WASHINGTON — The Wisconsin Badgers’ Bracketville road will start in Buffalo — and it’ll start with a lower seed than almost everyone, including the players themselves, had expected coming into the weekend.
Wisconsin (25-9) found out Sunday that it’ll start its path in the 2017 NCAA Tournament as an 8 seed in the East Region, taking on Virginia Tech (22-10). It’s the program’s 19th straight berth in the Big Dance.
The winner will get the winner of the matchup between No. 1 seed Villanova and the Mount St. Mary’s/New Orleans “First Four” contest.
The Badgers were a 5 seed on the projected bracket posted by Jerry Palm of CBS Sports on Sunday morning. They were a 6 seed in the projection put up by ESPN.com’s Joe Lunardi, originally ticketed for the South Region. The average seed for BracketMatrix.com’s 116 online brackets was a 6.21, the third-best average among Big Ten schools behind Purdue (4.75) and Minnesota (5.71).
Wisconsin went into Sunday’s Big Ten championship game against Michigan with five victories against the RPI top 50 and 13 against the RPI top 100. The Badgers started the day ranked 77th nationally in overall strength of schedule.
It’s the first time the Badgers have recorded at least 25 wins before the NCAA tourney and wound up with a seed worse than 4. Wisconsin picked up an RPI top 75 non-conference road win at Marquette (RPI rank: 60) on Dec. 10, but its overall seeding might have been affected by a November road loss at Creighton (RPI: 26) and a December rout on a neutral court at the hands of North Carolina (RPI: 5).
Wisconsin wrapped up the Big Ten tourney with a 71-56 loss to Michigan Sunday at the Verizon Center.
Check back with Land of 10 for updates on this developing story, including reaction from Badgers players and coach Greg Gard from Washington, D.C.