MILWAUKEE (AP) - Hometown kid on one side, the in-state favorites on the other.
Toss in a contrast in styles, and up-tempo Oregon against efficient Wisconsin should make for an intriguing NCAA tournament matchup in Milwaukee.
The seventh-seeded Ducks and second-seeded Badgers each pulled away for double-digit victories Thursday to advance to a West Region third-round game. Their Saturday night meeting figures to be much closer.
“We have to face a team that gets it up and down. They can score in half court, they can score in full court,” Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan said Friday. “They put a lot of pressure on you.”
Expect the BMO Harris Bradley Center stands to be filled with Wisconsin red again. After the home campus in Madison, Milwaukee might be the next biggest epicenter of Badgers backers.
But at least one Duck might draw more support than usual on the road.
Sophomore Elgin Cook calls Milwaukee home - was even the City Conference Player of the Year in 2010. His father is former NBA All-Star Alvin Robertson, who played with the Bucks in the early 1990s in the same arena in which Cook will take the floor against Wisconsin.
Imagine how thrilled his friends in the stands must have been when Cook scored 23 points in 23 minutes off the bench in the Ducks’ 87-68 victory over BYU in the second round Thursday.
“When you’ve still got your friends and family in the crowd, you’re still going to play inspired basketball when you’re in your hometown,” guard Johnathan Loyd said.
Cook has been getting good-natured grief all week from his teammates because of the media attention for his connections to Milwaukee. He was peppered with more questions Friday about how his father influenced his style of play. Robertson was the 1986 NBA Defensive Player of the Year while with San Antonio.
“I’m just trying to mold my game around that and become the best player I can become,” he said.
The soft-spoken forward seems to want to make his statements on the court.
Five things to watch in a matchup between power-conference programs:
WELCOME HOME: Cook, a sophomore and junior college transfer, didn’t appear to be high on the Badgers’ recruiting wish list when he was in high school, and vice versa.
No bulletin board material here, though.