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Schedule in UW's favor despite 6-game losing streak

So I can’t decide if I like the vastly improved Big Ten or not. On one hand, we are getting great game after great game (i.e. Penn State upsetting Michigan State today), but on the other hand, the Wisconsin Badgers are getting exposed.

After losing Alando Tucker and Kammron Taylor in 2007, it appeared UW was entering a two-year transition period. But with a recipe of great defense, even better coaching and an awful year for the Big Ten, the 2007-08 Badgers topped the Tucker-Taylor team and won the Big Ten title and Big Ten Tournament title, despite an inconsistent offense.

The truth is that last year’s Badgers were good, but they greatly benefitted from playing in a conference that was as painful to watch as the NBDL.

Now the Big Ten is undoubtedly the most improved conference in the country, and the Badgers are on a six-game losing streak. It’s hardly a coincidence. UW has lost their last five games by an average of a little less than four points per game. Wisconsin is better than its 3-6 conference record, but what is happening this year is exactly the opposite of what happened last season. The defense is worse without Michael Flowers and the offense is still inconsistent. Add in much tougher competition and it’s no surprise that Wisconsin is struggling.

But here’s some breaking news: Wisconsin can still make the tournament.

We’re halfway through the Big Ten schedule and Wisconsin is 3-6. The second half is setup for a likely 6-3 finish. That puts UW at 9-9 in a very tough conference, with the RPI on their side. They will still be a bubble team, but one that would probably only need one win in the conference tournament to get into the tournament. Plus, the predicted three losses are at Penn State, at Michigan State and at Minnesota. It’s conceivable that Wisconsin could pull out one of those games, although it’s not likely.

The predicted wins are home games against Illinois, Iowa, Ohio State, Michigan and Indiana with a road win at Indiana. That’s hardly a lot to ask.

It’s been a rough ride so far, but the schedule is now in UW’s favor.

Oh, and Bo Ryan is still the head coach.