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Selection Sunday Preview: Where will the Badgers end up?

The Badgers are literally limping into the NCAA Tournament.
The Badgers are literally limping into the NCAA Tournament.

INDIANAPOLIS -- So how damaging was last night's 36-33 loss for the Badgers?

It depends on how you look at it.

If you're someone who doesn't believe NCAA Tournament seeding is all that important, then it's easy to shrug off the loss considering conference tournament championships hardly seem like a prize NCAA Tournament bound teams care about.

But if you're someone who thinks the luck of the NCAA draw is important -- i.e. getting the most favorable matchups possible -- then it certainly helps to have a better seed and play close to home.

In that case, the Badgers' loss was very significant. And if you factor in how they lost, it's very possible Wisconsin ends up with a No. 5 seed when the bracket is announced Sunday evening.

As one twitter follower put it: "After this performance, we deserve a 5 seed in Moscow."

There's no question the Badgers are failing the eye test right now, which whether you like it or not, is a factor in how the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee sets the field.

The general consensus is that the Badgers can do no better than a No. 4 seed and a No. 5 seed is more than possible at this point. That means UW could end up playing one of two No. 12 seeds who will have to play an extra game either Tuesday and Wednesday in what is now the first round of the tournament.

And you can completely throw out Chicago. Purdue opened the door by losing by 18 to Michigan State, but the Badgers couldn't take advantage. Notre Dame is going to get a No. 2 seed at the very least, which means Wisconsin would have to fall all the way to a No. 7 seed to play in Notre Dame's pod.

You could argue the Badgers are worthy of a No. 7 seed, but they won't fall that far.

2010-11 Badgers

Overall record: 23-8
Big Ten record: 13-6

RPI: 13 (before Friday's loss)
AP: 13
Coaches: 13

Key wins: at Marquette, Ohio State, Purdue

Key losses: at UNLV, at Penn State, vs Penn State (BTT)

The truth is, Wisconsin's resume looks a lot better than its play on the court, which is why the Badgers may end up with a No. 4 seed anyway. Where they play their games is a complete toss up, however. Cleveland, Tulsa, Chicago and Charlotte are very unlikely because all four sites will probably host No. 1 or No. 2 seeds. Top teams like Ohio State, Pittsburgh, Kansas, Texas, Duke, and North Carolina are all near those cities. That means those sites will not be hosting No. 4 or No. 5 seeds.

That leaves Denver, Tampa, Washington D.C. and Tuscon for the Badgers. Take your pick. None of those cities are close.

So I ask you again: How significant was Friday's loss to Penn State?