Badgers continue to rely on strong defensive ways - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Badgers continue to rely on strong defensive ways

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PHILADELPHIA, Pa. (WKOW) -- When it comes to running up the scoreboard and trying to simply outscore the other team, the Badgers don't buy in. But when it comes to strong defense, pulling fouls, and slowing down the pace of the game, the Badgers are 100% on board. 

Since the start of the tournament, the seventh-seeded Badgers are averaging just 56.6 points per game. Yet, they find themselves locked in the Sweet 16 with Notre Dame standing in their way of a third consecutive trip to the Elite 8. So what has gotten Wisconsin to the third round of the tournament? Defense.

"You've got to give them a lot of credit. They're a great defensive team. Probably one of the best in the country, " says Notre Dame forward Zach Auguste, "But at the same time I think we're one of the most efficient offensive teams in the country so I think it's going to be a great matchup."

Wisconsin currently ranks 18th in the country in scoring defense and in the tournament, they're allowing a low 53 points per game. 

On the flip side, sixth-seeded Notre Dame is averaging 73 points per game in their two games in the tournament. 

"We'll have to be very good in transition. We're going to have to be very good in the gaps, in terms of taking away dribble penetration, "head coach Greg Gard said during Thursday's press conference, "We obviously have to get out on shooters."

Under Gard's leadership, the young Badger squad has bought in on their defense-first strategy.

"I think defense is going to be the big key coming up in this game," freshman forward Charlie Thomas said in the locker room Thursday, "And it has been ever since the beginning of this tournament. Like, we played great defense on Pitt and Xavier, which is why we won those games. Offense doesn't really win it."

The Fighting Irish and the Badgers will face-off Friday, March 25, at 6:27 p.m. (CT) on TBS. 

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