Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Wisconsin Grinds out Win over Pitt

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Wisconsin Grinds out Win over Pitt

Article excerpt

The more he studied Pittsburgh after the NCAA Tournament brackets were set Sunday, Wisconsin coach Greg Gard believed the Panthers were the mirror image of his Badgers.

Naturally, then, neither team could pull away from its reflection in Friday's first-round showdown at Scottrade Center, a game that made up for a shortage of aesthetics with plenty of suspense.

"It's not always going to be pretty," Badgers forward Vitto Brown said after his team's 47-43 win.

No, but how about sometimes, Vitto?

The East Region matchup figured to be low-scoring, but not to this degree: It was the first NCAA Tournament game that both teams failed to score 50 points since Butler upset Mississippi State in a 5 vs. 12 first-round game in the 2003 tourney.

The Badgers (21-12) won despite shooting just four of 19 from the 3-point arc. Badgers not named Vitto shot just one of 14. Nigel Hayes, Wisconsin's leading scorer and All-Big Ten performer, missed all but three of his 17 shots and misfired on all six of his shots from the arc on his way to 12 points.

But unlike their Big Ten brother Michigan State, as Brown later noted, the Badgers live to see another day in the bracket. Before Wisconsin and Pitt took the floor Friday, Middle Tennessee pulled off the first round's biggest upset, toppling Michigan State in the Midwest's 2-15 game. The Badgers, with some remnants from last year's national runner-up, took notice.

"I think that was good for us to see," said Brown, who scored 11, "in the sense that we know anything is possible.

"For them to get beat like that it shows the power of March," Hayes said in a bubbly Badger locker room, "and what's capable when guys come out, they believe and they play with one other."

Wisconsin is hardly the offensive juggernaut that stormed the NCAA Tournament a year ago, but even by this year's measured standards, the Badgers' first half turned the clock back to the game's peach basket days. …

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