Wisconsin basketball has been picked to finish third in the loaded Big Ten Conference.
The Wisconsin basketball team is part of one of the best and most competitive conferences in all of college basketball. The Badgers are returning seven seniors with meaningful playing experience. This is pretty much the same group that won eight consecutive games to end the 2019-20 regular season and tie for the Big Ten Championship. With tie-breakers, the Wisconsin basketball team ended up with the number one seed in the Big Ten Tournament that never ended up happening.
The Badgers are really only missing sharpshooter Brevin Pritzl, but they are also bringing in Ben Carlson, Jonathan Davis, and Steven Crowl, three freshmen who are likely to get some playing time this year. Added on top of that, sophomore Tyler Wahl, who played some meaningful minutes last season, has had another year to grow and get better.
According to Badger beat writer, Jim Polzin of the Wisconsin State Journal, the Badgers have been picked to finish third in the Big Ten, despite all the talent and experience returning.
28 beat writers from around the Big Ten voted on their picks to win the Big Ten this season. The Illinois Fighting Illini, who received 16 of the 28 first-place votes, has been picked to finish first with 376 total points.
Behind them, the Iowa Hawkeyes and Wisconsin Badgers tied with six first-place votes each, but the Hawkeyes earned 350 total points compared to Wisconsin’s 347.
The order of how the teams finish are:
- Michigan St.
- Ohio St.
- Penn St.
For what it’s worth, Polzin picked Wisconsin to finish first. Here is his rationale:
"1, Wisconsin – Call it a homer pick if you will, but I don’t think the Badgers’ title last season was a fluke. Some attributed their late-season run to a favorable schedule; perhaps, but I saw a team that was on a mission after a brutal year on and off the court and was brimming with confidence at the right time of the year. Considering how wacky this offseason was due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it helps to have a senior-laden team that didn’t need to build chemistry and is still hungry after not getting a postseason in 2019-20."
Granted, these picks are just a starting point and don’t necessarily mean a whole lot. Last year, the Badgers were picked to finish 6th in last year’s preseason predictions and the Badgers ended up in first place by the end of the season.
Expectations are high for this Wisconsin basketball squad. Finishing any lower than third would be a disappointment. But that’s the beauty of college basketball. Anything can happen on any given night.