March 16th 2015 -
The Wisconsin men's basketball team will play Coastal Carolina around 8:20 on Friday night in their N-C-A-A Tournament opener at Omaha Nebraska. The Badgers were given their first Number-One seed in school history last evening. Selection committee chairman Scott Barnes told E-S-P-N the Badgers locked up the top seed in the West on Saturday night, based on their "body of work" in a 31-and-3 season. Barnes said yesterday's Big Ten Tournament finale -- in which the Badgers beat Michigan State 80-to-69 in overtime -- had no bearing on their seed. But it meant a lot to the Badgers, who insisted that winning the league tournament was more important than getting a top-seed in what will be their 17th straight N-C-A-A appearance. Guard Josh Gasser said any team at the Big Dance can beat any other -- and there's very little difference between a one-and-a-seven-seed. No Number-16 has beaten a Number-One in the first round, but Coastal Carolina will try against the Badgers. They're 24-and-9 after winning the Big South Conference crown. Yesterday, Wisconsin erased an 11-point deficit to force overtime, and then out-scored Michigan State 11-nothing in the extra period. Nigel Hayes made all 12 of his free throws and scored 25 for the game, as the Badgers won their first Big Ten tournament and regular season crowns since 2008. Frank Kaminsky, who scored 19, was named the league tourney's M-V-P.