After a 2-0 finish to the regular season, the Wisconsin Badgers men’s basketball team has jumped up to No. 19 in the latest AP Top 25 poll that dropped Monday morning.
Wisconsin (22-9 overall, 14-6 Big Ten) pounded a hapless, hopeless and coach-less Iowa Hawkeyes team on Thursday during Senior Night at the Kohl Center and then escaped Columbus, Ohio with an overtime victory against a desperate Ohio State squad that still has not won a game during star center Kaleb Wesson’s suspension.
The Badgers needed to win the game against the Buckeyes in order to secure the fourth seed in the conference tournament and the coveted double-bye and, despite blowing a 23-point second half lead, they showed their mettle in the must-win game. Wisconsin doesn’t play again until Friday afternoon against the winner of Maryland and Rutgers/Nebraska.
Schedule your long lunch breaks accordingly.
In what can be best described, on a family website such as this, as a complete and utter ass-whomping, Ethan Happ and Khalil Iverson had double-doubles against Iowa. Happ went for 21 points, 14 boards, three assists, two steals, two blocks and went 11-for-18 from the charity stripe while Iverson dropped a casual 11 and 11 to go along with one assist and two blocks.
Iverson saved his best career performance for his final regular season game, and boy did the Badgers need it. He scored a career-high 22 points and corralled a career-high 14 rebounds in an outing that somehow overshadowed Happ’s near triple-double (16 points, 14 rebounds, eight assists). The Buckeyes may have forced overtime, but they did not have an answer for Iverson all night and it cost them.
Four other Big Ten teams are ranked in the final regular season AP poll. After winning a share of the conference title with a win over arch-rival Michigan, Michigan State moved up to No. 6. The Wolverines fell to No. 10. Co-conference champ Purdue dropped to No. 13 after a loss at Minnesota. Maryland jumped up three places to No. 21 to round out the best conference in the country’s participation in the top 25.
The top-five saw a minor shuffle as Kentucky jumped up to No. 4 and Duke dropped to No. 5. The top-three remained the same with Gonzaga, Virginia and North Carolina holding onto their respective positions. Marquette seems to have forgotten that March is the time when you should play your best basketball, and as such, the Golden Eagles have lost four in a row and now sit at No. 23.