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Wisconsin Basketball Excluded in AP Top 25, But Analytics Like Badgers

Wisconsin Men’s Basketball is Ready to Prove the AP Voters Wrong.

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Wisconsin Badgers basketball head coach Greg Gard speaks at Big Ten Media days
Oct 10, 2023; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Wisconsin Badgers head coach Greg Gard speaks to the media during the Big Ten basketball media days at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

The unofficial start of the 2023-24 Wisconsin basketball season came with a mixed bag of emotions for the Badgers.

As the Associated Press (AP) released its preseason Top 25 rankings, the Badgers found themselves on the outside looking in, narrowly missing out on a coveted spot among the nation’s elite.

It’s a scenario that disappointed some fans but left others fired up for a season of redemption.

Wisconsin Basketball Falls Just Short

After a disappointing season that saw the Wisconsin basketball team miss out on the NCAA Tournament, there are high hopes for a resurgence in the upcoming season.

However, Wisconsin was conspicuously absent from the rankings when the preseason AP Top 25 was unveiled. Instead, they were the first team out, receiving 53 votes, signaling their position as a team that the media wants to see before they buy in.

The exclusion was a bitter pill to swallow for a Badgers team that returned 90% of its production from a year ago and is determined to reclaim its position among the nation’s top programs.

But as we all know, it’s not where you start; it’s how you finish. Per Brandon Harrison, Wisconsin basketball has started the season unranked seven times in the past 15 seasons. Regardless, in five of those seven, the Badgers finished ranked.

Analytics Offer a Silver Lining

While the AP rankings may have overlooked the Badgers, there’s a silver lining for fans who trust the data-driven approach. 

Analytics and computer-based models, known for their objectivity, paint a more promising picture of the Wisconsin basketball team’s prospects this season.

According to KenPom’s rankings, the Badgers sit at No. 20, and Haslametrics ranks them at No. 25. On a slightly less optimistic side, and one more in line with the AP voters, Barttorvik has Wisconsin at No. 31, and Evan Miya’s site has UW at No. 35.  

These rankings suggest that the Badgers are well-positioned to compete at a high level and make significant strides from their previous season. 

A Season of Redemption For Wisconsin Basketball 

Being left out of the preseason AP Top 25 for the Wisconsin basketball program is simply a starting point. It’s a chance to prove that rankings don’t define a team’s potential and they’re determined to rise to the challenge. 

A disappointing season is in the rearview mirror, and the Badgers are ready to rewrite the narrative and return to the NCAA Tournament. 



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Dillon Graff is a Substack Newsletter Best Selling Author and the Owner of BadgerNotes.com, your go-to source for in-depth coverage of the Wisconsin Badgers. His work has been featured in top media publications like USA Today, Bleacher Report, Verbal Commits, B5Q, Saturday Blitz, and Fansided.

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