Game Day: Ole Miss vs. Wisconsin

KANSAS CITY -- After a rigorous non-conference and Big Ten schedule, No. 5 Wisconsin will put their body of work to the test in the NCAA Tournament, opening up against No. 12 Ole Miss.

Henderson was named the MVP of the SEC Tournament last weekend.

The Badgers are making their 19th appearance overall in the NCAA Tournament and 15th consecutive, which is the fourth longest active streak in the country.

The Rebels are coming off their first SEC Tournament Championship since 1981 and just the second SEC Tourney title in school history. The Rebels are making their seventh appearance in the Big Dance and sport a 3-6 record in the Big Dance. Ole Miss' last appearance came in 2002 in the West Region in Pittsburgh, where the Rebels dropped a opening round game to UCLA.

2 Players to Watch

Ole Miss Junior Guard Marshall Henderson

Henderson was named the SEC Tournament MVP after leading the Rebels to the title last weekend. The junior averaging a team-best 20.1 points per game. He led the SEC and ranks third in the nation in 3-pointers made (3.9 pg) and led the conference in scoring.

Wisconsin Senior Forward Ryan Evans

Evans has been elevating his game at the right time. The senior was named to the Big Ten All-Tournament team after averaging 11 points, six rebounds, and four assists in three games. Last season at this time, Evans also picked up his play scoring 18 points in Wisconsin's round of 64 win over Montana.

4 Keys to the Game

Ole Miss has an underrated front line.

1. Slow the game down

Ole Miss ranks seventh in the nation in scoring at 78.2 points per game and seventh in possessions at 73.7 per game.

2. Win the turnover battle

The Rebels thrive on forcing turnovers, ranking No. 10 in the nation in turnover margin (+ 4.2). The Badgers are at No. 86 in the country (+1.5).

3. Volume high, percentages low

Marshall Henderson is going to get shots, but the Badgers need to keep his shooting percentage low. Henderson ranks first on the Ole Miss single-season list for 3-point field goal attempts (367) and first in 3-pointers made (131). Henderson ranks first in SEC history for attempts in one season and third on the SEC season-single list for 3-point field goals.

4. Inside play

The Rebels' front line of Murphy Holloway and Reginald Buckner lead all active SEC players, and ranks seventh in the nation, with 38 career double-doubles and ranks third in the league and 23rd in the nation this year with 13 double-doubles. Their combined 1,933 career rebounds is second best among active players in the nation and 54 combined double-doubles ranks first among active players in the SEC and third in the nation. Ole Miss is 10-3 this season when Holloway records a double-double and 6-2 this year when Buckner pulls off the feat.

7 Notable Stats

- Wisconsin will make its 19th appearance in the NCAA tournament. The Badgers are 25-17 (.595) all-time in the Big Dance, advancing to the 2000 Final Four and winning the 1941 NCAA title.

- Wisconsin has qualified for each of the last 15 consecutive NCAA tournaments, the 4th-longest active streak in the country and it ties as the 7th-longest in NCAA history.

- The Badgers have been to the NCAA tournament in each of Bo Ryan’s 12 seasons at Wisconsin. In Ryan’s first 11 NCAA tournament appearances, Wisconsin owns a 16-11 record and has advanced to five Sweet 16s and an Elite Eight in 2005.

- Wisconsin’s 16 NCAA tournament wins since 2001-02 (Bo Ryan era) rank 10th in the nation and second among Big Ten teams (Michigan State - 21).

- Wisconsin has played one previous NCAA tournament game in Kansas City, winning the 1941 National Championship with a 39-34 win over Washington State at Municipal Arena.

- Friday’s game marks the 1st-ever meeting between Wisconsin and Ole Miss in basketball.

- Wisconsin is 23-16 all-time against members of the SEC. The Badgers played a pair of SEC foes this season in non-conference play, losing at Florida, 74-56, and beating Arkansas, 77-70, in the Las Vegas Invitational.

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