Wisconsin basketball was riding high entering the month of February. Greg Gard’s team was 16-4 overall and 8-1 in Big Ten play. It was in first place in the conference standings. It had won nine of its last 10, and it was ranked sixth in the AP Poll.
Then came a forgettable stretch of basketball. The Badgers blew a 19-point lead on the road at Nebraska, lost a tight one to No. 2 Purdue and then lost on the road to Michigan, the worst team in the conference.
So, just seven days into February, the Badgers have lost three pivotal Big Ten games, fallen to a distant third place in the conference standings, dropped from a 2-seed in projected brackets to a low 3-seed and dropped from No. 6 in the AP Poll to No. 11 (and will drop further when next week’s edition drops).
It initially looked like Wisconsin’s season-ending game at Purdue might decide the Big Ten Conference race. Now, it feels like those stakes would be a massive surprise.
One week ago, Wisconsin was in position to play its way into the No. 1 seed discussion for the NCAA Tournament.
It has since lost three straight games following tonight's loss at Michigan.
Nope. Just College Basketball.
— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) February 8, 2024
Plus, the team is in real danger of losing a fourth straight in a tough road matchup at Rutgers on Saturday.
This drop from the top of the conference is tough to see, given the promise of this year’s team and how it seemed to be playing its best basketball just over one week ago.
However, the opportunity for a run remains with eight conference games remaining. A Big Ten title may be out of the equation, but the Badgers can still develop momentum entering an NCAA Tournament in which the fan base will demand results.