The Wisconsin Badgers softball team is, by almost all accounts, squarely on the bubble for the 2022 NCAA Tournament. As far as I can tell they are on the correct side of things, but the team surely won’t feel safe until they hear their name called. The Selection Show will air live on ESPN2 at 6 p.m. CT on Sunday night, which is tonight for those of you who don’t know what day it is.
Wisconsin’s resume looks like this:
- 28-19 record overall (12-11 Big Ten)
- 10-6 on the road
- 10-8 at neutral sites
- No. 37 RPI
- key wins vs. Clemson (No. 8 RPI), vs. UCF (No. 16 RPI), vs. Notre Dame (No. 19 RPI), vs. Minnesota (No. 36 RPI), at Utah (3x, No. 46 RPI), at Penn State (2x, No. 55 RPI), vs. UConn (No. 56 RPI)
- bad losses vs. Southern Utah (No. 271 RPI)
While Wisconsin didn’t really beat many teams ahead of them in the standings in conference play, they took care of business against the teams below them and have a nice collection of non-conference wins that the committee will like. The Southern Utah loss is gross, as the Thunderbirds only won three games all season, but can be excused as a one-off since the Badgers didn’t trip up against any other teams like that.
One of the teams that the Badgers will be compared against for a bid are the loathsome Golden Gophers. They are right next to each other in the RPI rankings, they just played each other in the Big Ten Tournament (which Wisconsin won) and they have a plethora of mutual opponents since they’re in the same conference.
Looking at a pair of Bracketology sites leads me to believe that the BTT win for Wisconsin is going to prove to be quite important. The Oklahoma 247 site has been doing updated projections every day this weekend as conference tournaments ended and in their most recent update (from Saturday morning) they have the Badgers IN and the Gophers as one of the first four OUT.
In their bracket, the Badgers would head to Blacksburg, Va. and be in the same region as 4-seed Virginia Tech (No. 2 RPI), Liberty (No. 29 RPI) and UMBC (No. 107 RPI). A tough draw to be sure, but one that UW can certainly compete in.
Extra Inning Softball has their own bracketologist, Eric Lopez, who correctly predicted all but one of the teams in the field last year. In their Sunday morning update, they have the Badgers in the field playing in Gainesville, Fla. against the 11-seed Florida Gators (No. 13 RPI), Georgia Tech (No. 23 RPI) and Canisius (No. 132 RPI). Lopez has the Gophers in the tournament as well, playing in Clemson’s regional with Auburn and UNC-Wilmington.