It’s been a rough week for the Wisconsin Badgers on the court as they’ve now dropped three of their last four contests. Two of them, in Michigan and Iowa, were very winnable games, but the Badgers did not do enough to come away with a victory in either. Now the attention is starting to turn to March and this team appears to be playing its worst basketball of the season. Due to the struggles, the Badgers have fallen in the latest release, but probably not as low as some suspect. Let’s take a look.
In last week’s release, the Badgers were a 4-seed in the Baylor Region. This week Wisconsin remains in that bracket but has fallen down to the 5-seed line. In the latest projections, the Badgers would play the 12-seed Belmont Bruins. Of the 12-seeds you could draw, Belmont is the last one you want to see but the Badgers will have to do some work to get off that line.
If the Badgers we’re to win their opening-round contest they would take on the winner of the 4/13 game between Tennessee and Colgate. I will warn you now, watching a possible contest between Tennessee and Wisconsin make take years off your life and set the game of basketball back 40 years. Two putrid offenses squaring off is not what anyone needs to see, but that is of course dependent on them getting out of the first round. Am I being cynical or just realistic?
Big Ten Breakdown
Once again the Big Ten is leading the way with two teams on the top seed line. Michigan and Ohio State are both playing great basketball and are currently listed as one seeds. Behind them, Illinois sits firmly on the 2-seed line while Iowa sits as a 3-seed. Then comes Wisconsin as a 5-seed and Purdue as a 6-seed. Rutgers is still in the dance as a 7-seed while Minnesota and Indiana bring up the rear as 10-seeds but not comfortably. Currently, the Gophers and Hoosiers are listed as two of the last four teams with byes. Maryland is currently listed as the first team out.
These last few weeks will be fun but the real excitement has to be the Big Ten Tournament. We lost out on it last year but this year the conference may be even deeper. To get the likes of Michigan, Ohio State, Illinois and Iowa in the same building to square off on a run for the title should be fun to watch. This conference is so deep that the entire tournament should be a battle. I cannot wait.
Storyline to watch
At this point in time the big thing most teams are watching is the bubble. Many teams are no longer in contention for a conference title, but they at least know where they sit in terms of the big dance. If you’re a team like Wisconsin you may not be playing well, but it still seems you are comfortably in the tournament. A team like Maryland knows they are currently out, but they’ve got many chances to prove themselves and get in.
What will be disappointing, like every March, is that some quality teams will be left out. Right now teams like Drake, Boise State and Colorado State are all on bubble watch as part of the last four in. I personally think they are better than teams like Minnesota, Indiana and North Carolina who are slated in. The mid-major vs average top conference teams always stirs up an argument. If you watched Boise State and Utah State battle Tuesday night you saw they are both tournament teams but the likelihood of getting four from a conference like the Mountain West is hard to see. Unfortunately, a really good team will be left at home this March, but that is just how things go in this crazy sport.