The Badgers, fresh off their encouraging win over Virginia Tech in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, face defending national champion Villanova at 2:40 p.m. ET Saturday on CBS.
Wisconsin fans had high hopes for a team that was once ranked in the top 10 and leading the Big Ten by a significant margin. But a rough losing streak tamped down expectations. Not enough that fans weren’t justifiably upset when Wisconsin was handed a ludicrously low seed, but enough that we knew the Badgers probably would be in the “house money” phase of the tournament sooner than later.
Wisconsin is in that phase now, where a loss to Villanova means no shame and a win means lots of happy yelling and hugging and more yelling. The whales don’t get bigger than the tournament’s No. 1 overall seed, especially for a team that is still looking for a signature moment this season (wins over Minnesota and Northwestern probably shouldn’t count).
Wisconsin-Villanova game time for 2017 NCAA Tournament
Date: Saturday, March 18
Time: 1:40 p.m. CT / 2:40 p.m. ET
Location: KeyBank Center, Buffalo, N.Y.
The line: Villanova is favored by 5 points.
The odds: KenPom gives Wisconsin a 33 percent chance to win.
What TV channel is Wisconsin-Villanova basketball on?
The game will be on CBS.
How can I watch Wisconsin-Villanova basketball online?
CBS will live-stream the game at CBSSports.com or ncaa.com/march-madness-live/watch, as well as on the CBS Sports and March Madness Live apps.
How can I listen to Wisconsin-Villanova basketball on the radio?
The Wisconsin call for the game will be on the Badger Sports Network. A list of affiliates can be found here and the game can be heard online here. Information for Villanova’s radio is located here with the online stream here.
Who are the announcers for Wisconsin-Villanova basketball?
Verne Lundquist and Jim Spanarkel will call the game, with Allie LaForce reporting.
Wisconsin-Virginia Tech 2017 NCAA Tournament preview
The Badgers offense performed just fine against Virginia Tech, but that was thanks to a historic night at the perimeter from Bronson Koenig and a hefty size advantage in the frontcourt. Wisconsin is not likely to have that kind of shooting against a Villanova defense that is clearly superior to Virginia Tech’s. Instead, Wisconsin’s best chance at another great night on offense is going to be funneling the offense through Ethan Happ and Nigel Hayes. Villanova is similar to Virginia Tech in that it lacks quality big men, so feeding the interior is going to be critical.
2017 NCAA Tournament: Why Ethan Happ will determine if the Wisconsin Badgers have another epic March — or an epic meltdown
Defend across the board
Villanova’s offense runs through senior wing Josh Hart, who ranks No. 1 in the KenPom Player of the Year metric, and has plenty of other options on the perimeter (Kris Jenkins, Jalen Brunson, Donte DiVincenzo). Unfortunately for Wisconsin, it only has one Zak Showalter. In order to prevent the Wildcats from erupting on offense, guys like Koenig, D’Mitrik Trice and Khalil Iverson are going to play well.
Get started early
Even though Villanova is considered the best team in the country by the NCAA Tournament selection committee, it is still a group composed of young humans. We got a reminder of that when No. 16 Mount St. Mary’s found itself down only 30-29 to the Wildcats in the first round. If the Badgers can pounce early like the Mountaineers did, they’ll have a much better shot at holding on and making the Wildcats sweat.