Wisconsin NCAA Tournament history under Greg Gard

Greg Gard is in his ninth season coaching the Badgers. What does his Tournament history look like?

Jan 10, 2024; Columbus, Ohio, USA;  Wisconsin Badgers head coach Greg Gard watches his team on court.
Jan 10, 2024; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Wisconsin Badgers head coach Greg Gard watches his team on court. / Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Greg Gard has coached eight complete seasons at Wisconsin and is currently in his ninth. He has five NCAA Tournament appearances under his belt at Wisconsin and would probably have a sixth if the COVID-19 Pandemic had not canceled the 2020 tournament.

Gard has been a regular season champion in two seasons but has never won the Big Ten Tournament title. Last season, Wisconsin made an appearance in the NIT Tournament after not making it to the NCAA Tournament.

So let's look at each of Wisconsin's appearances in the NCAA Tournament since Gard took over.

2015-2016 Season

So this was an interesting season for Wisconsin. After losing the NCAA Championship in April, Bo Ryan was still the head coach for the Badgers. He even began coaching the following season for 12 games. then in December 2015, he announced his retirement, hence why Gard took over.

Gard took over when the Badgers were 7-5 and went on to have a record of 15-8 as the head coach with the Badgers finishing with a 22-13 record. The Badgers lost in the first round of the Big 10 Tournament to Nebraska. They still got the bid to the NCAA Tournament as a seven-seed.

The Badgers beat ten-seed Pittsburgh in a low-scoring first-round game 47-43 to make it to the second round. Wisconsin was set to play No. 2 Xavier in round two. Gard got his first-ever tournament upset win in that round beating Xavier 66-63 to make it to the Sweet Sixteen.

Wisconsin eventually lost to six-seed Notre Dame 61-56 and their tournament run would end there. This was an impressive run by a team that ended up having two coaches in one season and did not even make it past the first round of the Big 10 Tournament.

2016-2017 Season

Gard followed up his first tournament appearance with a second in the following season. The Badgers improved on the record from the previous year by going 27-10 overall and 12-6 in the Big 10, finishing second in the conference.

In the 2017 Big 10 Tournament, the Badgers made it further than the year before by winning their first two games and losing to Michigan in the championship game. The Badgers ended up earning the eighth seed that season.

Wisconsin was set for the first round of the tournament playing No. 9 Pittsburgh. This is always a tough game for people to pick on March Madness brackets, but Wisconsin made it an easy win beating Virginia Tech 84-74.

In the second round, the Badgers were set to take on one-seed Villanova, a team favored to win the National championship. Wisconsin played spoiler and busted a lot of brackets by beating the Wildcats 65-63.

Gard had now made it to the Sweet Sixteen for the second straight season and fell in this round. This time the Badgers fell to No. 4 Florida 84-83 in overtime.

2018-2019 Season

After missing the NCAA tournament in 2018, the Badgers made it back in 2019. They finished the season 23-11, 14-6 in the Big 10. They made it to the semifinals of the Big 10 Tournament but fell to Michigan State.

In his third NCAA appearance, Gard and his Badgers earned the highest seed at that time in his coaching career. However, this tournament appearance was a short one for Wisconsin as they got upset by 12-seed Oregon 72-54 in the first round. this would be the only time Gard would be upset in the first round of March Madness.

2020-2021 Season

Wisconsin would have probably gotten a good seed in the 2020 NCAA Tournament as they were the regular season champions for the second time under Gard. However, as we all know, due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the tournament was cancelled that year.

So in 2021, the Badgers finished with an 18-13 record, the worst record they had going into an NCAA Tournament under Gard. Wisconsin lost to Iowa in the Big 10 Tournament in the quarterfinals. They were award the nine seed heading into the tournamnet.

As the nine seed, the Badgers again faced a very evenly matched opponent, this time it was college basketball blue blood No. 8 North Carolina. Wisconsin was able to knock off the Tar Heels and earn a ticket to the second round. Because of being the nine seed, they of course had to face one seed Baylor who easily took the matchup 76-63 and would go on to win the National Championship.

2021-2022 Season

In 2022 Wisconsin won their third regular season title under Gard. The Badgers finished the season 25-8 overall and 15-5 in the Big 10. However, they did lose in their first game of the Big 10 Tournament to Michigan State.

The Badgers were awarded the three seed, the highest seed they have ever had under Gard. They were given an easier matchup, which did not look quite as easy as it should have been. They beat Colgate 67-60 to move onto the second round where they were set to take on 11 seed Iowa State.

Iowa State proved to be too much to handle for Wisconsin in the end as they upset the Badgers 54-49 in a low-scoring affair.

This would be the Gard's latest appearance in the NCAA Tournament. He will most likely make it back to the NCAA Tournament this season, now he and his team will await what seed they will be given this year.

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