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The Week Ahead: Badgers Look To Finish Season Strong

The Badgers will look to close out the season on a high note after beating Ohio State on the road.
The Badgers will look to close out the season on a high note after beating Ohio State on the road.

MADISON, Wis. -- We're in the home stretch for Wisconsin Badger Basketball. Coming off a big road win at Ohio State, the Badgers have two games left at the Kohl Center to finish out the regular season. And while they still have those two games against Minnesota and Illinois left to go, the Badgers might already think they're caught in March Madness.

Following the win in Columbus the Badgers have just one day to prepare for the Gophers, which sophomore guard Josh Gasser addressed before practice on Monday.

"It's kind of like a tournament atmosphere with the one day turnaround," Gasser said. "It's always nice to have quick turnarounds like this before the tournament actually starts. This is our season from here on in, one game after another, not many breaks, so it's nice."

Luckily for the Badgers, they've seen the Gophers relatively recently, and Minnesota will enter the Kohl Center on a five-game skid. The Badgers will need to keep their guard up and not underestimate the Gophers in the Kohl Center, where they've been surprisingly vulnerable this season.

"You've just got to stay focused," Gasser said about preparing for Minnesota on short notice. "Only getting one day to prepare for a team, you've got to go into that practice and really mentally prepare, and focus on what's coming next."

"We know going into tournament time that we can win any game that we play our best in. But also if we don't play well it might not be as good. We've gotta keep improving. It's late in the year, but we've got to keep improving and keep getting better.

The Week Ahead

The Badgers will play their final two games of the regular season this week. The Badgers host the Minnesota Gophers Tuesday night at the Kohl Center, and then will welcome the Illinois Fighting Illini to the Kohl Center on Senior Day. The Wisconsin/Minnesota game is scheduled to air on the Big Ten Network, and will tip off at 7:00 p.m. CST.

In The Polls

The Badgers jumped up two spots in the AP Poll on Monday after their 1-1 week. They now check in at No. 14 after slipping to No. 16 last week. The Badgers held firm in the Coaches' Poll, staying at No. 15 for another week. The Badgers are the third or fourth-highest ranked team in the Big Ten, sitting below No. 5 Michigan State, No. 11 Ohio State, and behind No. 13/16 Michigan in the AP Poll. The Badgers rank ahead of No. 20 Indiana, with the Hoosiers looking from the outside in at a first round bye in the Big Ten Tournament.

In The Standings

The Badgers are still in fourth place and can lock in the fourth seed in the Big Ten Tournament with one win over the next two games, as they hold the tiebreaker over Indiana and Purdue for the higher seed. The Badgers have a chance to move up if they go 2-0 to finish the season, but they need either Ohio State or Michigan to lose their last two games as well.

Down The Road

The Badgers are looking like a 4 seed in the NCAA Tournament according to ESPN's Joe Lunardi. That seeding can obviously change over the next two weeks, but at this point anywhere from a 5 seed to a 3 seed seems likely. They'll need to do well in their final two games and the Big Ten Tournament if they want to push for a 3 seed.