The NCAA announced Wisconsin earned a No. 4 seed and will face Wofford this Friday in the 2010 NCAA Tournament.
""These guys played well enough over a four-month period to be in a pretty good position in the NCAA Tournament. That's how it's judged, it's judged on your entire body of work,"" Head coach Bo Ryan said. ""I'm very proud of these guys, I'm extremely excited about the fact that they get to play again and I'm sure they're excited to play again too.""
The Badgers went 13-5 this season in the Big Ten, 23-8 overall and beat three teams ranked in the top 25 of the RPI and six in the top 50 to help achieve their seed.
Their regular-season accomplishments become irrelevant, however, as Wisconsin now prepares for knockout basketball. Senior guard Jason Bohannon said he acknowledges UW now has a clean slate, and can do something positive after his team's short stint in the Big Ten Tournament.
""The last game kind of left a sour taste in our mouth in how we performed,"" Bohannon said. ""Luckily we played well enough during the season to put us in the position to play another game.""
The Badgers fell to Illinois in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament, 58-54. While Wisconsin begins a new tournament Friday, Bohannon said the loss can factor in as a motivator for his team, noting how well the Badgers have responded to defeats this season.
""Even though we lost the game we have to bounce back stronger and better than we have before and we did that throughout the course of the season,"" Bohannon said. ""When we had a loss we bounced back strong and we have the same mentality going into this one.""
During the regular season Wisconsin has won each game it's played after a loss.
Now the Badgers turn their attention to Wofford, a No. 13 seed. The Terriers went 26-8 this season and 15-3 in the Southern Conference, winning the regular-season and tournament crown.
Ryan and the players did not discuss Wofford with much detail. Instead they talked about how happy they were to be in the event.
""We're just happy to be playing whoever we're playing,"" Bohannon said.
If the Badgers advance past Wofford Friday, they will face the winner of the Temple-Cornell match up on Sunday. A victory in that game would send Wisconsin to Syracuse for the Sweet Sixteen.
Ryan said he believes the Badgers must succeed in multiple facets of the game to make a run in the NCAA Tournament.
""You have guard play is extremely important, rebounding and defense will give you the best chance of staying alive and then you got to have some player shooting a pretty good percentage in order to advance, Ryan said. ""You need defense to keep you in it and you need some players to get hot offensively. I haven't seen a team advance without a combination of those things. We've got senior leadership, we've got some guys who potentially can be very hot in a game, can score at a high rate of efficiency.""
Senior guard Trevon Hughes said he thinks Wisconsin can advance deep into this tournament.
""Every time we step on the floor we feel like we can do some damage,"" Hughes said. He added that he thinks the Badgers have the ability to beat anyone.
This is the 12th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance for Wisconsin, meaning Hughes and fellow senior Bohannon will have played in the event all four years they went to Wisconsin.
""Me and Trevon have been fortunate enough to have the chance to play four years in the tournament consecutively,"" Bohannon said. ""That's a great accomplishment and we're really looking forward to another chance to get out there and perform again.""