After a rough January the Badgers have roared back into the top 10 with a near perfect February, 8-1 to be exact, with that loss coming on February 1st to then #24 Ohio State - cbssports.com/collegebasketball/gametracker/recap/NCAAB_20140201_OHIOST@WISC
Since then Wisconsin has piled up 8 in a row, winning many close games, and with a win against Nebraska the Badgers will close with 9 wins in a row and be a two seed heading into the Big 10 tournament. Right now according to the bracket layout their 2nd round match-up (after their bye) would be between the winner of Minnesota and Penn State. Between now and then those teams could change as the 7-12 seeds are only separated by 2 games, so that game to play Wisconsin could just as easily be between Indiana and Illinois.
Let's say Wisconsin does play one of those 4 schools (or even Northwestern or Purdue..yea the standings are crowded) and they lose, will that significantly hurt the Badgers seeding when the tournament tips off?
At this moment there is little doubt that Wisconsin will be in the top 10 overall seeds in the tourney, right now they are the total seed number 8, being the 2 seed in the Midwest Bracket according to ESPN's bracketology. (Click here for the bracket). The resume speaks for itself as does the winning steak lately, but what are the possible scenarios for tournament play that could affect the Badgers, negatively or positively?
A)They could lose the 2nd round game to under .500 Big 10 team (under .500 in conference play)
-This would be worst case for multiple reasons: It hurts the momentum heading into the dance, it hurts their resume and could bump them from a 2 seed, it might allow for another Big 10 into the dance with that big win (but maybe that's not so bad)
B) They could win onward to the semi or final of the tourney and lose
-This would be better and let Wisconsin to walk into the NCAA tourney with their last game being a loss to an elite team, probably a top 4 seed in the B1G. I assume this would also be a somewhat predictable end seeding-wise and keep them in the same 2 seed they currently sit in.
C) They could win the B1G
-Keep the steak alive (would then be at 12 wins in a row when the ncaa tourney begins), could help the Badgers earn a #1 seed for the dance especially if the current favorites falter (like my option A), but also might add pressure to the team since they would be on such a long win steak.
In the end I would assume Wisconsin enters the tourney as a 2 or 3 seed and finding themselves in Milwaukee for their first match-up. Something worth noting is that if Wisconsin ascended to a 1 seed (ideally Midwest) then they would have to go to St. Louis which isn't far but for home court advantage it doesn't get much better than Milwaukee unless it was Madison itself. Outside of being a 1 in STL or a 2/3 in Milwaukee it doesn't look good as the locations for 4 seeds are Spokane at 1600 miles, San Diego at 2000, and Orlando at 1300.