Wisconsin (20-9 overall, 12-6 Big Ten) lost at suddenly unbeatable Indiana in double overtime to start off the week, but the Badgers bounced back nicely with a win at home over Penn State on Saturday.
Thanks to a Michigan win over Maryland on Sunday the Badgers now sit in fourth place in the Big Ten and would lock up the double bye in the conference tournament with a perfect 2-0 record in the last week of the season. The Badgers face a free-falling and Frantrum-less Iowa Hawkeyes squad on Thursday (6 p.m. CT, ESPN) at the Kohl Center.
Greg Gard’s squad then ends the regular season on Sunday in Columbus against Ohio State (3:30 p.m. CT, CBS) who may be without the services of suspended top player, sophomore center Kaleb Wesson.
Seniors Ethan Happ and Khalil Iverson starred for the Badgers in their first game last week, but poor free throw shooting doomed Wisconsin against Indiana. Over the weekend, redshirt junior guard Brevin Pritzl stepped up huge and bombed away from deep against Penn State. The 17-point outburst by Pritzl tied his season-high in scoring.
Taking a gander around the rest of the top 25 shows four other Big Ten teams ranked. Michigan slots in at No. 7 and Michigan State drops down to No. 9 after losing to Indiana, while conference leading Purdue moved up to No. 11 and Maryland plummets to No. 24 on the heels of an 0-2 week. Iowa, who couldn’t even bother to stay ranked so Wisconsin gets another win versus a ranked opponent, fell out of the top 25 and didn’t even receive a single vote.
The top five saw a bit of a shuffle with Tennessee moving up to No. 5, UNC (No. 3) jumping Duke (No. 4), and Gonzaga and Virginia staying put at one and two, respectively. Formerly highly rated mid-majors, Houston, Nevada and Marquette all suffered losses and dropped in the polls. 2017 football national champion UCF joined the rankings in basketball, for the first time since 2011, at No. 25.