BOSTON—The NCAA has a parquet floor ready to go here at TD Garden, and Wisconsin and Syracuse are set to tip at 6:15 p.m. central time. Here are some notes on both teams in advance of the night’s first Sweet 16 matchup.
• Wisconsin (16) and Syracuse (15) rank No. 10 and No. 11 respectively in tournament wins since 2001-’02. The Badgers have made the Sweet 16 five times under head coach Bo Ryan, who is 16-10 in the tournament at UW. Kansas leads the nation in that timeframe with 29 wins.
• Syracuse makes a living forcing turnovers. Their opponents for the season average 16.4 turnovers per game and the Orange average 10.4 steals per game. All five probable starters for Syracuse average over a steal a game.
• Wisconsin has held 13 opponents under 50 points this year and they lead the nation in scoring defense, allowing just 52.9 points per game. The Orange will try to get out in transition and use a multitude of weapons—they have six available players that average over seven points per game. The ‘Cuse average 74.5 points per game, but have started slowly in both tournament games so far, totaling 24 first half points against Kansas State and 30 against UNC-Ashville. In contrast, the team racked up 92 second-half points in the two games combined.
• The Orange will be without starting center Fab Melo, who is ineligible for the tournament due to academic reasons. In 30 games this year, Melo averaged 7.8 points per game, 4.8 rebounds and an impressive 2.9 blocks.
• The Badgers attempted 33 3-point attempts in their third round matchup against Vanderbilt and made 10. Ryan said this week Syracuse does a good job of taking away the three-point line despite playing a zone, but perimeter shooting will be important for Wisconsin. The team record for three-point attempts in a tournament game is 37, reached in 1994 against Missouri.
• A couple of interesting notes on the Badgers: They’re 20-2 when they shoot 40 percent from the floor this year and 21-1 when they hold the lead at halftime.
• Wisconsin senior point guard Jordan Taylor is averaging 15.5 points, 5 reb., and 4.5 assists so far in the tournament. He has just two turnovers. Junior forward Mike Bruesewitz broke out of an 0-18 skid from three-point range in the second round against Montana and is 4-6 from beyond the arc in the tournament.
• After Syracuse forward and scoring leader Kris Joseph (13.7 ppg), only one other player averages double-figures. That’s sophomore guard Dion Waiters, who averages 12.7 and comes off the bench for head coach Jim Boeheim.