UPDATE: We didn’t think we’d have an update to this story that was originally published on Feb. 12, but here we are. Wisconsin is a No. 8 seed in the ACTUAL NCAA tournament, playing No. 9 Virginia Tech in Buffalo, N.Y., on Thursday. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
The NCAA is not very impressed with the Wisconsin Badgers.
For the first time, everyone’s favorite pseudo-amateur athletic organization released its preliminary top 16 teams for the 2017 men’s basketball tournament.
Despite high rankings in both the AP Top 25 (No. 7) and the USA Today Coaches Poll (No. 5), Wisconsin (21-3 overall, 10-1 Big Ten) was not among them.
“We had terrific conversations about these 16 teams, plus others such as a Cincinnati, Creighton, Purdue, and Wisconsin, who were on the verge of being a first-quadrant team,” Michigan State AD and committee chair Mark Hollis said, somewhat ungrammatically.
The full #BracketPreview!— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) February 11, 2017
Is it a glimpse at this year’s Sweet 16?? pic.twitter.com/TElTZy98WG
Teams ranked below Wisconsin who got the nod included
of course No. 18/19 Duke (19-5) and No. 22/21 Butler (19-5). Notably, in a development that would never happen if Barry Alvarez was on the selection committee, no Big Ten teams were tabbed.
Assuming that this is not an elaborate and intentional trolling by the NCAA to garner buzz for the release (#neverassume), why might they have omitted a top-10 Wisconsin team from this initial offering? The crack staff at B5Q (i.e. me) has compiled the top 16 reasons why the NCAA loathes Wisconsin:
- Gorgeous, scenic lake views make them unbearably nostalgic for simpler, more civilized times.
- East Coast bias (also West Coast, Gulf Coast and Southern-Bank-of-the-Ohio River Coast bias).
- They find curds to be overly heavy and slightly flavorless.
- The Badgers’ best home win was against then-No. 22 Syracuse (who is not very good).
- The Badgers’ best road win was against then-No. 25 Indiana (who is also not very good).
- The coach’s blood isn’t that blue.
- The Badgers actively avoid intentionally harming opponents.
- Giant, anthropomorphic animal mascots can be feline, ursine, reptilian, canine or avian, but the line is drawn at mustelids.
- A 71st-ranked strength of schedule.
- Eight-game winning streaks are intimidating.
- They prefers wine coolers to delicious beer.
- Double-digit losses to No. 23 Creighton and No. 8/No. 7 North Carolina.
- They are a couple of haters.
- Inexplicably, they are deeply unimpressed by epic comebacks against solidly mediocre or downright terrible teams.
- Compelling narratives and emerging talent make them nervous.
- They are still mad that I called them dumb.
In the interest of salvaging the Badgers’ season and keeping them away from the dreaded 5-12 seeding matchup, I would like to clarify my position: the NCAA is very dumb.