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Wisconsin Basketball Bracketology Guide: March 5th



Wisconsin basketball guard Jordan Davis

Wisconsin basketball plays the Minnesota Golden Gophers today in a game with massive NCAA Tournament implications for the Badgers. Simply put, if Greg Gard and co. want to play in the Tournament, this is a must-win game. Depending on who you ask, Wisconsin either needs to simply avoid disaster to get into the Big Dance or win today plus a bit more in the Big Ten Tournament.

Is Wisconsin Basketball in the NCAA Tournament?

32 of the 60 bracketologists on Bracket Matrix have Wisconsin in the field. 1-3-1 Sports, DRatings, and HoopsHD are the three highest-rated predictors, according to Bracket Matrix, with brackets updated for March 5th. Each of them has Wisconsin as one of the first four teams out of the field.

Even Though Wisconsin did not play yesterday, plenty of games took place that shaped the NCAA Tournament bubble. It was a mixed bag of results, some helpful for the Badgers’ tournament chances and others unhelpful.

The good for Wisconsin basketball:

  • Nevada fell at home to its in-state rival UNLV 69-67 – its second Quadrant 3 loss. Nevada now finds itself in a precarious position as one of the last four teams in. The Wolfpack’s next game will be in the second round of the Mountain West Tournament against San Jose State – a game it will need to win to feel good about its chances on Selection Sunday.
  • Pitt had an opportunity to clinch the top seed in the ACC Tournament at Miami but fell to the Hurricanes 78-76. The Panthers slipped all the way to fifth in the ACC with the loss and to one of the last four teams avoiding a trip to the First Four in Dayton. Pitt will now have to play Florida State or Georgia Tech in its first ACC Tournament game – a must-win matchup as the Panthers hope to avoid a third loss outside the first two Quadrants.
  • Duke completed its season sweep of North Carolina with a 62-57 victory denying the Tar Heels a much-needed Quad 1 win. UNC now enters postseason play with only one Quad 1 victory (which it is barely holding onto as Virginia is right on the cutoff in the NET rankings to still count toward Q1). North Carolina’s best-case scenario appears to be sneaking in as one of the last four teams in the tournament, but some bracketologists do not believe UNC has the resume for even that yet. The Tar Heels will need to win at least two games (over Boston College/Lousiville, then Virginia) in the ACC Tournament – and maybe then some – to secure their spot.

The bad for Wisconsin basketball:

  • West Virginia defeated Kansas State 89-81 in a game that never felt that close down the stretch. The victory likely secures the Mountaineers’ spot in the Big Dance. WVU now has six Quad 1 wins with no losses outside the first two quadrants.
  • Auburn likely locked itself into the NCAA Tournament after pulling away late to secure a 79-70 victory over Tennessee. The Tigers now have 20 wins on the season, including three Quad 1 wins.
  • Oklahoma State has a resume very similar to Wisconsin’s. Both teams have six Quad 1 wins and just one Quad 3 loss. The Cowboys are 17-14 after a 71-68 victory at Texas Tech yesterday, and the Badgers are attempting to get their 17th win today. Much like the UW, some believe OSU is in the Tournament field, and some do not. While Oklahoma State’s win yesterday did not secure its spot in the Tournament, a loss would have taken them out of contention.

  • Florida Atlantic defeated Louisiana Tech 76-72 to complete its regular season with a 28-3 record. Bracktologists now have FAU firmly in the NCAAs, regardless of whether or not it wins the Conference USA Tournament. If FAU does not win its conference tournament, one fewer spot will remain for the Badgers to secure an at-large bid. 25-6 North Texas and 23-8 UAB are both candidates to win the CUSA and steal a bid.

NCAA Tournament Bubble Games Today

Although not as many as yesterday, many bubble teams are playing today. In addition to beating Minnesota, Wisconsin will want to see some other games around the bubble go its way for resume comparison’s sake.

Memphis Tigers vs Houston Cougars – 11:00 AM CST on CBS

Jim Nantz is on the call for his alma mater, Houston, ahead of his final NCAA Tournament. Memphis is on the tournament bubble, but would likely lock its spot in with a win over likely number-one seed Houston.

Penn State Nittany Lions vs Maryland Terrapins – 11:00 AM on Big Ten Network

Penn State is in a spot similar to Wisconsin, one of the first four teams out of the field. Only 15 of 59 bracketologists at Bracket Matrix have the Nittany Lions in the field right now. Although a loss to Maryland would not be disastrous, PSU is running out of chances for quality wins.

Michigan Wolverines at Indiana Hoosiers – 3:30 PM on CBS

Michigan is also running out of chances for quality wins following its 2OT loss to Illinois. A loss today at Indiana would be the Wolverines’ 14th of the regular season. As regular readers of our bracketology guide know, that might be enough to end Michigan’s at-large hopes.

Charleston Cougars vs Stony Brook Seawolves in the Colonial Athletic Association Quarterfinals – 5:00 PM on FloHoops

Charleston is the second team of Cougars that Badger fans should be cheering for today. The Cougars (28-3) are close to being an at-large team if they fail to win the CAA Tournament. Wisconsin basketball fans should hope Charleston wins its conference tournament so that a debate between at-large candidates Charleston and Wisconsin is unnecessary.

Rutgers Scarlet Knights vs Northwestern Wildcats – 6:30 PM on Big Ten Network

After a devastating, buzzer-beating loss at Minnesota, Rutgers finds itself on the bubble. Although the Scarlet Knights are not in trouble quite yet, they would prefer a win on senior night to right the ship before the Big Ten Tournament.

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BadgerNotes' resident college basketball sicko, Kedrick Stumbris covers Wisconsin Badgers men's basketball and women's hockey teams unlike anyone else. He received his B.A. with economics and political science majors from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2018 and has had his work published on Bleacher Report and Verbal Commits.