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Andy Kennedy, making his first NCAA appearance as the Ole Miss coach, has learned to live with his freewheeling, controversial and high-scoring guard.

“It’s like watching NASCAR, waiting for the wreck,” Kennedy said. “His teammates accept it for what it is because they know it’s genuine. It comes from a real place. It comes from a love of the game.”

In experience, the Badgers hold a huge edge. They’ve been to the NCAA tournament 15 years in a row, one of the top five current streaks in the nation. The Rebels, who beat Florida in the finals of the SEC tournament after being picked 12th in the conference preseason poll, are making their first NCAA appearance since 2002.

“What we’ve got to do is we’ve got to do the things that have allowed us to be here,” said Kennedy. “Having won 26 games throughout the course of the regular season, we have to play the basketball that has allowed us to be here.”