Marquette, Wisconsin, on track for NCAA tournament
In my world, the month of February can't get over soon enough. The weather is bad, the sun often hides, and there is a bit of a lull in sports. February is the month of anticipation.
I anticipate that both Marquette and Wisconsin will be NCAA tournament teams come March. For power conference teams to be a virtual lock for the tournament, achieving 20 wins is a great start - and both Marquette and Wisconsin are on pace to reach that total.
The Golden Eagles (16-5, 7-2) are currently tied with Syracuse atop the Big East with nine games to play in the regular season. Four of the Golden Eagles final nine games will be against teams currently ranked in the top 25.
The Badgers (16-7, 7-3) are in a three-way tie for second in the Big Ten and one game back of the top spot. On the horizon, however, is a three game gauntlet against the likes of Michigan, Minnesota, and Ohio State.
Another key criteria for a team's resume is "signature wins". Wisconsin's signature win came over then top ranked Indiana in Bloomington. In addition, the Badgers have quality wins over two other ranked opponents - Illinois and Minnesota.
Marquette has only played three games against teams ranked in the top 25 (at the time they played) and they are 1-2 in those games. Perhaps their best win came against then 15th ranked Georgetown - but consider this - four of the Golden Eagles final nine games will be against teams currently ranked in the top 25. They have a great opportunity to raise their profile and earn a double-bye in the Big East tournament.
If you are in to the whole "bracketology" thing (and I certainly am), you may have noticed that Joe Lunardi currently lists Marquette as a 5 seed, and the Badgers an 8 seed. There is a long way to go, a lot of shuffling to be expected and the all-important conference tournaments will complete the story.
CLICK HERE to see the full bracketology bracket as of February 8.