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B5Q Bracketology: Can Wisconsin get in the hunt?

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Since we last checked in on the Badgers, they have gone 1-3 in conference play, losing three very winnable games to Purdue, Indiana and Maryland.

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Wisconsin currently sits at 9-8, yet despite their record they are as close as any team could possibly be when it comes to being on the better side of the tournament bubble. They have gone a less than impressive 1-3 in conference play thus far. However, the Badgers have lost the past two games by a combined four points, 59-58 to Indiana and 63-60 to Maryland on a Melo Trimble buzzer beater. Furthermore, they let a very winnable game slip away to Purdue to open up conference play. The Badgers' lone conference win comes against a hopeless Rutgers team, which does nothing to boost their tournament resume.

If Wisconsin wants any chance of making the NCAA Tournament, they have two options: Win the B1G Tournament in March or completely revamp their conference performance starting now. In all honesty, the latter seems like the more logical option. In their next six games, the Badgers play four potential tournament teams: Northwestern, Michigan State, Indiana, and Ohio State. Wisconsin will play the last three teams at home. If UW could can beat three of the tournament teams, along with Penn State and Illinois (the two other teams in their next six games), the Badgers would be sitting at 14-9 with seven games remaining. From there, they would be a good position to control their own destiny, as much as one can with the selection committee.

But for now, let's all pain ourselves and take a look at where the Badgers are and where they could be with the latest B5Q Bracketology projections.

The Field of 68:

1 Seeds 2 Seeds 3 Seeds 4 Seeds
Kansas North Carolina Iowa State Providence
Oklahoma Villanova Duke Iowa
Michigan State Virginia Xavier Arizona
Maryland Miami Kentucky West Virginia
5 Seeds 6 Seeds 7 Seeds 8 Seeds
South Carolina Butler Connecticut USC
Louisville Pittsburg Gonzaga Cincinnati
Purdue Baylor Oregon Indiana
Texas A&M Dayton Texas Tech George Washington
9 Seeds 10 Seeds 11 Seeds 12 Seeds
Utah Michigan Valparaiso SDSU
Florida Notre Dame UCLA Arkansas-LR
Oregon State St. Joseph's Monmouth Stephen F. Austin
California Wichita State Seton Hall St. Mary's
Ohio State Colorado
13 Seeds 14 Seeds 15 Seeds 16 Seeds
UT-Arlington Belmont Hawaii CSU Bakersfield
UAB South Dakota State Idaho North Florida
William & Mary Albany Army Jackson State
Chattanooga Akron Yale Hampton
High Point

Bubble Watch:

Last Four In First Four Out Next Four Out In The Hunt
Seton Hall Texas Arizona State Alabama
Ohio State Northwestern LSU Wake Forest
St. Mary's Georgetown Vanderbilt Evansville
Colorado Marquette Syracuse Wisconsin

New and Noteworthy:

  • Kansas has taken over the top spot from Michigan State following the dethroning of the Spartans at the hands of a surging Iowa team.
  • Speaking of Iowa, the Hawkeyes are up four lines since the last bracketology projections. They now hold onto a well-earned 4-seed.
  • The Pac-12 can be best described as a street fight in a dark alley, where everyone is hurting each other, but nobody is really winning. Somehow though, they still have eight conference bids.
  • UT-Arlington and Ohio State make the field of 68 for the first time, mostly because everyone else cannot seem to step up and win a game when it matters.
  • Texas Tech and South Carolina are for real this year, as they have climbed the ranks with their impressive non-conference and conference performances. South Carolina is up three lines, from an 8-seed to a 5-seed. Texas Tech moves up from being a "First Four Out" team to a 7-seed.
  • I created the "In The Hunt" column to make Wisconsin seem decently relevant.

Life is a game of inches, and those inches have Wisconsin hanging by a thread. In a different universe, the Badgers sit at 4-0 in conference play, and remain very relevant when it comes to bracketology. In this universe though, all we can do is hope that Greg Gard and company manage to get their act together before it's too late.