The Wisconsin-Syracuse matchup is the key to my bracket. It features the age old matchup between the immovable object and the irresistible force.
On offense, Wisconsin likes to slow the game down, protect the basketball and take only high value shots (generally 3s, but layups if they can get them). The Badgers commit fewer fouls than their opponents and turn the ball over much less.
On defense, the Badgers follow my “Avocado” defensive style. The Avocado is tough on the outside and at the core, but squishy soft in between. That describes the Badgers “high value” defense to a tee. They will allow you to have all the 2 point jump shots your heart desires. If you make them, as Michigan State did in the Big Ten Tourney, you will win. What the Badgers will try not to allow are uncontested layups and unchallenged 3 point shots. Those are the “high value” shots in any offensive sets, whereas 2 point jumpers are extremely low value (at the NBA level, 2 point jumpers are converted only 39% of the time on average, making each shot worth around 0.79 points. 3 pointers at both the high college and NBA level are converted around 35% of the time, making those worth 1.05 points per shot, and layup/dunks are converted around 60% of the time, making those worth around 1.2 points per attempt. One can see how allowing the one and limiting the other can greatly improve your defense).
Syracuse is almost the polar opposite. They don’t like the 3 on offense, but they love to run and try to get easy conversions off of steals. Steals are their forte. They are not a rebounding team. They move the ball well on offense and they try to turn you over on defense.
Who will prevail? I’m a Badger fan, so I’m hoping the Big Red will prevail, but Syracuse, with or without Fab Melo (he wasn’t all that productive in Win Score terms) will be a tough out.