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Saturday, June 15, 2024
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Wisconsin’s fading March Madness resume

As Selection Sunday approaches, what do the Badgers need to solidify their seeding in the Big Dance?

This past month has been a rough one for the Wisconsin Badgers men’s basketball team. They were a projected two seed and ranked sixth nationally just a month ago. Today, they are unranked and have fallen to the fifth or sixth-seed line in March Madness projections. 

Being a projected fifth seed with a record of 18-11 is a bit unusual, but the Badgers have a solid resume to back up their poor record. When the committee decides seeds, they use several predictive metrics. Wisconsin ranks 23rd nationally in KenPom, which measures the adjusted efficiency of each team. 

According to KenPom, the Badgers have the 16th-most efficient offense and the 59th-most efficient defense. If the Badgers want to make a run in March, they will need to clean up on the defensive side. Every national champion except one since 2002 was at least top 21 in offensive efficiency and top 37 in defensive efficiency.

The selection committee also likes to look at NET rankings when determining seeds. NET rankings separate games played into four quadrants, with Quadrant 1 being a team’s toughest games: against a top-30 team at home, a top-50 team at a neutral site or a top-75 team away. Quadrant 2 marks the next segments of top-100 teams.

Wisconsin holds six Quadrant 1 wins and six Quadrant 2 wins while also being undefeated in Quadrants 3 and 4. 

Additionally, the selection committee will look at a team's best wins. Wisconsin holds a home win over Marquette, two wins over Michigan State and neutral site wins over both Virginia and SMU, who each rank top 50 in the NET. 

Wisconsin’s home matchup Thursday against Rutgers is a must-win if the Badgers want to push for a four-seed. A win at Purdue Sunday would likely boost Wisconsin up to a four seed depending on how they perform in the Big Ten tournament next week. 

As of right now, Wisconsin sits at fifth in the Big Ten. If the Badgers want to have a double bye next week in Minneapolis for the Big Ten Tournament as a resume-boosting opportunity, they will likely need to win out in conference play. 

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