The sign read “Please Don’t Feed The Bears!”
And the Wisconsin Badgers did their level best to keep every scrap and morsel away from Baylor’s Bears Thursday night.
Their level best was more than enough to overcome the mismatch upfront and punched a ticket to the Elite Eight at the Honda Center in Anaheim.
Bucky held the Bears to their lowest point total in the first half and came away with the 69-52 win in the West Region of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.
The Badgers will take on the winner of the Arizona/San Diego State game on Saturday.
A win then would give Ryan his first Final Four appearance -- ever.
Big man Frank Kaminsky came up big for Wisconsin.
Orca, The Killer Whale big.
Jabba The Hutt B-I-G.
He started off by scoring eight of his team’s first 10 points and by midway through the second half had a career-high fifth block.
The Bears simply had no answer for the 7-footer with the Midas touch.
Baylor’s vaunted 1-3-1 zone defense, which wreaked havoc on an estimable Creighton team last weekend, had little or no effect on Bo Ryan’s bunch.
The best way to beat a zone is to just shoot over it or penetrate and go around it.
Bucky shot 50% from the field in the opening stanza and never looked back.
Badger head oach Ryan quipped at the break: “I thought we should’ve score more on that zone.”
The zone quickly turned into a man-to-man with little effect on the outcome.
Wisconsin used crisp, precision passing to get the best looks, used the entire clock on most possessions and basically had their way with Baylor all night long.
The Badgers ended up with 15 assists.
The lopsided win made for a short night (under two hours) and few whistles blown by the referees.
Ben Brust chipped in with 14 points for the Badgers, the only other player in double figures.
Cory Jefferson knocked home 15 for Baylor.
Isaiah Austin and Kenny Chery added a dozen apiece.
Wisconsin had a surprisingly easy time of it for a Sweet Sixteen game.
The well-oiled machine, when hitting on all cylinders, is a formidable opponent as the rest of this tourney unfurls.