Coming off a blowout win over Penn State on Tuesday night at the Kohl Center, the Badgers are currently 6-1 in Big Ten play and 17-3 overall. They trail only Maryland in the standings but have yet to play them this year.   Their matchup with Maryland is one of eleven conference games remaining and is their only remaining matchup against a currently ranked opponent.   The schedule sets up nicely for the Badgers to win the conference and get the double bye in the Big Ten tournament. Compared to recent years, the Big Ten isn’t as strong. Given the current state, there are really only three teams that have a chance to win the conference, so instead of wasting your time giving a game-by-game prediction, I’ll just highlight a few potential key matchups.

photo via Badgerofhonor.com

The Badgers have a relatively easy schedule from here on out. Since they already played Purdue, that leaves only one matchup against a currently ranked team (obviously that could change), Maryland, and it’s at home. Like Purdue, the Badgers only have one matchup with the Terrapins this season. Maryland is leading the Big Ten with 18-2 (6-1) record, one game ahead of Wisconsin. They’re remaining schedule isn’t extremely difficult, but it is a bit more challenging than the Badgers. It should be an exciting race down the stretch.

Another potential tough matchup is a game at home against Indiana. I know Indiana has fell on some hard times due to injuries and inconsistent play, but they’re still talented. They have two potential first round draft picks in OG Anuoby and Thomas Bryant. The Hoosiers are currently 5th in the Big Ten with a record of 14-6 and 4-3 in conference play. The Badgers beat Indiana in Bloomington earlier in the year, but expect a tough game in Madison on Super Bowl Sunday.

photo via Sports Illustrated

You know the Big Ten may be having a down year when Tom Izzo’s Spartans are 12-9 (4-4) sitting in sixth in the Big Ten and in danger of missing the NCAA tournament. All that aside, its still a Michigan State team coached by Tom Izzo, so it wouldn’t be wise to overlook them. The Badgers lone matchup against the Spartans is a trip to East Lansing in late February. A lot can change in a month, but the Badgers will more than likely be in for a battle on February 26th.

 

Wisconsin’s game in Ann Arbor should get mentioned because the Wolverines took the Badgers to the very end in the first meeting in Madison. Michigan 13-7 (3-4) sits in seventh, a half game behind Michigan State, and is also in danger of missing the NCCA’S. This game could give Michigan a resume booster for the committee and knowing they hung with Wisconsin the first time, look for Michigan to give the Badgers a tough game.

photo via Sports Illustrated

With all that being said, a lot can happen between now and the Big Ten Tournament (3/8-3/12). There is a good chance the Badgers will be favored in every single one of their remaining regular season games, but we all know that doesn’t always work out. The Badgers could come out flat, have a bad night and lose to a team they are far superior than. Those things happen. Better to have it happen in February instead of March. Factoring in a little room for error, I think its fair to peg that Badgers win total between 24-27. That should be good enough to secure the top seed in the Big Ten Tournament. Obviously there’s a chance Purdue or Maryland matches or beats that win total. Either way if the Badgers don’t get the top seed, they’ll most likely be second or third. As long as they don’t lose their first or second game in the Big Ten Tournament, it would be a safe bet that the Badgers will secure a top 4 or 5 seed in the big dance.

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