Wisconsin’s up-and-down season has it sitting at 14-10 overall and 7-6 in Big Ten play. In most years, that kind of resume would have the Badgers firmly on the bubble of the NCAA Tournament. But this is not most years in college basketball.
The ACC, long thought to be the most dominant conference in the nation, is having a down campaign. Several conferences will likely benefit greatly from the fallout, but none more than the Big Ten. Wisconsin (33) is one of 11 teams in the top 40 of the NET Rankings, an important tool used by the tournament selection committee. No other conference has more than five.
That presence has carried over to the various mock brackets being put out as we sit 33 days out from Selection Sunday. In his latest Bracketology, ESPN’s Joe Lunardi has 11 Big Ten teams making it. If that happened, it would tie the record for the most teams in the tournament from a single conference, matching the number the Big East had in 2011. That was when the conference had 16 teams.
As for Wisconsin’s tournament prospects, most believe the Badgers are in good shape to make it even with the departure of guard Kobe King in late January. With seven games to play in the regular season, T-Ranketology gives coach Greg Gard’s club a 96.7 percent chance to earn an at-large bid. That’s powered by seven Quadrant 1 wins, tied for the fourth-most in the country. They’ll likely have a chance to add to that with road games at Michigan and Indiana, while home games against Purdue and Rutgers could also end up in that column.
All of that is to say that despite the rollercoaster of a season the Badgers have had, a trip to the tourney for the 21st time in 22 seasons appears within reach.
Here’s a look at the latest bracket projections for Wisconsin from several different sites:
ESPN: No. 8 seed vs Rhode Island (Omaha)
CBSSports.com: No. 10 seed vs USC (Greensboro)
Bracketville: No. 8 seed vs Oklahoma (Sacramento)
The Bracketeer: No. 8 seed vs Oklahoma (Sacramento)
SBNation: No. 7 seed
If you’re looking for even more mock brackets, visit BracketMatrix.com. That site tracks every known bracket and is updated daily.