THIS IS MARCH!
Folks, we made it. Teams around the country are putting the finishing touches on their regular season and gearing up for March Madness as conference tournaments get underway. Some fan bases are excited about the potential of a deep run for their team and some are well...looking forward to summer. Where are you at? I think I know the answer. Let’s take a look at the latest update as the NCAA Tournament gets closer and closer.
Last week the Badgers were slated as a 5-seed taking on the Toledo Rockets but after another two losses, Wisconsin has fallen even further down. In the latest release from ESPN’s Joe Lunardi, Wisconsin is currently projected as a 6-seed in region 1 headlined by the Gonzaga Bulldogs. In their opening-round game the Badgers would take on the 11-seeded Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. If the Badgers were to survive the first round they would take on the winner of 3-seed West Virginia and 14-seed Southern Utah.
Things are even worse for the Badgers in Jerry Palm’s CBS projections as the Badgers are slated to be a 7-seed in his projections taking on 10-seed UCLA. Andy Katz has the Badgers as a 6-seed as well, taking on 11-seed St. Bonaventure.
Overall, the 6 to 7 range seems more than fair for the Badgers. You don’t want to be playing your worst basketball this time of year but Wisconsin is doing that right now. If Wisconsin wants to improve their seeding they’ll need a win against Iowa this weekend, and a couple wins at the Big Ten Tournament.
Big Ten Breakdown
There has been a lot of shifting around for the conference this past week and a new number one seed enter the fold. Illinois is now listed as a 1-seed after their impressive win on the road against Michigan. Despite the loss, Michigan still holds onto a 1-seed as well to go along with Baylor and Gonzaga. Iowa and Ohio State still sit on the 2-line while Purdue has surged up to the 4-seed line after their three-game win streak was extended against the Badgers.
As previously mentioned the Badgers sit on the 6-seed line while Maryland follows them as a 9-seed. Rutgers appears to be on the bubble as part of the last four byes in the ten seed spot. Michigan State has now surged into the last four in spot and is currently slated to play Drake in the first four matchups. After weeks on the bubble Indiana and Minnesota appear to have been popped after their losses to Michigan State and Penn State, respectively.
Storyline to Watch
I think it’s clear what to watch for this upcoming week and it’s the multiple conference tournaments we have on deck next week. We lost out on some great tournaments last year, but I think the deck this year is even more stacked. This past week we had nights with games like West Virginia/Baylor and Michigan/Illinois back to back. This time next week we could have that plus many, many more. Next Friday, you’ll have the ACC semifinals, the Big Ten quarterfinals, the Big 12 semifinals and the SEC quarterfinals. If that isn’t enough you’ve got a whole host of mid-major tournaments as well like the PAC-12 (wink). If that appetizer before the Big Dance doesn’t get you going I simply don’t know what will. It’s been a long year, we all deserve March.