The Badgers’ resumé for the NCAA Tournament is not outstanding, to say the least. This weekend, though, Wisconsin a great chance to bolster their credentials at the Big Ten Tournament.
Looking at the non-conference schedule, the Badgers played a total of two definite tournament teams in Creighton and North Carolina. The Badgers lost those games by 12 and 15, respectively.
Wisconsin did come out victorious over Marquette and Syracuse, who are both currently labeled as on the bubble. If neither of those teams get the nod for the Big Dance, that means the Badgers had zero wins over tournament teams in non-conference. However, both are more likely than not to enter the field.
Then the beginning of conference started. Wisconsin ran through their schedule, except for an ugly (okay…painfully ugly) showing at Purdue. There were some scary moments, like overtime games against Rutgers, Minnesota, and Nebraska. However, they came out victorious. A win is a win.
Or at least that’s what you would usually think. Despite a 21-3 overall record and a 10-1 conference record, an early reveal of the top-16 seeds from the selection committee left the Badgers out. If you can remember, every Wisconsin fan alive complained because the team was ranked seventh nationally at the time.
But then came the slide (it’s almost like the committee knew it was going to happen, but we’ll save that conspiracy for another day). Wisconsin finished the season going 2-5 after the results were released, including losing to one team on the very edge of the bubble (Iowa) and getting thumped by one team out of the NCAA Tournament conversation altogether (Ohio State).
Now, the Badgers currently sit as a six seed in the East regional, according to ESPN’s Bracketology. With potential rematches against Maryland and Purdue/Minnesota on the horizon, Wisconsin has a chance to possibly get themselves in a better situation for the NCAA Tournament.
Something of note, however: every other team in the country has the same opportunity.
Of course, a loss against Indiana/Iowa could knock them down, too. A loss against Indiana certainly would not help, as they are not even contention for the NCAA Tournament. An Iowa win over Wisconsin may put the Hawkeyes in the tournament.
Wisconsin’s strength of resume is currently ranked 22nd and 20th in the BPI, which may surprise you. ESPN says Wisconsin is 8-6 vs. teams they deem as “quality teams.”
Current five seeds’ records against the same “quality teams”?
Notre Dame is 8-7.
Cincinnati is 5-3.
Virginia is 7-8.
SMU is 3-2.
If the Badgers are able to win the Big Ten, you would assume that would be enough to knock one of those teams of the five-seed line (you would think winning the Big Ten Conference Tournament would be enough to bump you up a seed by itself anyway).
Wisconsin fans should root for a rematch with Purdue in the championship round. Beating Purdue would immediately give the Badgers their best win of the season at a pretty important time: literally right before the committee makes their selections.
Follow Nick Osen in Washington, D.C. this weekend on Twitter (@TheRealNickOsen) for all updates from the Big Ten Tournament.