Michigan-Wisconsin Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated March 14, 2013
Ben Brust said he will remember forever his improbable heave in Wisconsin's victory over Michigan last month. The Wolverines haven't forgotten about it, either. The 22nd-ranked and fourth-seeded Badgers seek a 12th victory in the last 13 meetings with No. 6 and fifth-seeded Michigan on Friday in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten tournament in Chicago. After Tim Hardaway Jr.'s 3-pointer with three seconds left in regulation put Michigan ahead 60-57 on Feb. 9 in Madison, Brust caught a pass from Mike Bruesewitz and hit a running half-court shot as the buzzer sounded to send the game into overtime. Brust then broke another tie with 40 seconds remaining in the extra session, helping Wisconsin (21-10) earn a 65-62 victory in the only meeting between the teams this season. It marked a surprising defeat for then-No. 3 Michigan, and Hardaway hopes the team has learned from it. "It was a tough loss," Hardaway said. "We just have to make sure that we watch the film, see the things that we did wrong during the game, and just try not to make the same mistakes again. So we just got to go out there and just play ball and just stick to the game plan." The Wolverines (26-6) earned a rematch by avenging another stunning regular-season defeat, knocking off 12th-seeded Penn State 83-66 in the first round Thursday as conference player of the year Trey Burke scored a game-high 21 points. Coach John Beilein knows his team is in for another tough battle with Wisconsin, which has a victory in 2008 conference tournament quarterfinals during its current dominance of Michigan. "One thing that you can expect is the same old winning, don't-beat-yourself style that we have seen over and over again," Beilein said. "They're not going to beat themselves. They're not going to turn it over. (We must) be very patient with our defense and solid with our defense, make them score over us without giving them second opportunities. "(Wisconsin is) a really well-coached team." Badgers coach Bo Ryan was named the Big Ten's coach of the year after guiding his team to a 12-6 conference record, which tied Michigan for third in arguably the nation's best league. Wisconsin is coming off another thriller, as Traevon Jackson hit a 3-pointer as the buzzer sounded to beat Penn State 63-60 on Sunday. Jackson finished with 15 points and freshman Sam Dekker added 14 off the bench as the Badgers ended a two-game skid. "That will hopefully be a momentum-shifter for us going into the Big Ten tournament," Dekker said. This is likely the conference's most anticipated tournament since Michigan won the inaugural crown in 1998, as four teams - No. 3 Indiana, Michigan, No. 8 Michigan State and No. 10 Ohio State - enter ranked in the AP top 10. Ryan said the tough competition throughout the season and in this tournament could prepare a Big Ten team for a long NCAA tournament run. "We do beat each other up, but that doesn't mean that somebody from our league can't go on and win six games," Ryan said. Beilein echoed Ryan's thoughts. "This could be a year where you have eight or nine (Big Ten teams make the NCAA tournament)," Beilein said. " I sincerely think (the conference is) worthy of nine bids, depending upon how this all plays out." The winner of this contest will face either Indiana or Illinois in the semifinals Saturday.
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