NCAA bracketology roundup: Winning streak has Badgers on the rise
As the college basketball season heats up, FOX Sports Wisconsin will round up what experts are saying about the chances for Wisconsin to make the NCAA tournament in March. This is the fourth edition of the 2019 bracket roundup.
Wisconsin began its rise in the polls and in bracketology seedings starting with a win over then-No. 2 Michigan at home on Jan. 19. The Badgers haven’t lost since as they continue to ascend, up to No. 19 in the AP Top 25 and perhaps closing in on a top-four seed assignment in the NCAA tournament.
Winners of six straight, Wisconsin moved up from a projected 6 seed last week to a 5 this week in the roundup compiled by the Bracket Matrix, which now has 105 different brackets, ranging from writers at Sports Illustrated and ESPN to bloggers for SB Nation and everything in between.
The Badgers’ average seed of these 105 brackets is actually 4.34, but that puts them at 17th-highest, which means a 5 seed. Nine brackets, including SI, have Wisconsin, which is coming off wins over then-No. 21 Maryland at the Kohl Center and at Minnesota, as a 3 seed. Last week, just three projections had the Badgers listed that high.
There are some outliers, of course, including one bracket which has UW as a 7 seed. We’ll save the site the embarrassment of naming it here.
As we mentioned last week, Wisconsin has some big tests coming up which could help — or hurt — its cause. The Badgers passed the first two (Maryland, Minnesota). Up next is a Saturday morning game at No. 7 Michigan and then Tuesday at home vs. No. 9 Michigan State. It’s not necessarily smooth sailing after that, but only one currently ranked team (No. 20 Iowa) remains on UW’s schedule following the upcoming two contests. So how Wisconsin gets through the next five days will lay the groundwork for its potential seeding heading into the Big Ten tournament.
Also, as we type this Wisconsin is up to No. 12 (after being No. 13 a week ago) in the NCAA’s NET rankings, the system which replaced RPI this year. That certainly helps the cause for a higher seeding.
And finally, The Athletic, which is not included in the Matrix, has Wisconsin as a 4 seed this week, just as the site had the Badgers last week. Take a look at which tournament seed 12 big-name brackets have assigned to the Badgers below and how that view has changed over the past seven days: