Head coach Greg Gard and his Wisconsin Badgers must feel like Rodney Dangerfield tonight. As in, not getting any respect. That’s based on the No. 8 seed they received in the 2017 NCAA basketball tournament.
For a team which has been to three straight Sweet 16 appearances in the NCAA basketball tournament, which no other team has done over that time, plus has won more tournament games (11) than anyone in that span, placing the Badgers with a No. 8 seed in the East bracket is a total slap in the face.
Adding to that, the 25-9 Badgers finished tied for second in the Big Ten (12-6) in the regular season and then made it to the title game in the Big Ten tournament as well, yet four other teams from the Big Ten conference had better seeds.
What the F!
Okay, I understand that the 25-7 Purdue Boilermakers received a No. 4 seed, as they were the Big Ten regular season champs (14-4) and they also beat the Badgers in their only matchup.
But to give a No. 5 seed to the 24-9 Minnesota Golden Gophers, who the Badgers beat twice in the regular season and finished ahead of them (11-7) in the Big Ten standings makes absolutely no sense. Plus Wisconsin advanced farther in the Big Ten tourney.
Nor does giving a No. 6 seed to the 24-8 Maryland Terrapins, who the Badgers beat in their only matchup in the regular season, plus knowing the team didn’t even advance to the Big Ten tournament quarterfinals.
The 24-11 Michigan Wolverines received a No. 7 seed, which was helped by winning the Big Ten tourney. Michigan finished 10-8 in the Big Ten in the regular season and split their two games against Wisconsin.
I have no problem with the seeding of the Wolverines, just that the Badgers should have been seeded higher than them. That obviously includes Minnesota and Maryland as well, based on the entire body of work.
I mean it’s great that the Big Ten received seven tournament bids, but Wisconsin certainly deserved better than the seeding they received. Not just because of what they did this past year, but also because of what they have done these past four years.
I would think that the seniors like Nigel Hayes, Bronson Koenig, Zak Showalter and Vitto Brown are feeling totally disrespected. Again these are four guys who have seen this team go to three straight Sweet 16s, two Final Fours and one NCAA title game.
To me, the seeds of Wisconsin and Minnesota should be completely reversed. The Badgers deserve the right to be playing with the higher No. 5 seed and also to be playing in Milwaukee to begin the tournament.
Oh well, it is what it is. The Badgers now get to face a tough Virginia Tech team coached by Buzz Williams, who used to have the same job with Marquette. If the Badgers are fortunate to get by the Hokies, they will most likely (99 percent chance) get to play against the Villanova Wildcats, the No. 1 seed in the tourney and the defending national champions for the right to get to their fourth straight Sweet 16.
Well, it’s no use crying over spilled beer and bad cheese. The tournament begins for the Badgers on Thursday against the Hokies. I have a feeling that the Badgers want to prove to the NCAA selection committee that they will use this lack of respect as motivation in the tourney.
Rodney Dangerfield also didn’t get a lot of respect. But you know what? Rodney always got the last laugh.