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Wisconsin basketball: rooting interests 3/3/20

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Can the Badgers actually win the regular season B1G title?

Minnesota v Wisconsin Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

College basketball robot Jon Rothstein has informed us all that this is, indeed, March so it is now time to scoreboard watch as the race for the B1G regular season title comes down to the finish line. Most (all?) of us would have been extremely surprised a month ago if you told us that the Badgers would be in the mix for the conference title come March 3rd, but here we freaking are, friends!

B1G Standings

Team Conference W/L Overall W/L Games behind Next game
Team Conference W/L Overall W/L Games behind Next game
Maryland 13-5 23-6 - at Rutgers, Tuesday
Michigan State 12-6 20-9 1 at Penn State, Tuesday
Wisconsin 12-6 19-10 1 vs. Northwestern, Wednesday
Illinois 12-6 20-9 1 at Ohio State, Thursday
Penn State 11-7 21-8 2 vs. Michigan State, Tuesday
Iowa 11-7 20-9 2 vs. Purdue, Tuesday

There the Badgers are, a measly one game out of first place in the whole danged conference. The team that lost to New Mexico and had fans calling for the head coach’s job is now one game away from winning the toughest conference in America.

So, let’s discuss who we, as Wisconsin fans, want to win this week so that the Badgers have the best chance of securing at least a share of the conference crown. In this scenario we are just assuming that the Badgers beat both Northwestern and Indiana to finish the season at 21-10 overall and 14-6 in the conference.

  • Maryland at Rutgers: this is a pretty easy one...the Badgers need the only team with fewer losses than them to lose soooooo go Rutgers!
  • Michigan State at Penn State: another easy one as Wisconsin needs a team behind them (PSU) to beat a team tied with them (MSU). Go Penn State!
  • Illinois at Ohio State: same as it ever was. Go Buckeyes!
  • Penn State vs. Michigan State: I feel like we already talked about this one.
  • Iowa vs. Purdue: The Boilermakers could do everyone a big favor and just knock Iowa out of this race with a win on Tuesday. Boiler up, baby!

If all of this happens the standings will look like this come Friday morning:

Wisconsin 13-6
Maryland 13-6
Penn State 12-7
Michigan State 12-7
Illinois 12-7
Iowa 11-8 (eliminated)

The Badgers have the head to head tiebreaker over Maryland which is why they would assume first place and get the top seed in the Big Ten Tournament as well. They would share the conference title because there are no tie-breakers for that in the B1G.

Based on my rudimentary understanding of the three-way tiebreaker scenarios in B1G Tournament seeding, Penn State (2-1) would be in third due to their superior head-to-head record against Michigan State (2-2) and Illinois (1-2). In the tweet above is an EXTREMELY handy and thorough examination of every single permutation of games left in the B1G season. There are, literally, over 16,000 scenarios in there. The Badgers end up as the 1-seed in the B1G Tournament 2,464 times and as the 2-seed 2,816 times.

Let’s fucking go, indeed.