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A Great Depression?

It was a cold dark night in January, but the Kohl Center was buzzing like a bustling speakeasy. Badger fans were doing the Charleston (or maybe it was the Time Warp) in the aisles. Happy times were here again, the drinks flowed and all seemed right with the world.

Head coach Bo Ryan was working his usual magic—beating more athletic teams with a lethal mixture of defense, fundamentals and Al Capone-like toughness.

As one might have said during the height of the Roaring 20s, "the swing (offense) was the cats’ meow." And when that swing offense helped UW make the Wildcats look like kittens on January 7th, few Badger fans would have predicted the crash that was to follow.

Less than three weeks after cruising to a 74-45 victory over Northwestern, Wisconsin finds itself in the midst of a deep downward spiral.

The question that now remains is how low will the Badgers go?

When the Badgers and Boilermakers met on January 11th, they were two teams headed in different directions. Purdue had lost its first two Big Ten contests and desperately needed a victory. Wisconsin was 3-0 in conference games and played like a team who could afford to lose.

The actors will be the same on the Kohl Center stage Tuesday night, but the roles will be reversed.

If the Badgers have any dreams of dancing in the NCAA Tournament come March, they need to defeat the Boilermakers.

With a win, Wisconsin can regain some of its confidence that has disappeared over the last four games and begin a run to the postseason. With a loss, Badger fans can pretty much start looking forward to baseball season …oh, wait.

I still believe that Ryan can turn this team around, and seniors like Krabbenhoft and Landry have too much pride to let their team go into the tank.

After four straight losses, the Badgers should be playing loose. (Seriously, could it get any worse than losing to Iowa?)

At this point, all they have to fear is fear itself.