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Wisconsin basketball notebook: Diamond Stone suspended; bracketology update

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After smashing the head of Wisconsin forward Vitto Brown into the floor on Saturday, Diamond Stone has been suspended by Maryland for its next game. The Badgers won the game anyway, 70-57, to catapult themselves into the latest projected NCAA Tournament field.

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Maryland center Diamond Stone was not ejected from Saturday's loss to the Wisconsin Badgers for an apparently intentional shoving of Vitto Brown's head into the floor, but he will be forced to miss his team's next game.

The Terrapins suspended Stone, who received a flagrant one technical and was allowed to stay in the game despite the evident maliciousness of his act, for Thursday's game against Minnesota.

Later, the Big Ten released a statement voicing its support for Maryland's decision:

Stone’s actions were in violation of Big Ten Conference Agreement 10.01, which states in part that "The Big Ten Conference expects all contests involving a member institution to be conducted without compromise to any fundamental element of sportsmanship. Such fundamental elements include integrity of competition, civility toward all, and respect, particularly toward opponents and officials."

Both sides downplayed the issue immediately following the game, although Maryland senior Rasheed Sulaimon talked briefly with Stone about learning from the incident.

"Emotions flare sometimes. You get competitive. Things happen. We had a conversation about it. He’s going to grow, he’s going to learn and he’s going to be better going forward."

Brown holds no hard feelings over the incident, he told local reporters on Monday. Stone called him to apologize after the game.

"You could sense the sincerity in his voice," Brown said. "He is young. He is a freshman in a big role at a big university. I understand that the emotions can get to you. It's not big deal for me."

Whatever side effects came from the blow to Brown were minimal as the junior forward scored a career-high 21 points to lead the Badgers to the 70-57 upset victory.

Bracketology Update

ESPN.com bracketologist Joe Lunardi released his most recent projected bracket Monday, and the results were favorable for the Badgers.

Riding a seven-game winning streak, Wisconsin jumped from Lunardi's "First Four Out" into a No. 9 seed in the Midwest region. The bracket has the Badgers facing 8-seed Colorado in the first round with top-seed Kansas likely awaiting the winner.

Just one month ago, imagining the current scenario for Wisconsin would have seemed either far-fetched or, at best, incredibly optimistic. The Badgers sat at 9-9 and 1-4 in Big Ten play after a loss to Northwestern.

Now, they are ranked No. 37 in ESPN's BPI and No. 44 in RPI with four wins over RPI top 50 teams and eight over top 100 teams. Greg Gard's squad appears to be in the NCAA Tournament if the season ended today--which, of course it doesn't.

With road contests against ranked opponents in Michigan State, Iowa and Purdue still lingering, as well as a home tilt against Michigan, the Badgers still have plenty of opportunities to bolster their résumé.