Wisconsin notes: Will experience help Badgers early vs. Kentucky?

Posted Friday, Apr. 04, 2014  comments  Print Reprints

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Much has been made of Kentucky’s youth and Wisconsin’s experience going into Saturday night’s semifinal game at AT&T Stadium. And that could come into play early.

Wisconsin should be better equipped to handle the magnitude of the game initially and possibly take an early lead.

“None of us have been to the Final Four on either team, I guess for the rotation players, so I don’t think there’s necessarily an advantage,” Wisconsin junior guard Josh Gasser said. “But I hope so.”

Kentucky has trailed in each of its previous three games before rallying late for wins.

NBA talk?

Frank Kaminsky has become one of the stars of March. Arizona coach Sean Miller said that Kaminsky and his 28 points is why Wisconsin beat the top-seeded Wildcats to earn a berth in the Final Four.

Kaminsky, a 7-footer, has enjoyed a breakout season in his junior year and has gotten the attention of NBA scouts and executives. But he isn’t too concerned about his NBA status in the midst of the Final Four.

“I’m not paying attention to any of that,” Kaminsky said.

Son of a Mav

Wisconsin junior point guard Traevon Jackson will be playing in the Final Four for the first time Saturday night and his dad, Jim Jackson, will be in attendance.

Jim Jackson was the Dallas Mavericks’ first-round pick (fourth overall) in the 1992 NBA Draft and played for them until being traded in February 1997. He now works as an analyst on the Big Ten network and even interviewed his son during a segment from AT&T Stadium.

“It has been a good time,” Traevon said. “I am glad he was able to come down here. This is one of the first times I have seen him all year. He has been working a lot. I am just excited to actually see him and spend some time with him.”

Lone Big Ten rep

The Big Ten had had a chance of having three teams advance to the Final Four. But in the Elite Eight, Michigan lost to Kentucky and Michigan State fell to Connecticut.

Wisconsin was the only team that survived, and senior guard Ben Brust is happy about that. He would have been OK with a Big Ten-heavy Final Four, however.

“Just to show the level of Big Ten play, which I think is the best in the country,” Brust said. “Getting three to the Elite Eight is good, but it would’ve been very special to have three of the four Final Four teams.”


• Senior forward Zach Bohannon took a “selfie” with former President George W. Bush on Thursday in Dallas during the Final Four Salute program and has become well known on social media because of it. “I had no idea that President Bush was going to be in the building at all,” he said. “I guess the moment was just right and everything fell into place for that to happen.”

• Freshman forward Nigel Hayes on if he’ll buy cowboy boots in Texas: “No, I’ve never owned a pair. I may get a hat, though.”

• Sophomore forward Sam Dekker on playing for Florida coach Billy Donovan on the U.S. under-18 team: “He does a lot of things similar to coach Ryan. He does things the right way and it was an honor to play for him.”

Drew Davison, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @drewdavison

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