All previews: click here for the full 2015 NCAA tournament schedule
Conference: Big Ten
Coastal Carolina Chanticleers
Conference: Big South
Date: Friday, March 20
Time: 9:20 pm Eastern
Location: Omaha, NE
The Big Ten and the Big South meet to prove who's bigger.
Wisconsin Coastal Carolina
SportsRatings Power Ratings
Strength: #2 Strength: #177
Median play: #6 Median play: #159
Road/Neutral Rank: #2 Road/Neutral Rank: #162
Other Power Ratings
Sagarin(predictor):#2 Sagarin: #152
Pomeroy: #3 Pomeroy: #148
Offense: #1 Offense: #136
Defense: #30 Defense: #164
LRMC: #5 LRMC: #140
BPI: #2 BPI: #126
Power Rating Derivatives
2nd half/season: #4 2nd half/season: #214
Last 6 games: #3 Last 6 games: #171
Injury correction: #6 / #3 Injury correction: #176
Consistency: #227 Consistency: #260
Deep Run Rank: #2 Deep Run Rank: #64
Best Shot: #4 Best Shot: #60
Schedule Strength: #18 Schedule Strength: #329
While Coastal Carolina is a pretty decent 16-seed, Wisconsin is a solid 1-seed, too. The Chanticleers are all the way up at #126 on the BPI, mainly because that rating rewards winning games and Coastal Carolina has done plenty of that. But neither their offense nor defense is in the top 100, and they haven't particularly upped their game lately. Wisconsin is #2 at their best, but they do have the #1 rated offense according to Pomeroy. If they get guard Traevon Jackson back, they roughly hold their ranking among the other injury-corrected teams.
- Wins vs. tournament teams (13): Boise St.+24, =UAB+29, =Georgetown+3, =Oklahoma+13, Buffalo+12, Purdue+7, Iowa+32, @Iowa+11, Indiana+14, Michigan St.+7, @Ohio St.+24, =Purdue+20, =Michigan St.+OT
- Losses to tournament teams (2): Duke-10, @Maryland-6
- Other losses (1): @Rutgers-5
Key Info: It's hard to pinpoint Wisconsin's most dominant win of the year. Was it early on, when they beat Chattanooga by 44 points, almost doubling the Mocs' score (game 2)? Or beating Milwaukee by 39 on the road (game 10)? Those had big margins but not the best of competition—what about beating 7-seed Iowa, 82-50, in game 19? Or maybe it was beating 10-seed Ohio State on the road, 72-48 (game 31)? On the other hand, it's easy to find their worst loss, since there are only 3 to choose from. It wasn't the loss to 1-seed Duke, even if it was by double digits and at home. Nor was it the late loss at 4-seed Maryland. Clearly it was the 67-62 loss at Rutgers, ranked #219 by Pomeroy. The Badgers were without star 7-footer Frank Kaminsky (18.2 ppg, 8.0 rebounds) that game and lost #4 scorer Traevon Jackson during it. Jackson may be back for the tournament, which would give them another push toward the Final Four.
- Wins vs. tournament teams (0): none
- Losses to tournament teams (2): @UCLA-13, @Mississippi-3
- Other losses (7): @Chattanooga-11, Gardner Webb-15, @UNC Asheville-10, Winthrop-7, @Gardner Webb-2, @Charleston Southern-11, @Presbyterian-11
Key Info: In-between wins over Trinity Baptist and Columbia International, the Chanticleers played UCLA and lost. Two games after beating Warren Wilson, they played Ole Miss and lost by just 3 points. That's the extent of their experience with the NCAA field. Both were 11-seeds, and one was a play-in teams (they both should have been play-in teams), but they did all right. Coastal Carolina had a rough time even in the Big South, losing 4 of 5 at one point and suffering a terrible loss to 10-22 Presbyterian just before the conference tournament, but they snapped back to win three straight to punch their ticket. Four players average in double figures led by senior Warren Gillis' 13.1.
Game Analysis: Does Rutgers give Coastal Carolina some hope? The Scarlet Knights rank #165 in Strength, just a bit better than the Chanticleers, and are #219 in Pomeroy, 71 places worse! If Rutgers can do it, so can Coastal Carolina!
Except for a few small facts. First, Wisconsin would have to lose Frank Kaminski. Then, Traevon Jackson isn't allowed to come back, and the game would have to be played in Conway, South Carolina instead of Omaha, Nebraska. Even after that, it's hard to imagine Wisconsin losing, but we'd have to admit that it would be within the realm of possibility.
Mainly the scenario is worrisome for the Badgers because it shows what could happen during the tournament if Kaminski is hurt—or even fouls out early. You wouldn't think one player—even a Wooden finalist—could have that big of an impact, and normally it doesn't. But it clearly did for Wisconsin, on that particular day. And when facing top competition instead of a cellar-dweller, it certainly would affect the outcome.
Wisconsin by 19 1/2
Power rating: spread
Wisconsin by 24.4
Game-comparisons: % Chance to win
Coastal Carolina: 4.2%
Wisconsin's winning percentage isn't 100% like the historical 1 vs. 16 outcome, and a lot of that is due to the Rutgers loss. But they're still a heavy favorite, moreso by Strength than the oddsmakers, as teams tend to ease off late.
Bottom line: Rutgers proved in can happen. But unless Kaminski is injured, Wisconsin will win. Even if he were injured, we'd take them by double digits.
Final prediction: Wisconsin 75, Coastal Carolina 54
More previews: click here for the full 2015 NCAA tournament schedule.