Nigel Hayes capped off a thrilling Wisconsin comeback as the No. 8 seed Badgers ended No. 1 Villanova’s bid to repeat as national champions with this driving layup with 11.4 seconds left.
Wisconsin erased a 57-50 deficit in the final five minutes, thanks in large part to a pair of clutch threes from Bronson Koenig, who finished the afternoon with 17 points. Hayes led the way with 19 points for the Badgers. It’s the fourth straight season that Wisconsin has reached the Sweet 16, the last two of which have come with Greg Gard as head coach. Last season, the Badgers were a No. 7 seed and reached the second weekend of the tournament thanks to a buzzer-beating three from Koenig to knock off No. 2 seed Xavier.
Wisconsin has the horses to keep running in this tournament, too. Hayes and Koenig are the names that every knows and recognizes, but their best player is Ethan Happ. With those three stars and a slew of veteran role players that understand what they are going to be asked to do on a nightly basis, the Badgers are dangerous.
They certainly proved that on Saturday.
Villanova missed three free throws in the final threes minutes of the game, but their issue in the final minute was that Josh Hart, Villanova’s all-american guard, came up empty on a pair of drives to the rim, including after Hayes’ go-ahead layup.
Hart finished with 19 points on the afternoon.