Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY

Badgers Hoops: Wild Ride Of A Season Comes Full Circle

Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

To call the 2013-14 Wisconsin Badgers basketball season a year of ups and downs would be misleading. This year of Badgers hoops could be described as a monumental up, followed by a shocking down, but admirably-answered with another exciting up. Lets cross our fingers that there won’t be another “down” this year, as we reach the home-stretch of the season.

It is well-noted that this Badgers squad started the year 16-0 and were ranked No. 3 in the nation in week 11. On Jan. 13, there were some clamoring for Bucky to receive first place votes in the polls and they seemed like a lock for a one seed.

But then…the Big 10 happened.

The top conference in the nation took a bite out of Wisconsin’s swagger and continued to chew for two weeks. The Badgers lost five of six conference games and seemed to be headed toward oblivion. By week 14, Feb. 3, the Badgers found themselves out of the top 25; searching for answers. Almost everyone had given up on them.

From No. 3 in the nation to unranked in a matter of three weeks. Woah.

But then, against all odds, the Badgers hit fire once again as they headed into the teeth of their Big 10 schedule. They are currently riding a seven-game winning streak. The streak includes consecutive wins over No. 9 MSU, Minnesota, No. 15 Michigan and No. 15 Iowa.

To have the savvy and confidence to bounce back from dropping so far, so fast, speaks to the mental-toughness of these Badgers. If any Bo Ryan squad was mentally ready for the Big Dance; it’s this one. They’ve touched greatness, been through hell and rallied back into the national spotlight.

The Badgers are currently ranked No. 9 in the nation. They went from the top-ten (No. 3), to being unranked, and then worked their way back to the top-ten. Full circle. That is incredibly impressive, and unprecedented in Wisconsin history.

Now…people are talking about Wisconsin receiving a one-seed yet again. Check out what ESPN’s Jay Bilas said.

Wisconsin has two games left before the Big Ten Tournament in Indianapolis. The games will be played in the beautiful Bankers Life Fieldhouse for the ninth-time. The retro-style NBA arena doesn’t have a bad seat and features the largest video screen in the NBA. Sandwiched between Pennsylvania and Delaware streets downtown, the arena is minutes from hundreds of restaurants and bars and is well-worth the trip.

Hopefully a lot of Badgers fans make their way to Indy and support the Cardinal and White as they seek their third Big Ten Tournament victory. Only Ohio State (4) and Michigan State (3) have more Big Ten tournament championships. The Badgers have a first-round bye again, and have every year that Bo Ryan has coached Wisconsin. That’s right, Wisconsin has finished in the top-four of the conference yet again (and are eyeing second place).

Wisconsin’s next game is Wednesday, March 5, against the Purdue Boilermakers in Madison at 8:00 PM CT on the Big Ten Network.

Keep on, Wisconsin. There is much left to be accomplished this year and this squad seems up to the challenge.

 

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