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Tucker, Wisconsin look to dispatch upstart UNLV

Mar 18, 2007 - 2:02 PM No. 7 UNLV (29-6) at No. 2 Wisconsin (30-5) 2:30 pm EDT

CHICAGO (Ticker) -- After a stellar season, Alando Tucker did not plan on getting knocked out in the first round. But he needed help from teammate Kammron Taylor to advance.

After getting a scare against upset-minded Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Friday, the second-seeded Badgers will take on No. 7 Nevada-Las Vegas on Sunday in a second-round contest in the Midwest Region.

A veteran forward, Tucker is the Big Ten Player of the Year, Wisconsin's all-time leading scorer and a legitimate pro prospect. However, it was his Taylor who carried the squad past the pesky Islanders.

The Badgers came back to post a 76-63 victory after trailing by as many as 18. Taylor scored all 24 of his points in the final 10:42, including numerous big shots down the stretch.

The Runnin' Rebels last appeared in the NCAA Tournament in 2000, losing in the first round to Tulsa. They had not won a game in this tournament since making a run to the Final Four in 1991. Then the coach was Jerry Tarkanian and the team featured Larry Johnson, Stacey Augmon, Greg Anthony and Anderson Hunt.

But Lon Kruger, UNLV's current coach, has plenty of experience in this event. He is one of just five coaches in history to take four different schools to the NCAA Tournament, also guiding Kansas State, Illinois and Florida to the tournament. The other coaches are Eddie Sutton, Lefty Driesell, Rick Pitino and Jim Harrick.

The Rebels posted a 67-63 victory over 10th-seeded Georgia Tech in the first round. Wendell White scored 14 of his 19 points in the second half, including the go-ahead basket with 1:11 left.

The winner here will face the winner of the No. 11 Winthrop and third-seeded Oregon matchup in the regional semifinals.