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Badgers shoot down Ducks, advance to Sweet Sixteen

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Somewhere, Tony Robbins must be smiling.

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Because whatever it was that Wisconsin Badgers head coach Bo Ryan said to his team at halftime just might become his next great motivational speech.

Those words lit a fire under Ryan’s charges that not even Smokey The Bear could extinguish.

Bucky came out of the locker room smoking.

Wisconsin played with a renewed sense of purpose and the confidence of a Number Two Seed.

The Badgers took just about five minutes to erase a 12-point halftime deficit and went on to cook the Oregon Ducks, 85-77, to advance to the Sweet Sixteen at the BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee Saturday night.

The Badgers will take on the winner of Sunday night’s Baylor/Creighton game as the West Region moves to Anaheim, California next week.

After getting back to even, the Badgers dug in and were able to slow the pace down quite a bit.

Oregon hung around and regained the lead a couple of times.

But on one critical possession down the stretch, Wisconsin controlled the offensive glass, resetting the shot clock twice after gathering in misses.

The Ducks had no choice but to foul and hope for the best.

Bucky responded by hitting most of the freebies to put it out of reach.

The Badgers were struggling in the first stanza just to keep up as Oregon attempted to turn this basketball game into a track meet.

With Duck guards Joseph Young hitting from outside and Jason Caliste perfect from the line, the Badgers were trailed at haltime, 49-37.

Not even Michael Johnson’s ‘Golden Shoes’ Oregon would’ve helped.

It wasn’t a state secret that Oregon was going to push the tempo, but 49 first half points is impressive by NBA standards.

In the first half, Sam Dekker was hit in the mouth going up for a lob with an elbow that moved one tooth out of position.

It will require dental work, but Ryan was perplexed at there being no foul called on the hard contact above the shoulders.

Bo was jawing at the refs for a couple of minutes to no avail.

When the partisan BC crowd reacted to the replay, Wisconsin was given a technical foul.

Ryan said he had no idea why his bench was given the foul.

Frank Kaminsky led Wisconsin with 19 points as all five starters hit double figures.

Traevon Jackson chipped in with 16 points including some big FTs in the final minute and controlled the rock.

The Badgers had only a handful of turnovers in the second half.

Young led all scorers for the vanquished with 29 and Caliste added 20.

It is this combination of a high-powered offense couple with a suffocating defense that will could propel Wisconsin to the Elite Eight and perhaps Ryan’s first-ever Final Four at UW’s helm.

They will need Kaminsky to show up again for forty minutes.

The will need the grit of Dekker and Josh Gasser.

They will need Jackson’s finesse and skills to create open shots for his big men.

Clearly, this is Wisconsin’s and Bo’s best chance.

They seem to have the trust in one another and belief in themselves to not fritter this away.

Follow me at www.Twitter.com/cpchrispeppas, www.Facebook.com/cpeppas1 or read all a-blog it at http://peptalkbycp.blogspot.com.

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