No. 12 James Madison makes Round of 32 for first time in 41 years after upsetting No. 5 Wisconsin


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It wouldn’t be March Madness without a 12-seed beating a No. 5, right?

Entering Friday night, the two other five-seeds (Gonzaga and San Diego State) were victorious in the first round, which apparently meant regression was due.

But at Barclays Center, it was James Madison overtaking the fifth-seeded Badgers, 72-61, in the third 5-12 matchup of the tournament.

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Terrence Edwards Jr. #5 and Michael Green III #13 of the James Madison Dukes react during the first half against the Wisconsin Badgers in the first round of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Barclays Center on March 22, 2024 in New York City.  (Elsa/Getty Images)

James Madison opened up the game with an 18-5 run, but Wisconsin responded with an 11-3 run of their own to cut the deficit to five. But the Dukes answered right back with their own 12-0 run to go up 17, their largest of the first 20 minutes.

The Badgers were able to cut it to within eight early in the second half, but that was as close as they’d get for some time, eventually getting it down to six with just under nine minutes left. But JMU answered with a Noah Friedel three that started an 11-3 run to go up 14 with 5:24 to go.

James Madison players high five

James Madison Dukes guard Noah Freidel (1) reacts against the Wisconsin Badgers in the first round of the 2024 NCAA Tournament at the Barclays Center.   (Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports)

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Wisconsin got it back down to nine, but the Dukes quickly got it back up to 14, and there wasn’t enough time for Wisconsin to pull out a miracle.

This is James Madison’s first time in March Madness since the 2013 tournament, when they were a 16-seed – this marks their first time in the Round of 32 since 1983.

Four Dukes put up double-digits (Terrence Edwards Jr. with 14, T.J. Bickerstaff and Julien Wooden each with 12, and Michael Green III with 11 off the bench), while two others (Friedel and Raekwon Horton) each had eight. 

James Madison players huddle

Xavier Brown #0 of the James Madison Dukes huddles with teammates prior to a game against the Wisconsin Badgers in the first round of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Barclays Center on March 22, 2024 in New York City.  (Elsa/Getty Images)

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They will face No. 5 Duke on Sunday in Brooklyn for a chance at their first Sweet 16 trip in school history after the Blue Devils held off a feisty No. 13 Vermont squad – and a crowd that heavily favored the Catamounts.

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