The Wisconsin basketball team is just 4-4 in their last eight games. They have alternated wins and losses since defeated Northwestern on January 20th. They haven’t defeated a ranked team since they downed #21 Minnesota on New Year’s Eve, 71-59.
With all that in mind, it makes sense that the Badgers would be dropping down in NCAA Tournament bracket projections. Earlier this year, the Badger reached as high as a 2-seed in Joe Lunardi’s Bracketology on ESPN.com.
Right now, Lunardi has the Badgers as a 5-seed in Region 2 and would face the 12-seeded Belmont Bruins in the first round.
Now, regions really aren’t that important this year since the entire tournament will be in the city of Indianapolis, but based on the 1-seeds for each region, Region 3 would be the second most challenging bracket.
In Region 3, Baylor is the current 1-seed. Illinois, Virginia, and Tennessee all follow the Bears as the second, third, and fourth seeds, respectively. Region 3 also includes Kansas (6), Arkansas (7), and BYU (8).
This is a very challenging region for the Wisconsin basketball team. Both Gonzaga and Baylor are undefeated and are the clear-cut top two teams in the country. Baylor faced Illinois early in the season and dismantled the Illini, 82-69.
We’ve already seen how the Badgers did against Illinois, losing by 15 in Champaign just a couple of weeks ago. Virginia is proving to be a great team again. They are 15-4 and a game and a half ahead of Florida St. in the ACC Standings. Tennessee would likely be Wisconsin’s second-round opponent if they get by Belmont. The Volunteers are 14-5 and are fourth in the SEC standings.
Currently, I don’t feel great about Wisconsin’s chances to get very far in the tournament. Between being a 5-seed and the other teams in their bracket, the Wisconsin basketball team could see a quick exit from the Big Dance, especially if they continue to play the way they are now.
Luckily, for Wisconsin, they have a few weeks to get things right and hopefully get hot at the right time. They have an opportunity to make up some ground quickly, as three of their final five games are against opponents currently ranked in the top 11, including a rematch with Illinois.
If, and that’s a big if, the Badgers can win out or even win three or four of their final five, I would imagine that would help the Badgers rise up in the rankings, especially if they can make some noise in the Big Ten Tournament.
It’s easy to say this season has been a major disappointment, but it’s not over yet. Things can click and all of a sudden a team can get hot. There is still time for the Badgers to get rolling and get some momentum heading into the postseason.