Their performance in a Sweet 16 showdown against the streaking Baylor Bears was simply dominating, yet no one is talking about the Wisconsin Badgers. Actually, no one has really paid the Big 10 powerhouse any attention in the 2014 NCAA Tournament despite the Badgers rolling to three straight wins and entering the Elite Eight. But while the world continues to hype Dayton, the real Cinderella of this year’s tournament, Wisconsin is steadily flying under the radar as a true dark horse title contender.
In reality, Wisconsin is a legit title contender; the Badgers aren’t really sleepers. However, they’re being treated as such and they really don’t matter.
Unlike many teams in the tournament with NBA-caliber superstars that have already been ousted, Wisconsin has players who are ready for the next level, but don’t get the same hype as their eliminated counterparts because they play for a team that doesn’t revolve around them. That’s more of a mental statement for teams like Wisconsin, but it’s also a reason why the Badgers are still dancing and squads like Kansas with Andrew Wiggins and Duke with Jabari Parker are not.
With talented, ego-less stars like sophomore Sam Dekker and other fundamentally-sound, underrated players like Frank Kaminsky and Ben Brust, Wisconsin could roll into the Final Four and possibly beyond with still no recognition until the Badgers are cutting down the nets.
The other difference is players like Kaminsky and Brust are upperclassmen and those types of players are a rarity these days, yet the teams with solid leadership from these older, more experienced players are typically the ones still playing in late March. As Baylor found out the hard way, Wisconsin and its incredible all-around team play is indeed a threat to win it all, and that’s something the rest of the college basketball world will soon find out.