#6 NOTRE DAME V.S. #7 GONZAGA
FRIDAY, MARCH 25, 2016
HOW THEY GOT HERE
NOTRE DAME: BEAT #11 MICHIGAN 70-63, BEAT #14 SFA 76-75
WISCONSIN: BEAT #1 PITT 47-43, BEAT #2 XAVIER 66-63
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUPS
NOTRE DAME: (21-11) WISCONSIN: (22-12)
V.J. BEACHEM F N. HAYES F
Z. AUGUSTE F V. BROWN F
D. JACKSON G E. HAPP C.
S. VASTURIA G B. KOENING G
M. FARRELL G Z. SHOWALTER G
KEYS TO VICTORY:
Both teams won their second round games in thrilling fashion and are riding high into their Sweet 16 match-up. While both teams might be considered surprises to get this far look for this game to come down to the final few minutes. Both of these teams match-up very well with one another.
Notre Dame will have the best player on the court in star PG Demetrius Jackson. Jackson might be playing in his final NCAA tournament as he is a projected first round pick in the upcoming June NBA Draft. He has the ability to take over a game by himself and it will be fascinating to watch how Wisconsin guards him. F Zach Auguste ( 14.3, pts, 10.9reb) is a much improved player than he was last season and is a very productive player inside for the Fighting Irish. F V.J. Beachem (11.6pts, 4reb) provides help for Auguste inside. G Steve Vasturia (11.6pts) can be an X-factor for Notre Dame with his outside shooting ability.
The Badgers went to the national title game last season and are back in the Sweet 16. G Bronson Koenig (13.3pts, 2.8reb, 2.4ast) played well during the Badger’s run last year and will have to have a big game against Notre Dame. He also will probably be assigned to stopping Demetrius Jackson, which will be a tall order. F Nigel Hayes is the leader of the team and a possible NBA Draft selection. His rebounding and ability to hit the mid-range jump shot will be needed. He will get inside help from surprising Freshmen F Ethan Happ (12.4, 7.8reb).
Mike Brey has been a fixture in the NCAA tournament since he arrived in South Bend. He is one of the better coaches in college basketball and gets the most out of his teams which usually don’t have high-end talent. Greg Gard took over for legendary coach Bo Ryan when he surprisingly retired in the beginning of the season. Gard has done an outstanding job keeping the Badger’s on track and he was just awarded with a nice long-term contract extension. It is well deserved.
These are 2 evenly matched teams coming off last second wins. Both teams have an NBA player on its roster in Jackson and Hayes. Demetrius Jackson will be the best player on the court and Wisconsin will have a very difficult time containing him. Mike Brey and the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame will win a very close game and head to the Elite 8.