Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Badgers in Big Ten mix

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This is
where they wanted to be.

win over Illinois Wednesday night vaulted the Badgers back into a tie with
Purdue atop the conference standings, which places them one half-game ahead of

With just
four games left in the regular season, the Badgers control their own destiny in
the race for the Big Ten championship. Four more wins, and UW (22-4, 12-2 Big
Ten) will lay claim to its first regular season conference title since 2003.

we would like to get a piece of the conference championship,” Wisconsin
head coach Bo Ryan said. “We’ve said that since the first day we were on
the job. Compete for it, and let’s see what happens.”


appears likely to happen is a dramatic final two weeks of the regular season,
with Wisconsin, Purdue and Indiana all looking to avoid a costly loss and earn
a share of the Big Ten hardware.

college basketball fans. We know what’s going on in the Big Ten right
now,” forward Joe Krabbenhoft said. “We know we’re in a good position
to have some fun here at the end of the year.”

As all
three teams currently have two league losses, a split championship is well
within the realm of possibilities.

matters more tricky is that each team has swept another this season, meaning
there is no easy tiebreaker to determine seeding for the Big Ten tournament in
the event of a three-way tie.

If that
were to be the case, Purdue would earn the No. 1 overall seed in the conference
tournament, thanks to holding the best record against the other two teams
combined (2-1). Wisconsin would take the second seed with a 2-2 mark, and
Indiana would be ranked third.

tiebreakers are only used to determine seeds for the Big Ten tournament,
however. According to league rules, all teams tied for first place at the end
of the season will earn a share of the conference title, including a conference
championship trophy and rings.

And while
that may end up happening, after having played all three teams twice, Illinois
head coach Bruce Weber thinks Wisconsin and Purdue have separated themselves
from Indiana.

me it seems ? Wisconsin and Purdue are the two best teams,” Illinois head
coach Bruce Weber said. “Obviously Indiana has something to say about
that, but we’ve been able to play Indiana much closer.”

Ryan and
the Badgers are no strangers to tight races for the Big Ten title or shared
conference championships.

In 2002 ?
Ryan’s first year as head coach at UW ? the Badgers shared the conference crown
with Indiana and Illinois with an 11-5 conference record after surprising just
about everyone by winning their final six games of the season.

One year
ago in a battle of the nation’s top two teams, Wisconsin saw its Big Ten
championship hopes dashed in the Value City Arena as Ohio State clinched the
title on a Mike Conley Jr. floater in the lane with 3.9 seconds left in the

To keep
themselves at the top of the standings, the Badgers will need to avoid a
similar fate this Sunday against the Buckeyes.

Ohio State
(17-9, 8-5) will be looking for another signature win to secure its place as an
at-large selection to the NCAA tournament field and is not likely to simply
roll over for Wisconsin.

the Big Ten; it’s a pretty good league,” Ryan said. “There are some
teams that are trying to make some things happen.”

OSU big
man Kosta Koufos (13.8 points, 7.0 rebounds) has matured as his freshman season
has gone on and will need to be checked by the Badgers? interior defense.

The only
other Buckeye averaging double-digits in scoring is guard Jamar Butler. The
offense flows around Butler, a senior, who leads OSU in scoring with a 14.2
points-per-game average and leads the Big Ten in assists with nearly seven a

The game,
which can be seen at 3 p.m. on CBS, is the only regular season meeting between
the two teams.


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