First of all, special thanks go out to Joe Krabbenhoft. His second 3-pointer in the month of February could not have come at a better time than with 2:08 remaining in Wisconsin’s Valentine’s Day battle against The Ohio State University. The shot gave UW a 50-48 lead and the Badgers never looked back.
Saturday night’s win was huge for Wisconsin, but clinching an NCAA Tournament berth is still not going to be easy. Here are six reasons why:
Reason # 6: Ohio State
The Buckeyes finished 10-8 in conference play last season and did not get into the NCAA Tournament. The Big Ten is much improved this season and OSU lost four of its last six regular season games a year ago. But I wouldn’t feel too comfortable on Selection Sunday if Wisconsin went 10-8 and lost in the first round of the Big Ten tournament.
Reason # 5: No huge statement wins
Wisconsin’s biggest wins this year are against Illinois and Ohio State. These are nice, but both came at home. The win at Michigan was big at the time, but may not look so big at the end of the year. With a win at Michigan State or at Minnesota, the Badgers would almost have to be a lock.
Reason # 4: Indiana
I realize the Hoosiers are 1-11 in conference play, but winning road games in the Big Ten is never easy. Illinois built a huge lead against Tom Crean’s club and had to hang on down the stretch. The Hoosiers always play with energy and effort. Crean also likes to mix up defenses to throw teams off their rhythm. When IU switched to a triangle-and-two defense Sunday, the Illini looked completely baffled. Wisconsin has proven to be a team prone to offensive droughts. They will have to clean the offensive glass to beat the Hoosiers.
Check back tomorrow to see the top 3.