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2015 NCAA Tournament First Round Preview: Coastal Carolina Chanticleers vs Wisconsin Badgers

Coastal Carolina gave #1 seed Virginia a fight last year, can the Chanticleers do the same against yet another top seed this year?

Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

Can Cliff Ellis even make this a game Friday in Omaha?

One thing that Coastal has going against them, besides the obvious, is the fact that when the ball tips at 10:20 PM on Friday night the Chants will only be playing their fourth games in 22 days. The Big South gifted their predetermined tournament hosts an eight day layoff before the conference tournament and now the 24-9 squad has been sitting around for what will be almost two weeks. KenPom put's Coastal's chances of winning at 4% and you have to think it'll be even worse if the mystical roosters come out rusty.

Coastal hasn't seen a Top 100 team since they played UCLA on November 16, so what if anything can Cliff Ellis do to be competitive in this game? Simply put the Chants need to get hot from three and continue to play stingy defense.

Last year Coastal out-rebounded UVa in the first round but only grabbed three offensive rebounds. Something similar needs to happen this year with Coastal's undersized frontcourt of Badou Diagne, Tristian Curtis, and Marcus Freeman. If the Chants can't keep Frank Kaminsky, Sam Dekker, and Nigel Hayes out of the paint and off the glass then it's going to be a long night in Omaha. In other words, expect a long night in Omaha.

Coastal has guys that aren't afraid to let it rip from three in Warren Gillis, Josh Cameron, Shivaughn Wiggins, Elijah Wilson, and even Diagne. The Chants generally have a very efficient attack but how efficient can you be if you're going to have to live or die by the three? Can Coastal get production from guys like Gillis, a Big South First Teamer, driving to the basket. That task is a lot harder, obviously, against Wisconsin than it is against Winthrop.

This is the third meeting between these two teams with Wisconin winning the two previous affairs, most recently in 2005, by an average margin of 36. I expect the same outcome on Friday night but expect the Chants to keep it close for a while before Bo Ryan's Badgers pull away.

Prediction: Wisconsin- 76, Coastal Carolina- 58