Wisconsin forward Nigel Hayes (10) scores the game-winning basket against Villanova guard Mikal Bridges (25) with 11 seconds to play in the second half of a second-round men's NCAA Tournament game Saturday. (AP Photo/Bill Wippert)
Wisconsin is in the Sweet 16 for the sixth time in seven years and the 11th program all-time to make it a fourth consecutive year. As a No. 8 seed, it ranks as the most improbable of the four in a row.
The Badgers were a No. 2 seed in 2014, a No. 1 in '15 and a No. 7 last year.
This time, they advanced to a regional semifinal by knocking out defending national champion and No. 1 overall seed Villanova 65-62 in Buffalo, New York.
Nigel Hayes, one of four seniors on the team, made a nifty move in the post for the go-ahead basket.
Afterward, Hayes said in a television interview that to him this will be the best of his Sweet 16s because he and his teammates had to work so hard to get to this point. Hayes' class has lived in the shadow of recent Final Four teams that featured Frank Kaminsky, Sam Dekker, Josh Gasser, Traevon Jackson and Duje Dukan.
Last year's team went 22-13 and lost to Notre Dame in the Sweet 16. The 2017 Badgers are 27-9.
"Especially my senior class, we have been told we weren't able to accomplish anything on our because we wouldn't have the likes of our seniors Frank, Sam, Josh, Trae and Duje," Hayes said. "We love those guys, but we know we can do something on our own."
The most recent teams to go to four straight Sweet 16s were Louisville and Michigan State, from 2012-15.
Villanova is the first overall No. 1 seed to lose in the round of 32 since Northern Iowa beat Kansas in 2010.