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Wisconsin Badgered By Cal State Fullerton - Midwest Region

9:50 PM ET, March 20, 2008, Qwest Center Omaha, Omaha, NE
The number 3 seed in the Midwest Wisconsin defeated the # 13 seed Cal State Fullerton 71-56 in there first round game. The Badgers got all they could handle in the first half though from Cal State Fullerton. The Cal State Fullerton Titans were playing in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1978 and jumped out to an early lead in the game. The Titans seemed to shock the Badgers with there speed and ability to get points in the paint off of penetration. As the first half progressed Wisconsin was able to get control of the game on a prolonged scoring drought from Cal State Fullerton, the game looked to be getting away from the Titans however they came back to be down only 2 at halftime 30-28.

In the early going of the second half it appeared that Cal State Fullerton was going to be able to stay in the game as both teams started off slow. As the second half of the game went on though Wisconsin took control of the game despite Cal State Fullerton junior guard Josh Akognon getting hot and scoring 31 points on 11 of 23 shooting with most of his points coming from beyond the arc. The 31 points for Akognon matched a career high and he did it with two Badgers that made the All Big Ten Defensive Team guarding him Michael Flowers, and Joe Krabbenhoft.

Wisconsin appeared to change there defensive philosophy in the paint at some point in the second half of play. The Badgers a team that typically tries to guard down low with positioning and takes a lot of charges, switched to going for blocked shots and got 7 blocked shots in the game. The reason for the switch was the smaller but fast Titans were not commiting many charges and getting to many points in the paint. After the switch to blocking shots the Cal State Fullerton players seemed to become leary of trying to score down low and began to rely almost exclusively on the hot Josh Akognon from the outside for there scoring.

Wisconsin was led in scoring by First Team All Big Ten Player Brian Butch with 14 points. For the Badgers Joe Krabbenhoft and sophmore guard Jason Bohannon both added 13 points. Marcus Landry took the biggest advantage of the Titans lack of size and picked up a team high 12 rebounds. The Badgers have now won 24 of 26 games and 30 games on the season matching there record season last year. Wisconsin was thought to be an average team going into play this season with the loss of All American Alando Tucker and point guard Kamron Taylor, however has had an impressive season playing team basketball at a high level.

The # 3 seed Wisconsin (29-4) will play # 11 seed Kansas State (20-11) in the second round of the Midwest Region on Saturday. Kansas State upset USC on Thursday behind the play of freshman and National Player of the Year canidate Michael Beasley.

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