re going to have a good season.
We can’t afford to not execute and play well.” “
Obviously, we’re going into the postseason with a lot of pressure.
We can’t afford to not execute and play well.”
Wisconsin is still in the running for a No. 2 seed in the first round of the NCAA tournament, but it’s now one game behind Oklahoma State.
Oklahoma State is No: 2.
The Big 12 Tournament will be played in Oklahoma City in February.
Kansas was the No. 3 seed in last year’s tournament and was a No: 4 seed before it was eliminated by Kansas.
“It’s a tough team to play,” Ryan added.
“There’s a lot to like about this team.
They’ve got great depth and they’ve got really good shooters.
They play a really good style.
They’ll play the Big 12 very well.
They have a lot at stake in this game.”
Wisconsin (19-10, 17-7 Big 12) leads the Big Ten East and is No 1 in its conference standings.
“When you’ve got the No 1 seed in your conference and you’ve played in every single tournament, you’ve had a lot more of an opportunity to be in contention for the No 2 seed and it’s just really a tremendous honor for our guys,” Ryan continued.
“They’re a really hard-working group of young men.
We know they’re hungry, they’re passionate and they’re determined to make the most of their opportunity.
We’re going there to make a statement.”
Wisconsin had the ball on its 18-0 run in the fourth quarter before Kansas answered with a 3-pointer.
The Jayhawks answered with back-to-back 3-pointers and two free throws, giving them a 47-44 lead.
“The only thing that was really disappointing about the loss was the lack of effort from our guys on the floor,” said Ryan.
“That’s something that happens when you play against good teams, but we just need to play better and I think we did that tonight.”
The Badger led 42-33 at halftime, and the Jayhawks were up 44-32 by the end of the third quarter.
“If you’re a good team, you’re going down.
That’s just the nature of the beast,” Kansas coach Scott Drew said.
Wisconsin held Kansas to a season-low 22.3 percent shooting from the field.
Kansas shot 50 percent from the floor, including a season high 25.3 from 3-point range.
“Kansas had the energy, but at the same time, the intensity, we just had to be able to take them out,” Ryan pointed out.
“This is a great conference.
They had a tough season, but I think they’ve been working really hard to build a program and put themselves in a position to win a national title.
That will be our goal and we just got to keep it going.”
Kansas (15-15, 9-13) won its fourth straight game, but its only victory came against a Top 25 opponent.
Kansas led by as many as 21 points and never trailed.
“Tonight was a very important game for our program, for our team, and for the Jayhawk Nation,” Drew said in a statement.
“Our team came out of the gate with a bang.
They fought and they played hard.
We had a good game plan.
I thought our team played really well tonight and we will continue to play that way.”
Kansas had a chance to get ahead by six in the second half, but the Badgers never got closer than six points.
“A lot of guys were tired, and that was probably the main reason why we didn’t get closer than 10,” Drew added.
Wisconsin shot 57.3 percentage from the 3-ball and went 13-of-14 from the free throw line.
Kansas finished with 34 points on 15-of.
Wisconsin outrebounded Kansas 24-8 and had a 53-36 rebounding advantage.