Location: Madison, WI
Conference: Big Ten
Coach: Bo Ryan
Kenpom ranking: 3
Good wins (Kenpom ranking): Oklahoma (9), Michigan State (17), Ohio State (20)
Bad losses (Kenpom ranking): Rutgers (219)
Tournament appearances: 20
Best result: National Championship (1941)
NBA alumni: Devin Harris, Michael Finley, Wes Matthews
Best name: Duje Dukan
Famous alumni: Frank Lloyd Wright, Charles Lindbergh, Lorraine Hansberry
Bo Ryan has put together incredibly slow, incredibly efficient teams at Wisconsin for 15 years, and this one might be masterpiece. The Badgers don't just have the most efficient offense in college hoops, they have the most efficient offense since stats people started tracking offensive efficiency. Last year, the Badgers got to the Final Four before losing on a buzzer-beater to Kentucky. With no freshman in the rotation, this squad is that squad, but older, wiser, and more Bo Ryan-esque.
Style of play: The slow burn
Wisconsin plays in complete control of the basketball: they turn the ball over less than any other team. Their shots get blocked less than any other team. They methodically work ball around the defense until somebody gets a good situation. You will crack. It's just a matter of time.
Key player: Frank the Tank
For a 7-footer, Kaminsky's game is perfectly polished. He has crisp, quick post moves, he can knock down threes, he's a good passer, he's a staunch rebounder. He came from nowhere: Wisconsin and Northwestern were the only two major conference schools to offer him, and he was a reserve as a freshman and sophomore. But he's become the centerpoint of Wisconsin's record-setting offense. Analytics guru Ken Pomeroy has Kaminsky ranked as his player of the year.
Roughly a month before the start of the NCAA Tournament, Kaminsky got this incredibly adorable puppy, clearly just a few weeks or months old. How can Kaminsky and the Badgers stay focused on hoops at the most critical time of the year when this tiny cuteness bucket exists? I can't even focus on writing about them. This is the most important story of the tourney.