Always one to downplay the significance of seedings in the NCAA Tournament, Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan wasn't all that impressed when told his team made it another sweep for No. 1s against No. 16s in the NCAA Tournament.
“Survived again,” Ryan deadpanned after his Badgers dispatched Coastal Carolina 86-72 on Friday night.
Oh, the Badgers more than survived.
Big Ten player of the year Frank Kaminsky had 27 points and 12 rebounds for his 12th double-double of the season in a performance that was so dominating, he almost made it look easy.
Sam Dekker had 20 points and Nigel Hayes added 15 against a Coastal Carolina team that gave a game effort but had no answer for the 7-foot Kaminsky or, for that matter, any of his hulking teammates.
“We tried everything,” Chanticleers coach Cliff Ellis said. “We pressed, we zoned, we manned. Nothing stopped them.”
Wisconsin (32-3), the Big Ten's regular-season and tournament champion, will play eighth-seeded Oregon on Sunday in a round-of-32 rematch. Last year the Badgers, on their way to the Final Four, beat the Ducks 85-77 to reach the Sweet 16.
“They're going to be a tough out for whomever,” Ellis said. “I saw them in the Final Four last year, and it wouldn't surprise me to see them back there. They're very worthy. You could see them and Kentucky. You're liable to see it. They're that good.”
Coastal Carolina (24-10), which starts no one over 6-7, got 22 points from Warren Gillis, 20 from Elijah Wilson and 11 from Josh Cameron.
The Badgers outscored the Chanticleers 40-24 in the lane and outrebounded them 36-25.
“Forty points in the paint. Hopefully that will be a staple for our team in the tournament,” Kaminsky said. “We were able to get it in the paint, kick it out and score from 3. We were trying to work it in the paint and see what we could do.”
Wisconsin wasn't bothered by Coastal Carolina's changing defenses. The Badgers made 11 of 27 3-pointers, including 8 of 17 while getting out to a 47-32 halftime lead. Dekker matched his career high with four 3s.
Wilson had a chance to get the Chanticleers within 10 points in the second half, but Kaminsky bulled through to block his layup. Wilson landed on the baseline and lay there momentarily looking resigned as play continued in the other direction.
Josh Gasser, Bronson Koenig and Kaminsky then scored easy inside baskets in succession, and suddenly the Badgers were up by 19. Coastal Carolina was able to make it a 14-point game against Wisconsin's reserves.
“We were efficient offensively. We can't ask for much better than that,” Cameron said. “It was just their three big men. We couldn't keep them off the glass.”
The Chanticleers were in the tournament for the second straight year and fourth time overall. Last year, also as a No. 16 seed, they led Virginia by 10 points in the first half and by five at halftime before losing 70-59.
They were ahead of Wisconsin 5-4 and 8-7, but it wasn't long before the Badgers' size and strength proved too much for the Big South champions.
Cameron, who is from Racine, Wisconsin, connected on three straight 3-pointers while scoring 11 of his team's first 19 points. The Chanticleers mostly matched Wisconsin possession for possession early and were within 30-24 until Hayes made back-to-back shots to push the lead to double digits.
Hayes was involved in a telling sequence late in the first half. Hayes missed from in close. Dekker got the rebound and missed, too. Hayes tried to tip it in but the ball wouldn't fall. CC's Tristian Curtis swiped at it but couldn't nab it. Hayes slid to the other side of the rim and put back his miss four a fourth-chance basket.