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Badger Bits: How Much Should We Panic Over Wisconsin Basketball?

Gross overreaction to Wednesday night's loss: Are the Badgers an NCAA Tournament team?

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Mary Langenfeld-US PRESSWIRE

With a 4-3 start to the season following a 60-54 loss to the Virginia Cavaliers on Wednesday night, it's safe to say the Wisconsin Badgers are off to a bad start. The team hasn't lost three games in November since starting the 2001-02 season with a 3-6 record. That squad (Bo Ryan's first as the head coach of Wisconsin) eventually made the NCAA Tournament with a 19-13 record on the strength of a six-game winning streak to end the regular season.

This year's squad hasn't gotten off to the same inept start, but it could have a tough time bouncing back against a very strong conference slate. In 01-02, only Ohio State and Illinois finished in the final regular season AP and Coaches polls, and both were outside the Top 10. Currently, six conference opponents are ranked in the AP Top 25 (granted, with Michigan State potentially tumbling out shortly), and three schools are ranked in the Top 5 (Ohio State is likely on their way out, but they won't fall far).

With a difficult schedule coupling with a litany of un-Bo-Ryan-like problems that surfaced Wednesday night--poor shooting, ball distribution and rebounding--how much should we be panicking right now? I ask because I am curious to see the response, and because I know there are way better basketball minds than mine. Is this an NCAA Tournament team right now? Will it be come March?

Please don't kill me.

Thursday's Links:

Rejoice! Jared Abbrederis has been cleared to play this weekend.

Montee Ball was named an All-American for a second straight season by coaches. He is also the only Big Ten player on this year's first team.

Wisconsin's O-line needs to play better, apparently.

Nebraska pays Wisconsin's due respect, and other notes out of Lincoln.

The State Journal chimes in for Matt Canada psychoanalysis week.

Corn Nation takes a second look at Wisconsin's season.

SHOCKING: Ticket sales to the B1G Championship Game are lagging.

OTE Power Poll is up. Wisconsin is No. 6, but it doesn't matter because B1G Championship Game, other schools are naughty, etc.

Wrapping up: Just a quick reminder that this exists, and is terrifying.