College Hoops

Starting Five: NIT Second Round

Starting Five: NIT Second Round


NIT – SECOND ROUND

WISCONSIN vs LIBERTY

Sunday, March 19 | 11 a.m. | Kohl Center

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MADISON, Wis. โ€“ Following an 81-62, first-round NIT win over Bradely on Tuesday, No. 2 seed Wisconsin hosts Liberty for a second-round NIT matchup on Sunday at the Kohl Center. Tip is at 11 a.m. CT and tickets can be purchased on UWBadgers.com.

If the Badgers defeat Liberty, they would advance to the quarterfinals of the NIT for the first time in school history to face either Oregon or UCF.

Before Sunday’s tip at the Kohl Center, here is the Starting Five:

1. MARCH REGULARS:ย Wisconsin has now qualified for postseason play in 26 of the last 28 seasons with a tournament. That stretch includes 24 NCAA appearances and two NIT appearances, dating back to 1996.

2. NIT: The Badgers are making their fifth all-time appearance in the NIT, owning an overall record of 4-4 in the event. UW is participating in the NIT for the first time in the Kohl Center era, a building that opened back in 1998. All of the other 13 Big Ten teams have participated in the NIT more recently than UW’s last appearance in 1996.

3. BIG STEVE:ย Steven Crowlย scored career-high 36 points on Tuesday night in UW’s win over Bradley, converting on 12 of his 16 field goals, including 5-of-7 3-point shooting and going 7-for-7 at the free throw line.

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4. SCOUTING LIBERTY:ย Sunday’s game will be the first all-time meeting between Wisconsin and Liberty. The Flames are coached by Ritchie McKay, and led by two seniors Darius McGhee and Kyle Rode. McGhee is averaging 22.6 points per game and 3.2 rebounds, while Rode is averaging 10.8 points and 3.5 rebounds per contest.

5. BATTLE TESTED:ย Wisconsin has played in 18 games this season decided by five points or fewer (11-7 record in those games). The Badgers have also played a school record six overtime games (3-3 record). UW’s 18 “close games” are the most by any major conference etam since at least the 2009-10 season. According to ESPN, the Badgers have played the 11th-toughest schedule in the NCAA this season.

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