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Staff Predictions for Wisconsin Badgers vs. Florida Gators in Sweet 16

Making the Sweet 16 is a huge feat, doing it four-straight seasons? Well, no one in college basketball today can make that claim except for these Wisconsin Badgers. 

However, there is more history to be made for UW’s players. A win in this matchup with the Florida Gators and this class of seniors will have won more games in a four-year span than any other in program history.

Las Vegas has the Gators as a two-point favorite, but we all know what the Badgers think of the odds and being doubted in general.

After looking at what we can learn from Florida’s three losses to Vanderbilt and examining the three keys to a Badgers victory, it is time to put our staff to the test — making a prediction.

Will Wisconsin continue on the quest it had since last season ended? Or will the fate that befell the other two Big Ten teams that were in the Sweet 16 also come to fruition for Wisconsin?

Let’s see how our staff sees things going down on Friday night.

Rayan Vatti

NCAA Tournament Predictions Record: 2-0

Score Prediction: Wisconsin 62, Florida 60

Reasoning: Don’t be fooled by their seed. Florida, ranked as the No. 3 team in the country by Ken Pomeroy, is a really good team. They have a stellar defense, led by their quick, relentless group of guards.

However, they suffer from the same weakness Villanova did. After losing starting center John Egbunu to a torn ACL, they lack size on the interior. Because of that, Ethan Happ and Nigel Hayes should continue to feast on the post and in the paint, leading to a narrow Badger victory.

Zach Worthington

NCAA Tournament Predictions Record: 1-1

Score Prediction: Wisconsin 64, Florida 61

Reasoning: I expect the key to the game to be whether or not Florida can force turnovers & get out in transition. It would be in UW’s best interest to slow the game down & take good care of the ball tonight. In the end I like UW’s chances of stopping Florida in the half court & wouldn’t be surprised to see Florida get a bit frustrated as they will have to play in the half court more than they would like – I like UW to win a grinder 64-61

Andy Coppens

NCAA Tournament Predictions Record: 1-1

Score Prediction: Wisconsin 68, Florida 62

Reasoning: Size matters…or something like that. In the case of this matchup, the size and abilities of both Ethan Happ and Nigel Hayes have no match on the Gators. When the Badgers are at their most dangerous, one or two of the above mentioned players are getting things done down low. It opens things up on the perimeter and allows players like Bronson Koenig and Vitto Brown to bang away from deep.

Wisconsin has proven they can dictate pace and play smart basketball so far this tournament. It is hard to believe that this group of seniors is going to lose that edge. Experience and recent performance give me confidence that Wisconsin can win this game.

Andy Coppens is the Founder and Publisher of Talking10. He’s a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and has been covering college sports in some capacity since 2008. You can follow him on Twitter @AndyOnFootball

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