The Oregon Ducks are all too familiar with playing the Wisconsin Badgers in the NCAA Tournament.
Friday’s match up between the two teams will be the third of the past decade, all of which have come early in the tournament. In the 2013-14 season, Oregon was a No.7 seed in the West Region. They beat 10-seed BYU 87-68, while Wisconsin, a 2-seed, easily dispatched 15-seed American 75-35.
This Friday the Ducks and Badgers will meet again, five years to the day of Wisconsin’s Round-of-32 win over the Ducks in the 2014 Tourney. Oregon raced out to a 48-30 half time lead in that game, played in the anything-but-neutral Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wisc. But Oregon faltered in the second half. A triple from Wisconsin’s Ben Brust with 1:09 left in regulation put the Badgers back in front late, and they beat the Ducks 85-77. Joe Young scored a game-high 29 points to lead the effort for Oregon.
In the 2015 Tournament the two teams met once again in the Round of 32. The Oregon Ducks were an 8-seed facing top-seed Wisconsin out of the West Region in Omaha, Neb. The Ducks tied the game at 52-52 on a Dwayne Benjamin 3-pointer with 5:56 left in regulation, but it was all Wisconsin from there, a 72-65 final for the Badgers. Joe Young once again led all scorers with 30 points, but Sam Dekker had 17 and Frank “The Tank” Kaminsky had 16 points to pace Wisconsin.
Both Badger victories spurred them deep in the Tournament, with runs to the Final Four in 2014 and the National Championship Game in 2015, though neither produced a title.
This year, the Oregon Ducks look to spring the upset as a 12-seed against the 5-seed Badgers. The early betting line favored Wisconsin by 1.5 points.
For Oregon fans, being a 12-seed and playing in San Jose has produced positive memories before (just ask the 2013 Tourney Ducks squad).
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