April 23, 2014

Could the Badgers win the Big Ten title?

With seven Big Ten games left in the Big Ten Conference regular season, the

Bo Ryan

Bo Ryan

Wisconsin Badgers (17-7, 8-3 Big Ten) are tied for third place with Michigan.  Both are just 1-game behind league leading Indiana and Michigan State.

The Spartans took over sole possession of first place by beating Purdue 78-65 on Saturday night, after the Badgers dumped Michigan 65-62 in overtime.  Indiana then joined Michigan State with a 81-68 win over Ohio State on Sunday.

Under Ryan, Wisconsin has never finished out of the top four in the Big Ten.  Ryan, at his post game press conference, indicated that there’s still plenty of non-believers.

AUDIO: Bo Ryan on being just 1-game back in the Big Ten :19

Wisconsin improved to 4-4 against ranked teams this season, including a 4-2 mark in the Big Ten this season.  The Badgers have wins over Indiana and Michigan, ranked #2 and #3 at the time.

AUDIO: Jared Berggren says the Badgers are definitely in the hunt :16

The Badgers should find themselves in the AP Top 25 when the polls come out later today.  Up to this point, Wisconsin has been able to use their absence to their advantage.

The Badgers have flown under the radar and Bo Ryan has gotten a lot of mileage from a team that has struggled at times offensively and had a hard time shooting free throws.  What Ryan has received from his team is a solid, consistent effort on defense.  They held Michigan to 39% shooting from the field and just 2-points in overtime on Saturday.

You still won’t find a lot of people picking the Badgers to win the Big Ten regular season title.  But don’t be surprised if the Badgers, growing in confidence by the day, find a way to hang around and make things interesting.