College basketball is really starting to heat up as we move into the middle of February. Rivalry games and conference title chases are happening night in and night out, and resume building is in full effect.
For Wisconsin, once again, it has been an up and down week of sorts. Have you heard that one before? I’m sure you have as it seems to be an up and down week every week with this team. So, with that, let’s take a look at where the Badgers shape up this time around.
Last week Wisconsin was still slated as a 3-seed but after a blowout loss to Illinois and an ugly win on the road at Nebraska, it seems like the Wisconsin Badgers stock is starting to drop some in the eyes of bracketologist Joe Lundari. In his February 12th release, the Badgers are currently on the 4-seed line in region 4. That would mean they are in the Baylor bracket aka where you don’t want to be right now.
In their first-round matchup, the Badgers would be slated to play the Winthrop Eagles who are slated as the 13-seed. The winner of that contest would take on the winner of 5-seed Florida State and 12-seed Oregon or Colorado State (12 seed in the region 4 is currently listed as a play in-game). If the Badgers were able to survive to the second weekend they would likely get a Sweet 16 battle with the Baylor Bears.
If you’re a Wisconsin fan, you’re hoping to improve your resume and get the hell out of that spot entirely. Winthrop is as dangerous a 13-seed as any, and seeing a team like Florida State or Oregon just to battle for a date with Baylor is, well, not ideal. Thankfully for Wisconsin, they have chances to improve but it needs to start fast. Wisconsin has six games left and five of them are against ranked opponents. It’s sink or swim time for Wisconsin hoops.
Big Ten Report
Leading the way in the Big Ten is a new team in the Ohio State Buckeyes. Currently, Ohio State is slated as the top seed in region four, while Michigan is the top seed in region 3. Coming in right behind them is Illinois who is playing some of their best basketball of the year. The Fighting Illini have won four games in a row and are looking like the team to beat in the conference the way they are playing. How these three shake out to end the year will be fascinating to watch.
Following the top dogs are Wisconsin and Iowa who are both on the 4-seed line. Rutgers and Purdue are both on the 6-seed line. Minnesota is currently an 8-seed while Indiana rounds out the conference as a 10-seed. The Big Ten still leads all conferences but this week they only have nine teams projected in the dance versus the usual ten. Penn State and Maryland have both dropped to the “next four out” category after a bad couple of weeks.
Storyline to Watch
I think the storyline to watch over the next week will be the races for the conference titles across the country. Right now all of the major conferences have pretty tight races that will take shape over the last few weeks of the season. Michigan leads the Big Ten, but Illinois is hot on their tail and will be hungry to catch them after Michigan canceled their contest with the Fighting Illini this past Thursday night despite Illinois feeling like they should be able to play...
Happy Michigan gameda—— The Champaign Room (@Champaign_Room) February 11, 2021
Oh wait we’re hearing they’re afraid
Down south things are heating up as well. Baylor has a three-game lead over West Virginia and were scheduled to play the Mountaineers twice, but both of those contests were canceled due to COVID threshold issues at Baylor. In the SEC, Alabama has a three game lead but the way they have played of late nothing is safe despite the easy scheduled to end. In the ACC Virginia holds a one-game lead over Florida State but the two meet on the 22nd for a huge contest.
In the PAC 12 well nobody cares,,, fine UCLA, USC, and Colorado are all within a game as we hit the late stretch. How each of these conferences and multiple mid-major conferences shakeout will be fascinating to watch.