James Madison F T.J. Bickerstaff gives Wisconsin bulletin-board material ahead of NCAA Tournament matchup

Wisconsin basketball begins its NCAA Tournament quest Friday night against No. 12 seed James Madison.

The Badgers ride momentum from a 3-1 week at the Big Ten Tournament into the tournament. The team is playing its best basketball of the season after a forgettable 3-8 stretch that largely coincided with the month of February.

Greg Gard’s program enters mired in a seven-year Sweet 16 drought. Two wins in Brooklyn, New York, would go a long way toward the public perception entering 2024-25.

Related: Wisconsin Badgers vs. James Madison Dukes: Preview and prediction for NCAA Tournament round of 64

James Madison, meanwhile, has become a popular upset pick by fans and analysts. The Dukes enter with a 31-3 record and riding a 13-game win streak.

While the team hasn’t played a tough schedule, it is one of the nation’s hottest entering the tournament.

Wisconsin should have plenty of reason to show up Friday night despite a tiring week at the Big Ten Tournament. If the team needed a chip on its shoulder, James Madison forward T.J. Bickerstaff may have provided it when he called Wisconsin “a really good matchup for us.”

Bickerstaff is one of the Dukes’ leaders, averaging 13.4 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. What he and his team do not have, however, is height. James Madison’s tallest player is 6 feet, 9 inches — the same height as Wisconsin’s Tyler Wahl.

The Dukes do not have a matchup for Steven Crowl or for Nolan Winter off the bench. Maybe Bickerstaff believes that will give his team an athleticism advantage or the ability to find winning matchups, but his comments may turn into fuel for the Badgers entering the contest.

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Story originally appeared on Badgers Wire