The 8th-seeded Wisconsin Badgers (25-9) take on the No. 9 seed Virginia Tech (22-10) in the first round of the East Region. The game will be played at the KeyBank Center in Buffalo on Thursday. Tip is at 9:40 p.m. E.T.
Preview: Wisconsin finished second in the Big Ten in the regular season and reached the conference title game where they lost to Michigan. Seniors Bronson Koenig and Nigel Hayes have plenty of big-game experience, while Ethan Happ (13.9 ppg, 9.1 rpg) is a tough cover down low.
5th-longest streak of all-time.
— Wisconsin Basketball (@BadgerMBB) March 12, 2017
Virginia Tech has won 20 games in back-to-back seasons under Buzz Williams. The Hokies boast four double-digit scorers, paced by Zach LeDay (16.3 ppg, 7.4 rpg). Beware the three-point marksmanship of Seth Allen, who shoots 45 percent from beyond the arc.
Date: Thursday, March 16
Time: 9:40 p.m. E.T.
TV Channel: CBS
Location: KeyBank Center in Buffalo, N.Y.
Announcers: Verne Lundquist, Jim Spanarkel, Allie LaForce
Opening Betting Line: Wisconsin -4, via OddsShark
Wisconsin has made 22 prior NCAA Tournament appearances, including 19 in a row. They made the Sweet 16 last year before falling to Notre Dame.
This is Virginia Tech's ninth total NCAA Tournament appearance and first appearance in a decade. Back in 2007, the Hokies beat 12th-seeded Illinois in the first round before falling to No. 4 seed Southern Illinois in the second.
Prediction: This is an interesting game. The Badgers were a surprising No. 8 seed; many felt they deserved better. How do they respond to that perceived slight? This is a team that could lose on Thursday or shock Villanova in the Round of 32 to get to MSG.
Virginia Tech lacks Wisconsin's experience in March. But the Hokies are battle-tested from the ACC and possess a balanced attack.
Our prediction has Wisconsin over Virginia Tech in a squeaker.
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