The Wisconsin Badgers were given a 9 seed in the NCAA tournament this year. It is the 21st time in 22 years the Badgers are dancing. Wisconsin is in the South region. They take on the 8 seed North Carolina Tar Heels Friday night. A win would likely give them a matchup with top seeded Baylor. Here are my three initial thoughts of the Badger’s placement.
#Badgers earn a 9-seed in the NCAA Tournament and will face 8-seed North Carolina in the round of 64.
1-seed is Baylor.
— Evan Flood (@Evan_Flood) March 14, 2021
The Badgers Were Not Rewarded For A Tough Schedule
I see this thought from both sides. The Badgers had really difficult schedule. Not only was the Big Ten the toughest conference in the country this season, the Badgers didn’t have the easiest non-conference schedule either. Loyola Chicago made the tournament as an 8 seed, a really nice non-conference win. The Badgers also played Marquette, Louisville, and Rhode Island. The committee in the past has usually rewarded teams for strength of schedule.
However, the committee made it clear Wisconsin did not have enough good wins to warrant a better seed. Wisconsin finished 6th in the Big Ten, but didn’t beat any of the top 5 teams in the Big Ten. While the schedule was tough, they had a ton of chances to steal a few of those games. As a result, they have no one to blame but themselves.
North Carolina Provides Multiple Challenges
North Carolina was a 6 seed in the ACC tournament this year. They made it the semi-finals and fell to Florida State 81-73. As of today, the Tar Heels are a two point favorite. As a result, this is seen to be a toss up game.
One worrisome stat for the #Badgers: North Carolina ranks No. 1 nationally in offensive rebounding percentage (41.3).
— Jim Polzin (@JimPolzinWSJ) March 14, 2021
Two categories the Badgers did not do a good job in this year was rebounding and defending big men. They struggled with Kofi Cockburn, Hunter Dickinson, Luka, Garza, etc. North Carolina will have four big men at least 6’10 or taller in their rotation Friday. This includes leading scorer Armando Bacot, Garrison Brooks, Walker Kessler, and Day’Ron Sharpe. All four are huge men. Micah Potter and Nate Reuvers will have their hands full Friday night.
Most Likely A Max Of One Win
If the Badgers defeat North Carolina, they will take on the number 1 seed Baylor. Baylor has been one of the best teams in the country all year. While the Badgers did avoid number one overall seed Gonzaga, Baylor is probably the second best team in the country. Baylor has a lot of ways and a lot of players to beat opponents.
I really believed if Wisconsin was a 7 seed, they would have played a 2 seed such as Houston really tough. While you can only play what’s on your schedule, playing them is not enough. The committee made it clear you have to win some of those games. If the Badgers win Friday, they would prepare for most likely their biggest challenge of the year.
Follow me on Twitter at @DylanBuboltz! Check out our merch page as well. Use promo code WISCO at checkout for $1 off! To read more of our articles and keep up to date on the latest in Wisconsin sports, click here!