Wisconsin basketball is fresh off a tough outing against the Illinois Fighting Illini. In a battle for first place in the Big Ten, Wisconsin came out and struggled to shoot the basketball and once again Kofi Cockburn presented himself as a matchup nightmare for the Badgers. In turn, the Badgers fell 80-65 and now sit in third place in the Big Ten. How does that loss impact the latest projections for the post-season outlook? Let’s dive in.
If you’ve been reading this report every week you’ve noticed that I have only gone off of ESPN’s projections but recently a reader suggested I include some other projections as well, which is a great idea and I am not sure why I didn’t do it sooner. Joe Lunardi doesn't have a Monopoly on brackets so why not look to some others? Seems obvious. So, whoever that was, hat tip to you and thank you for reading.
Anyway, we’ll start with ESPN’s projections and then work on some others. Lunardi’s bracket comes out on Tuesday’s so it DOES NOT include the loss against Illinois. According to Lunardi, the Badgers are currently listed as a 3-seed in the West Region. They are projected to take on 14-seed Oakland in the first round. The winner of that game would take on the winner of LSU and Creighton/San Diego State (first four game).
Now let's turn to some others! CBS Sports last updated their bracket on January 31st, but according to their own Jerry Palm, the Badgers are listed as a 1-seed in the East Region. Personally, I’ve always been more of a CBS guy. Good work Jerry. However, this release also does not include the loss to Illinois.
According to Palm the Badgers would drop from the 1-seed line, likely to a 2-seed, with a loss to Illinois and be replaced by Kansas. As a one seed the Badgers were projected to take on 16-seed Longwood and the winner of that would meet the winner of Iona/Oklahoma. As a 2-seed the Badgers would be taking on 15-seed Jacksonville State, and they would meet the winner of St. Mary’s and Loyola. However, Wisconsin already played St. Mary’s so I am not sure if that projection would be possible? Can we get a rules expert over here?
Last but not least we’ve got the mothership SB Nation’s projections. According to Blogging the Bracket Wisconsin is listed as a 2-seed in the East Region. They would take on 15-seed Weber State. The winner of that contest would take on the winner of USC and Oklahoma.
When comparing these three projections you’ll see a couple of themes. First, two of the three projections have the Badgers possibly facing off with Oklahoma in the second round. If you want to keep an eye on another team, they might be one to check in on. Secondly, and more importantly, all three projections have Wisconsin playing their first and hopefully second contest in Milwaukee.
The line they end up on certainly matters, but I believe playing in Milwaukee will still be a more important factor for the Badgers so hanging in this area of the field is important. One way to do that is win! We’ll see if the Badgers can get back to that on Saturday when they take on Penn State.