Sunday's game vs. Michigan State was hardly of "must-win" importance for Wisconsin, if you take any stake in such labels. After all, the Big Ten title is almost assuredly, sadly out of reach, and the Badgers will certainly garner a fair NCAA tournament seed. The latest ESPN bracketelogy has UW as a No. 4 seed in the West, two wins away from potentially facing No. 1 seed Arizona. Considering the full details of this season, that seems fair.
One additional, bonus lining, though, came Monday morning when the latest AP Top 25 was released and included Wisconsin yet again. Last week, the Badgers fell out all together and also landed on the brink at No. 24 in the USA TODAY Coaches Poll. Now, they're No. 21 in both.
Michigan State remains the cream of the Big Ten crop after a 1-1 week, holding steady at No. 9 in the AP poll and dropping two spots to No. 10 in the Coaches. Next is Michigan (No. 15 in the AP, No. 18 in the Coaches after going 1-1) and Iowa (Nos. 16, 15, respectively, at 1-1). After Wisconsin at No. 21, Ohio State rounds out the conference top-25ers at No. 22 in the AP and No. 20 in the Coaches after a pair of wins.
Next up for Wisconsin is Minnesota at home on Thursday followed by a trip to Michigan on Sunday.
AP Top 25
|1||Syracuse Orange (65)||23-0||1625||1|
|4||Wichita St. Shockers||25-0||1445||4|
|5||San Diego St. Aztecs||21-1||1373||5|
|8||Duke Blue Devils||19-5||1130||11|
|9||Michigan St. Spartans||20-4||1025||9|
|11||Iowa St. Cyclones||18-4||925||16|
|12||Saint Louis Billikens||22-2||908||13|
|22||Ohio St. Buckeyes||19-5||214||27|
USA TODAY Coaches Poll
|1||Syracuse Orange (32)||23-0||800||1|
|2||Wichita St. Shockers||25-0||744||2|
|5||San Diego St. Aztecs||21-1||675||5|
|9||Duke Blue Devils||19-5||511||11|
|10||Michigan St. Spartans||20-4||479||8|
|12||Saint Louis Billikens||22-2||427||15|
|14||Iowa St. Cyclones||18-4||369||17|
|20||Ohio St. Buckeyes||19-5||162||25|
- Looking back on Nigel Hayes' performance, Traevon Jackson's winner and what still ails UW
- Recap: Jackson, Hayes hold off Michigan State
- Wisconsin Badgers happy to have Minnesota native Grant Besse
- Hockey recap: Badgers sweep top-ranked Gophers
- Podcast: National Signing Day 2014 recap with BadgerNation.com