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Badger Bits: UW on Lunardi's List of 'Vegetarian' Teams

ESPN's Joe Lunardi says the Badgers' 11-4 record is deceiving because of a weak early season schedule, so he calls them a 'vegetarian' team for their 'lack of meat' on the schedule.

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Jonathan Daniel

A few days ago, Joe Lunardi produced a list of 10 college basketball teams he considers to be vegetarians. With it being an ESPN Insider story, I wasn't able to actually read the article, but as Louis alluded to yesterday, Bob Wolfley of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel provided us with a nice recap.

The following comes directly from Wolfley's article:

Lunardi contends that games against opponents in the sub-200 RPI category and against non-Division I opponents "should mean nothing in terms of NCAA preparation and consideration."

Hence, UW’s record contains seven "fake" wins and that the Badgers’ "real" record is 4-4.

"If the Badgers miss the NCAA tournament this season, we’ll know why," Lunardi said in an ESPN Insider blog post.

Fake wins? Really?

This isn't the time for myself or any other follower of UW basketball to stick out chests out and boast, but I think Lunardi is being a bit too harsh here.

Sure, the team's wins have come primarily over mediocre competition, causing the 11-4 record to be a bit misleading, but who's non-conference record isn't misleading? Wisconsin played one of its tougher non-conference schedules in recent memory, facing the likes of Florida, Creighton, Virginia and Marquette (of course an annual matchup, but always a good test).

I see where Lunardi is coming from — especially because the Badgers lost most of their toughest challenges — but to call their schedule weak is a bit extreme. What Division 1 program plays a non-conference schedule consisting primarily of competition from the major conferences?

This may be far from Bo Ryan's best squad at Wisconsin, but you can't rag on him or the program for playing a weak non-conference schedule this season. If this year's team is a vegetarian through non-conference play, we should consider his teams from the last couple seasons to have been malnourished from their severe lack of competition.

Friday's Links (Part II):

Mike Bruesewitz takes another painful hit in practice (more comical time this around), to which Bo Ryan delivers the perfect response.

There's a large discrepancy in where sports writers believe the 2013 UW football team should be ranked and if they should even be ranked at all.

It took a rally, but Michigan State fended off Iowa in a tight one yesterday.

More Bruesewitz: physically, it's been a tough year for the season but he's not changing the way he plays the game.

Despite bringing in an almost entirely new coaching staff, there's a lot of familiarity between Andersen and his coaches.