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Iowa State Cyclones vs. Wisconsin Badgers Prediction: NCAA Tournament Second Round Preview

Iowa State Cyclones vs. Wisconsin Badgers Prediction: NCAA Tournament Second Round Preview

Badgers look to punch their ticket to the Sweet 16 with a win over the upset-minded Cyclones

After each team had close first-round games, Iowa State and Wisconsin will meet Sunday for a chance to play in the Sweet 16.

Iowa State (21-12) upset No. 6 LSU 59-54 on Thursday after a 23-point performance from freshman Tyrese Hunter. Wisconsin (25-7) was able to withstand a late effort from No. 14 Colgate for a 67-60 victory.

Sunday's matchup will be the first time the Cyclones and the Badgers have met on the hardwood.

Midwest Region: No. 11 Iowa State Cyclones (21-12) vs. No. 3 Wisconsin Badgers (25-7)

Time: Sunday, March 20 at 6:10 p.m. ET
Where: Fiserv Forum (Milwaukee)
TV: TNT
Spread: Wisconsin -4.5

Keys for Iowa State

Iowa State is led by a group of newcomers, including Tyrese Hunter, who was the Big 12 Freshman of the Year. He is averaging 11.8 points and 4.8 assists per game this season.

In the victory against LSU, Hunter scored 23 points on 8-of-13 shooting, including 7-for-11 from 3-point range. He will need an equally impressive performance against a Wisconsin team that prides itself on defense.

Fifth-year Penn State transfer Izaiah Brockington also will need to be a key contributor as the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year is averaging 17.3 points and seven rebounds per game.

Keys for Wisconsin

The plan for Wisconsin is simple, it will need to defend the 3-pointer better against Iowa State. Colgate exploited Wisconsin's defense, finishing Friday's game with 10 made 3-pointers, although needing 22 attempts to get them.

But the Badgers also held the Raiders scoreless for more than seven minutes in the second half. That key stretch allowed Wisconsin to go on a 10-point run to secure the victory.

The Badgers also do a fine job taking care of the basketball. Wisconsin entered the NCAA Tournament with the fewest turnovers in the nation (8.5 per game). This trend continued against Colgate, as the Badgers turned it over just five times.

Final Analysis

Despite a surge by Colgate, Wisconsin forced the Raiders from their spots, resulting in them shooting 38.6 percent from the field for the game. Yes, Colgate connected on 10 3-pointers but they made only 12 other baskets and shot only 34 percent on attempts from inside the arc. Twelve of Iowa State's 20 made shots in the win over LSU came from long range, so that will undoubtedly be a point of emphasis for the Badgers. If the Cyclones, particularly Hunter, aren't hitting from deep, it may be hard for them to keep up. Meanwhile, Wisconsin will need the usual contributions from Johnny Davis, the Big Ten Player of the Year, and Tyler Wahl, who nearly had a double-double (15 points, 9 rebounds) on Friday.

In the end, the combination of Davis and Wahl along with the Badgers' solid ball-handling, will likely be too much for a Cyclones team that has been inconsistent at times.

Prediction: Wisconsin 65, Iowa State 63

— Written by Antwan Staley, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and has extensive experience covering Florida sports teams. Staley has written for Bleacher Report, Pro Player Insiders and is a reporter for Sports Talk Florida. Follow him on Twitter @antwanstaley.