INDIANAPOLIS — The University of Wisconsin men’s basketball squad enters the postseason coming off what is by far the worst loss on its NCAA tournament contour.

The expert news for the Badgers, who open Large Ten tournament play on Friday night against Michigan State in a quarterfinal at Gainbridge Fieldhouse, is that information technology appears the bracketology experts don’t believe a 74-73 loss to Nebraska in the regular-season finale last Sunday was all that damaging.

ESPN’s Joe Lunardi has UW as a No. 2 seed, as does Mike DeCourcy of Fox Sports. Jerry Palm of has the Badgers equally a No. 3 seed. Either of those spots — 2 or 3 — about certainly would be skilful enough for Greg Gard’due south team to spend the opening weekend of NCAA tournament play in Milwaukee.

Of course, the merely opinions that matter are those on the pick committee and we’ll all find out what they call back in a couple days.

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UW is going to be a fascinating case study on Selection Sunday. It’southward a team that can lucifer its résumé to this point — if we’re talking strictly wins and losses, and where those results occurred — against almost whatsoever other team in the nation.

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But the analytics portion of UW’s profile might drag it down in the optics of the commission. When that group gave a tease of how the subclass looked on Feb. xix, the Badgers showed up equally a No. iv seed and the 13th overall seed amidst the 16 teams listed.

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The Johnny Davis-led Badgers take gone 4-one since that betoken, beating Purdue for a second time to go along with quality wins over Michigan and at Rutgers. (And that ugly home loss to the Cornhuskers.)

There’due south a lot to like virtually UW’s résumé and here are some highlights:

  • It’southward 12-ii away from dwelling house, including 9-2 in truthful road games.
  • It has a combined 16-4 record in Quad i (8-3) and Quad 2 (8-1) games. That accounts for 16 of the Badgers’ 24 wins this flavor.

One fundamental game on Friday non involving the Badgers that could help them out in a big style is a quarterfinal between Rutgers and Iowa. The Cherry Knights are hovering simply exterior the Top 75 in the Net rankings, the sorting tool the NCAA uses to select and seed the 68-team field. Chirapsia Iowa would almost certainly move Rutgers dorsum in the Meridian 75, giving UW another Quad 1 win (on the route vs. the Scarlet Knights) and moving its dwelling house loss to Rutgers from Quad 3 to Quad 2.

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While your head is still spinning with numbers — lamentable, that’s hard to avoid this time of year — let’southward talk about those dreaded analytics.

UW is No. thirty in the KenPom Adjusted Efficiency Margin. In that location are iv Big Ten teams above the Badgers, who you lot may think shared the briefing championship with Illinois after both finished 15-5.

Gard’south squad has been great in close games this season, going 15-2 in contests decided past six or fewer points, and that’s a sign of a good team. Merely it’s not a sign of a ascendant one and that’s a big reason the Badgers sit where they practise in the KenPom rankings. Non helping matters is that two of those close wins came confronting Nicholls State and Illinois Country — by a combined seven points in December — and those teams are ranked No. 199 and 186 in KenPom.

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What does this all mean? Maybe not much. UW was an analytics darling concluding flavor, finishing in the KenPom Top 15, and yet our eyes told us a unlike story about that team. The committee agreed and handed the Badgers a No. 9 seed after they entered Selection Sunday with a 17-12 overall record and an 11-11 marker against Large 10 teams.

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If I were to stand up earlier the committee on Lord’s day and brand a example for UW, I’d encourage them to use analytics sparingly. If two teams have similar contour, sure, compare their efficiency numbers and use that as a tiebreaker. But don’t ding a squad that has produced a brilliant résumé and doesn’t have the efficiency numbers to match it.

The Badgers deserve to be no worse than a No. three seed on Sun. And with a couple wins this weekend, including a 3rd one over Purdue on Sat if the favorites advance, UW has a strong instance to be a No. 2.

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