Baylor and Wisconsin have never met in men’s basketball, and the unpredictable Bears have little in common with the disciplined Badgers at first glance.
Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan and Baylor’s Scott Drew recognized one big similarity as their teams prepared for their matchup in Anaheim, Calif.: They both know what to do when they get to March.
Sixth-seeded Baylor (26-11) and second-seeded Wisconsin (28-7) went through workouts yesterday at Honda Center before they play tonight for a spot in the West Regional final.
Although the building is unfamiliar, the stakes are not: The Badgers are in the Sweet 16 for the third time in four years, while the Bears have made it three times in the past five.
Past postseason success is fine, but the coaches know that it could fade in the face of Baylor’s baffling zone defense or Wisconsin’s famed intensity.
“I think every coach would tell you they would rather have that experience than not have it,” Drew said. “But it doesn’t guarantee you anything. That’s what makes March Madness. Even if you play well, it might be your last game because there are so many great teams and great players.”
Wisconsin also is trying not to look beyond its Sweet 16 game, but the Badgers clearly would love to book Ryan’s trip to his first Final Four.
Ryan has piled up 702 career victories as a coach at three Wisconsin schools, but his Badgers have reached just one regional final and no Final Fours during 13 consecutive NCAA tournament trips.
“The moment you start to look ahead is when you get yourself in trouble,” guard Ben Brust said. “So we focus on this Baylor team for the 40 minutes we’re guaranteed.”
Manhattan coach placed on leave
Steve Masiello’s promising coaching career is in limbo after his deal with South Florida fell apart because he doesn’t have a college diploma.
Manhattan College said Masiello had been placed on leave while he is “reviewing his degree status.”
South Florida confirmed it had an agreement in principle to lure Masiello away from Manhattan, but the contract was contingent on “a verification of credentials.”
USF requires its basketball coach to have at least a bachelor’s degree. Masiello, 39, did not graduate after attending Kentucky.
Masiello has a 61-39 record in three seasons at Manhattan. His bio on the school’s athletics website says he graduated from Kentucky in 2000 with a degree in communications.
ACC tournament moving to Brooklyn
The Atlantic Coast Conference will hold its men’s tournament at Barclays Center in Brooklyn in 2017 and 2018.
The Atlantic 10 was scheduled to play its tournament there through 2017. Instead, it will move in exchange for playing an ACC/A-10 doubleheader at Barclays during the 2015-16, 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons. The A-10 tournament will return to Barclays in 2019.