After finishing the year with two horrific losses, the Wisconsin Badgers enter the NCAA Tournament as one of the nation’s top 16 teams. As a #4 seed in the Southeast Regional, the Badgers will take on the #13 seed Belmont Bruins (30-4), champions of the Atlantic Sun Conference.
The Badgers and Bruins will match-up on Thursday, March 17th in Tuscon, Arizona. Tip-off is set for 6:27 with coverage on TruTV. The winner of this game meets the winner of #5 Kansas State and #12 Utah State on Saturday.
Keep reading to learn a little about the Badgers tournament history and Belmont who have surfaced as a trendy upset pick.
By: Nick Grays
Belmont’s 30 victories set an Atlantic Sun Conference record for a single season and the Bruins became just the 14th school from a non-BCS conference to get to 30 victories since 1996-97.
As a #13 seed, Belmont represents the highest seed for the Atlantic Sun Conference since 2001 when Georgia State received a #11 seed and coincidentally played Wisconsin.
While Belmont may appear to be one of those little schools, they pack quite the punch and are a perfect candidate for the so-called “Giant-Killers.” They sit right outside the AP top 25 and received a season-high 9 votes in the week of March 9th.
Yes, Belmont may be shaping up as one of your trendy upset matches, but buyers beware, the Wisconsin Badgers are hungry to redeem their selves and have three senior starters who don’t want to end their career on a three-game losing streak.
Also keep in mind that the Bruins have failed to beat any of the big boys with two losses to Tennessee and a loss to Vanderbilt.
For Wisconsin, they will be making their 13th straight appearance in the Big Dance. They own a 21-15 all-time record there with current Head Coach Bo Ryan compiling a 12-9 mark.
A #4 seed may sound familiar as this is the same seed the Badgers received last season. UW is 2-0 all-time as a #4 with wins over #13 Tulsa in 2003 and #13 Wofford last year.
The Badgers have earned a top-six seed in seven of its 10 NCAA tournament appearances under Ryan, including seeds of 4 or higher in three of the last four seasons.
Which team have you advanced in your bracket; Belmont or Wisconsin? Let me know by commenting below!
Nick Grays is a senior editor at the Sports Bank where he covers the Wisconsin Badgers, Green Bay Packers, Indiana Pacers and Milwaukee Brewers. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here or visit his blog Nick Knows Best.