The Wisconsin Badgers men’s basketball team is finally starting to earn their respect. For a large portion of this season, a majority of the public believed Wisconsin was over-performing due to the outstanding play of Johnny Davis, but eventually they’d slow down and settle into the middle of the Big Ten.
News flash: Johnny hasn’t slowed down and neither has this team.
With quality wins over Saint Mary’s, No. 11 Houston, Marquette, Indiana, and on the road vs. No. 7 Purdue, UW has put together one of the best resumes in the country. Following a 3-0 week in the Big Ten headlined by that huge win in West Lafayette, Wisconsin is now ranked No. 13 in this week’s AP Poll.
Here’s how the rest of the Big Ten looked in the new AP rankings:
- No. 7 Purdue Boilermakers
- No. 10 Michigan State Spartans
- No. 13 Wisconsin Badgers
- No. 16 Ohio State Buckeyes
- No. 25 Illinois Fighting Illini
- Indiana and Iowa are receiving votes
The Badgers made the week’s biggest jump in this week’s poll, climbing 10 spots from No. 23 to No. 13. One of the biggest things UW did this week that they were yet to do this season was win a game in which Davis struggled. Frankly, Davis hadn’t had a bad game all year. How was this team going to respond when their star player couldn’t put them on his back? Who’s going to step up?
You could make the argument the #Badgers have three more losses this season without Tyler Wahl.— Evan Flood (@Evan_Flood) January 10, 2022
18 points vs. St. Mary's (61-55)
18 points vs. Nicholls (71-68)
21 points vs. Maryland (70-69)
UW's "glue guy" has been huge when they've needed him most.
Insert Tyler Wahl. The junior forward has developed into one of the best post scorer’s in the country and led Wisconsin with a career high 21 points in Sunday night’s win at Maryland. The Badgers showed voters this week that they are much more than a one trick pony.
Over the next two weeks, UW will have a huge opportunity to turn any remaining doubters and jump even higher in the rankings. Two of Wisconsin’s next three games are top-20 matchups at the Kohl Center: Jan. 13 vs. No. 16 Ohio State, Jan. 21 vs. No. 10 Michigan State. There’s no way to put it other than this is the biggest, and potentially toughest, stretch of the season. Nowhere to hide. Time to find out what this team is truly made of.
For the first time in weeks, there was movement in the top-five following home losses by both Duke and Purdue. No. 4 Auburn and No. 5 USC have entered the top five. The Tigers crack the top-five for the second consecutive year, whereas this is USC’s first top-five ranking since 1978. Baylor remains the unanimous No. 1, Gonzaga jumped to No. 2 and UCLA to No. 3.
The Kohl Center will be the place to be in Madison on Thursday night— Wisconsin Basketball (@BadgerMBB) January 10, 2022
#13 Wisconsin vs. #16 Ohio State
As previously mentioned, next up for the Badgers is a battle of ranked opponents. On Thursday night, No. 16 Ohio State rolls into town. Pack the Kohl Center, wear red and get loud.