|Team||First Half||Second Half||Final|
|No. 15 American University Eagles||22||13||35|
|No. 2 Wisconsin Badgers||32||43||75|
When I saw that American and Wisconsin were matched up in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, I wasn't thinking upset. What I was thinking, however, was about how this was going to be a great game because both teams value defense and physicality while not scoring at an overwhelming rate. This was going to be a battle.
Until it wasn't.
The Badgers were leading 22-20 with 51 seconds to play as I peaked at the score app on my phone. By the time I got the stream up it was 32-22 Wisconsin at the half. From there, things only got worse as the Badgers stormed to a 75-35 win over American in the second round of the 2014 NCAA Tournament.
There is no need for advanced numbers or any explaining in this one. American did not play even remotely well and when you do that against a Bo Ryan team, you will pay a horrible price. The Eagles shot 11-for-37 from the field, 4-for-15 from three, and 9-for-15 from the free throw line. They were outrebounded 31-24. They turned the ball over 17 times against just seven for Wisconsin.
This was not American's day. But after a season that began with last-place expectations and just three wins from its first 10 games, the fact that this is where the road ends for the Eagles is nothing short of remarkable. In one year Mike Brennan has revived a program that won 10 games last year and had similar expectations in 2014, taking it to the NCAA Tournament and winning the Patriot League.
But that won't make this loss sting any less. Were the Eagles likely to win? No, but they were capable of giving Wisconsin as much as it could handle had they been able to execute their offense make their shots. When Wisconsin got it rolling, American got caught up in the tornado to the tune of a 53-15 run.
Traevon Jackson was simply fantastic, scoring 18 points on 6-of-8 shooting to lead a Wisconsin team that went 26-for-52 from the field. Ben Brust poured in 17 points thanks to four made 3-pointers and the go-ahead layup that made it 22-20 with 4:44 left in the first half while Sam Dekker scored 11.
Tony Wroblicky score 11 points with five rebounds, four assists, and six turnovers in his final game as an Eagle. John Schoof also scored 11 while Jesse Reed added nine. Darius Gardner struggled with his offense, scoing just four points with three assists and five turnovers to go with eight rebounds.