The non-conference season has already been packed full of difficult opponents for the No. 9 Wisconsin Badgers, who boast a sparkling 8-0 record that includes victories over the Florida Gators, West Virginia Mountaineers, Saint Louis Billikens, St. John’s Red Storm and UW-Green Bay Phoenix. This week’s pair of games against the Virginia Cavaliers (7-1) and hated rival Marquette Golden Eagles (5-3) do not provide a reprieve. Thankfully for the Badgers players, they will have had a week between games when they take the court in Charlottesville, VA tomorrow night.
Wisconsin has proven to this point that it is able to play multiple styles effectively — fast or slow, inside or outside, physical or finesse — and the Badgers have won at home (4-0), at neutral locations (3-0), and on the road (1-0). The team’s trip to Green Bay a few weeks ago was a smart early-season plan to get them experience playing in a hostile environment, and playing against a quality opponent in the Resch Center made the win that much more valuable. The crowd was involved until the last second, so Bo Ryan got a great read on how his team would react in adverse situations.
If Wisconsin makes it to next Monday with a 10-0 record it deserves to be recognized as one of the top five teams in the nation. Four teams in front of the Badgers have at least one loss, and the quality of wins on Wisconsin’s resume rates favorably against any other team in the nation. It remains to be seen whether the team can sustain its torrid start, but if it continues racking up wins against excellent competition, the Big Ten Conference race could be as exhilarating as last year.