It is that time of the year! March Madness is back and better than ever. Thirty-four of the 64 teams were not in the bracket last year. This will be Northwestern’s first tournament appearance ever, and the seeding is extremely skeptical. This tournament is potentially bound for some upsets.
Tonight’s matchup with Virginia Tech and Wisconsin could very well be one of those games with a crazy finish. Wisconsin’s under-seeding caused a lot of controversy, seeing as they were already one of the favorites to make a run in the tournament.
It certainly did not bode well with fans across the college basketball fan base, including former Badger, Frank Kaminsky.
An 8 seed? Wth is that??
— Frank Kaminsky III (@FSKPart3) March 12, 2017
Purdue 4, Minnesota 5, Maryland 6, Michigan 7, Northwestern 8, Michigan St 9
Wisconsin, 2nd place regular season 2nd place B1G tourney…8 pic.twitter.com/YxOShw8an5
— Spencer (@SPENNYjohn3) March 12, 2017
How in the hell is Minnesota a 5 seed and Wisconsin an 8? Huge chip in Bucky's shoulder now.
— dan needles (@dneedles12) March 12, 2017
Wisconsin: 25-9…8 seed
Michigan State: 19-14…9 seed
Go home committee, you're drunk. #SelectionSunday
— Dave Wronkowski (@D_Wronx10) March 12, 2017
There may be a couple of factors contributing as to why the Badgers received the seed they did. First, their RPI was very low, ranked at 87. Minnesota (17), Northwestern (64), and Maryland (54) were all ranked higher. The strength of their schedule was more than likely a factor as well. Wisconsin was ranked 68th with a non-conference schedule ranked at 276, far below the other Big Ten teams that are ranked higher. It may seem odd that a 25-9 team that finished second in the Big Ten is punished with an 8 seed, but when you have a team that has been to the championship, it is expected that most of those game should be won.
Virginia Tech has impressive wins over the top ACC teams in Duke, Virginia, and Miami earlier in the season that earned them a bid in the tournament for the first time since 2007. Former Maryland guard, Seth Allen has taken the Hokies to the next level and in his fifth and final season, gets to play in the big dance.
The key for Virginia Tech will be to guard the three-point line. They will need Allen and junior, Zach LeDay to make smart plays for the team. Without depth, it will be tough for them get consistent stops against Hayes and company, but anything is possible.
The key for Wisconsin will be to heat up from behind the arc. Virginia Tech can make the three but cannot defend it, so Wisconsin will have to hope Bronson Koenig and Nigel Hayes can get it going from deep.
Virginia Tech has an experienced, veteran team with two seniors and two juniors. However, they have not taken that veteran experience to the postseason. Head Coach, Buzz Williams however, has experience from his time at Marquette, and knows what it takes to gear his players up for the playoffs.
This game should be a very close and interesting game, but with Virginia Tech looking a little hot, expect them to pull off the upset.
Prediction: Virginia Tech 75 Wisconsin 71