The Big Ten basketball season has been crazy, with parity and unbelievable results ruling the day. Saying it has been a brutal season for the Big Ten isn’t an understatement.
Yet, the Wisconsin Badgers are the No. 7 ranked team in the country and that should count for something. It didn’t for the NCAA tournament selection committee on Saturday though.
The full #BracketPreview!
Is it a glimpse at this year’s Sweet 16?? pic.twitter.com/TElTZy98WG
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) February 11, 2017
As they revealed the first top 16 seeds as they seem them today, the Big Ten was left without a single representative. Yes, no 21-3 Wisconsin Badgers in the mix of the best 16 teams in college basketball today.
Such has been the Big Ten’s horrific season that a team sitting at 10-1 atop the conference can’t even crack in to the top 16 teams in the tournament field.
It equally would’ve been shocking to see any name but Wisconsin representing the Big Ten in the top 16 at this point. Alas, the parity of the league has apparently hurt the team at the top of the standings by two games.
One could point to the fact that Wisconsin is just No. 18 in the latest NCAA official RPI rankings and one spot behind the last of the supposed four seeds — Duke.
However, RPI is just one measure for this committee. KenPom.com has the Badgers as the No. 12 team in the country and the No. 7 defensive team the country as well.
I don’t care how “down” the Big Ten is, it is certainly worth of its champion amongst the best 16 teams in college basketball.
Sure, Wisconsin will have better games in the coming days against both Northwestern and Maryland to help its case, but it certainly isn’t a good sign when you are looking from the outside in to the best seeds of the NCAA tournament.
Not having the Badgers in the top 16 also doesn’t bode well for those in the middle of the Big Ten pack either. Schools like Michigan State, Minnesota, Michigan and Indiana have got to find ways to string together significant winning streaks down the stretch if they want to get in to the tournament.
Should Wisconsin get wins over Northwestern and Maryland and still get left out of the top 16 next week, well there is little hope of the NCAA tournament selection committee respecting the Big Ten at that point.
The message to the Big Ten seemed very clear from this reveal — step your game up or you’re going to get left behind.