Badgers’ ranking needs proving

first_imgIt seems like every year the rankings in both football andmen?s basketball are always questioned ?though probably more in football sincefinal rankings have BCS implication.This year hasn?t been different.During the football season we debated for almost two monthson whether or not LSU and Ohio State were the top two teams in the country.Most people also thought that when the Wisconsin football team peaked at No. 5in the rankings, that it wasn?t the fifth-best team in the country, which theyproved by losing the next two games to Illinois and Penn State.The basketball team?s ranking has been debated all seasonlong too.After picking up two wins last week at Indiana and homeagainst Minnesota, the Badgers find themselves back in the top ten of thecoaches? poll and projected as a four seed in the latest edition of JoeLunardi?s ?Bracketology.?Despite the fact that the Badgers have exceeded most fansexpectations ? including mine ? almost anyone I have talked to about the teamthis year seems to agree on one thing: They are not sure Wisconsin is a top 10team.While I said in an earlier column that this is Bo Ryan?sbest coaching job ? and I still believe that ? I?m also not sure if UW isreally the 10th-best team in the country.Their win against Indiana was a huge statement for this team,considering that playing in Bloomington has given UW fits over the years. Thisyear?s team was also facing a much tougher IU team than the one they faced lastyear when the Badgers were ranked No. 2 in the country and lost.The win also gave Wisconsin something no other team in thecountry can claim: two road wins against top 15 teams.So UW?s win against the Hoosiers has put the Badgers back inthe top 10, but Wisconsin?s next three games will really prove if it is worthyof its ranking.While at Illinois this year might not seem like a dauntingtask considering the Illini?s 3-10 conference record, playing in Champaign hasnever been easy for the Badgers. Wisconsin is 18-66 all-time at Illinois, andits win last year was UW?s first in Assembly Hall since 1997. Add to the factthat Bruce Weber?s club played the Badgers tough in Madison in January, andthis game will not be a cakewalk for Wisconsin.Playing at Ohio State is another tough venue for UW, whereit is 20-51 all time. Yes, the Buckeyes are not as good as they were last yearwhen the Badgers lost by a point in the first ever No. 1 vs. No. 1 matchup(Wisconsin was No. 1 in the AP, and Ohio State was No. 1 in the coaches).However, the Buckeyes are trying to make their case for the NCAA tournament,and winning over a top ten team like Wisconsin would be a good signature win totake to the selection committee.Then there is Michigan State.This will most likely be the toughest game out of the three.Even though Ryan has been almost unbeatable at the Kohl Center in Big Ten playsince coming to Wisconsin, the loss to Purdue showed that a game in Madison isnot a for sure win. The one thing UW has going for them is it has not lost toMSU at home since Ryan has been the head coach.Should Wisconsin be 24-4 and 14-2 in the Big Ten on Feb. 29,?UW will have proven ? at least tome ? that they are really one of the best teams in the country. However, shouldthey falter once, it will show that, while the Badgers are a good team thisyear, they are not ready to be talked about as one of the upper echelon teams.So the question to ask until then is: Are the Badgersdeserving of their top 10 ranking? Maybe.But only time will tell.?Greg is a senior majoring is communication arts. Let himknow where you think the Badgers should be ranked at [email protected]?last_img

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