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Wisconsin Basketball Bracketology Guide: March 2nd



Wisconsin Badgers basketball

The chances of Wisconsin basketball making the NCAA Tournament can increase immensely today. All it requires is the Badgers do one thing: beat Purdue. Of course, that task is easier said than done. Purdue is on track for a top-seed in the NCAA Tournament and boasts National Player of the Year favorite Zach Edey. Considering all that, an upset win today may secure UW’s spot in the Tournament.

Is Wisconsin Basketball in the NCAA Tournament?

73 of the 107 predictors on Bracket Matrix currently have Wisconsin in the NCAA Tournament field. Unless UW can play itself off the bubble with a win tonight, it may want some help getting into the Big Dance.

NCAA Tournament Bubble Watch

The results of other teams on the NCAA Tournament bubble were mixed last night:

  • Auburn built a 17-point lead but ultimately lost in overtime at Alabama. Although it was not a bad loss for Auburn, the Tigers blew a chance at a win over one of the best teams in the country to help its resume for the selection committee.
  • Penn State’s Camren Wynter hit a three-pointer with less than a second remaining in overtime to give the Nittany Lions a much-needed victory over Northwestern. The win improved Penn State’s NET ranking by four spots from 60 to 56.
  • Utah State took care of business by defeating UNLV 91-66. Although Utah State is still looking for its first Quadrant 1 win, the Aggies have a slight chance of receiving an at-large birth to the NCAA Tournament.

NCAA Tournament Bubble Games of the Day

Wisconsin basketball fans should keep an eye (or second screen) on these other bubble teams playing tonight. 

Michigan Wolverines at Illinois Fighting Illini – 6:00 PM CST on ESPN

Only 12 of the 107 predictors at Bracket Matrix have Michigan in the tournament field. It is not hard to imagine, however, the selection committee slotting Michigan over Wisconsin into the First Four if the Wolverines finish strong and the Badgers falter. Michigan only has three Quad 1 wins to Wisconsin’s six. Still, Juwan Howard, Hunter Dickinson, and company could close the gap by defeating Illinois tonight and Indiana in the regular season finale. 

Arizona State Sun Devils at UCLA Bruins – 8:00 PM on ESPN

While watching Wisconsin-Purdue, turn your second screen onto ESPN. Arizona State has a tournament resume very similar to Wisconsin’s. The Sun Devils are ranked higher in the NET and KenPom than Wisconsin, but the Badgers rate higher than ASU in Bart Torvik’s T-Rank. A win tonight over potential one-seed UCLA would be Arizona State’s fifth Quad 1 win. Arizona State lost its first matchup against UCLA 74-62 in January.  

Memphis Tigers at SMU Mustangs – 8:00 PM on ESPN2

If you have a third screen or can quickly flip between ESPN and ESPN2, Memphis has a must-win game against MSU. The Tigers currently project as one of the last teams avoiding the First Four. A loss at SMU would be a Quadrant 3 loss and possibly force Memphis to make a trip to Dayton. Memphis beat SMU in January 99-84.

USC Trojans vs. Arizona Wildcats – 10:00 PM on ESPN

If Wisconsin basketball beats Purdue tonight, turn off the TV and go to bed. If Zach Edey and the Boilermakers leave the Kohl Center with a win, make some coffee and put ESPN on the main screen. Bracketologists are split on USC, with some placing the Trojans as high as a seven-seed and others as low as an 11-seed. A victory at Arizona would likely put USC firmly on the right side of the bubble. USC lost at Arizona in January 81-66.

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Kedrick Stumbris covers Wisconsin football, basketball, hockey, and volleyball. He received his B.A. with economics and political science majors from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2018.