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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Thursday, June 13, 2024

Wisconsin’s regular season Big Ten championship hopes gained life Tuesday after No. 2 Indiana fell at home to Ohio State. The Badgers will need to win their last two games, however, to share the title.

Men's Basketball: Wisconsin still in hunt for Big Ten title

A four-way tie atop the Big Ten conference at season’s end is entirely plausible after No. 14 Ohio State beat the No. 2 Hoosiers at Assembly Hall Tuesday, 67-58.

The top four teams will earn a first-round bye in next week’s conference tournament in Chicago, but those seeds will not be set until Indiana faces No. 7 in Ann Arbor Sunday, the final day of college hoops’ regular season.

Although it will be difficult not to notice Indiana’s loss Tuesday, Wisconsin associate coach Gary Close said—before the Buckeyes’ win was final—the Badgers don’t pay much attention to the daily results in the Big Ten.

“It changes so much from game to game that it’s almost, you get through the year and you find out where you’re at,” Close said. “We’re still in contention for the championship, and until we’re not, we fight for that.”

While the Hoosiers can still clinch the Big Ten outright with a win at Michigan, another IU loss would open the door for three more teams in the conference to share the title. (The loser of Thursday’s Wisconsin-Michigan State showdown will be eliminated from regular season championship contention.) The Wolverines would earn a share of the title if they beat Purdue Wednesday (in addition to knocking off Indiana Sunday), and Ohio State would grab a share if it beats Illinois Sunday. The winner of the UW-Michigan State game would also need to win its finale Sunday to join the party.

In the event the Badgers share the regular season championship, they would also earn the No. 1 seed in the Big Ten tournament. Thanks to Wisconsin’s wins over Indiana and Michigan, UW would win any multi-team tiebreaker for the top seed.

Although freshman forward Sam Dekker was aware the Badgers would need help to share the regular season title, he said UW must simply worry about what it can control down the stretch.

“We can’t scoreboard watch —yeah, it’d be nice if some teams took a loss here, but we gotta do what we do,” Dekker said. “If we win these next two games, we’re putting ourselves in the best position possible, and that’s what we’re gonna focus on doing.”

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