Bo Ryan, and his team made a goal of returning to the Final Four and to cut down the nets in Indy, after last season's heart breaking loss against Kentucky, and they are right on pace for it all to happen. Wisconsin's season was broke down into four quarters: Nonconference, conference, conference tournament, and NCAA tournament and that's how I will recap their season and preview their tournament bid.
Wisconsin started the season off just how everyone expected, winning their first 7 games, and 12 of their first 13 games to start the 2014 season in great shape. The Badgers played 5 straight games against NCAA Tournament teams, winning the first four of those against Boise State, UAB, Georgetown, and Oklahoma before losing in the ACC Big Ten challenge at home against the South Region's number 1 seed Duke. (80-70)
Bo Ryan was able to lead his Badgers to win the Big Ten regular season title after finishing the season with a 16-2 record. Behind the play of conference player of the year Frank Kaminsky (18.2 ppg) the Badgers were able to prove that last season was no fluke and that they were a team to be reckon with. Bo Ryan was voted by the coaches as the conference's coach of the year, and his coaching knowledge and ability to get the Wisconsin players to buy into a system that leads the nation in fewest turnovers and fouls, is the reason way Wisconsin found their self a top of the conference.
Wisconsin's conference season wins against Tourney Teams:
- Purdue 62-55
- 25. Iowa 82-50
- At Iowa 74-63
- Indiana 92-78
- Michigan State 68-61
- At Ohio State 72-48
Wisconsin's conference season losses:
- At Rutgers 67-62 *Kaminsky sat out with concussion, Jackson injured during first half.
- At Maryland 59-53
The Badgers earned the number 1 seed and a double bye in the Big Ten conference tournament after dominating the conference throughout the regular season. Wisconsin played Michigan a tough battle in which they were able to pull away at the end and win by 11. In the Semifinal match up against Purdue, the Badgers trailed at halftime by 5 but outscored the Boilermakers 41-16 in the second half as they went on to win 71-51. In Sunday's championship action, Bucky the Badger was able to rally from a 11 point deficit in the final 8 minutes, to force the game into overtime, where they went on to shutout Michigan State 11-0 and win the Big Ten Conference Tournament 80-69.
Bo Ryan's team earned the final number 1 seed in this year's national tournament after winning the conference regular and postseason. The Badgers landed the number 1 seed out in the West Region and will face Coastal Carolina the champions out of the Big South conference. Wisconsin earning their way to the top line in seeding, means the Badgers can avoid playing against Kentucky until a possible Final four rematch up. Wisconsin is 13-2 on the year against teams who have made this year's tournament, their goal is to finish 19-2.