MADISON, WI - NOVEMBER 25: Khalil Iverson #21 of the Wisconsin Badgers drives to the hoop for two points during the first half against the Prairie View Panthers at Kohl Center on November 25, 2015 in Madison, Wisconsin. (Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)  *** Local Caption *** Khalil Iverson

Badgers get No. 7 seed, face Pitt in NCAA tournament opener

In what was perhaps the most improbable run to the NCAA tournament in school history, a once-dead Wisconsin Badgers program is officially going dancing for the 18th straight season. On Sunday, the NCAA tournament selection committee announced the Badgers as the No. 7 seed in the East regional.

UW will face a matchup with No. 10 Pittsburgh Panthers in St. Louis, Mo. on Friday, March 18.

A win in that one would likely mean a date with the No. 2-seed Xavier Musketeers out of the Big East.

The Badgers earned their way in to the NCAA tournament by winning 11 of their last 14 games, all of that after going 1-4 to start conference play and seeing the overall record dip to 9-9. Instead of falling apart, UW regrouped and ended the regular season at 12-6 in Big Ten play and tied for third in the conference standings.

Just how improbable was UW’s run to the tournament? Before its 11-2 finish to Big Ten play, Wisconsin had four losses to teams outside of the top 100 in the RPI. However, the Badgers finished with a 6-2 record against the top 100 RPI during the final 13 games of the regular season.

Wisconsin and Pitt are familiar foes, with this being their 19th meeting and the first in the NCAA tournament since 2004. That ended badly for the Badgers, as they were downed by Pitt 59-55 in Milwaukee. However, these two teams haven’t met in a decade, with the last meeting being an 89-75 Badgers victory over then-No. 2 Pitt in 2006.

The Big Ten put six other teams in the tournament for 2016 (Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State and Purdue), with Michigan State earning a No. 2 seed and Michigan facing a play-in game against Tulsa.

Andrew Coppens

About Andrew Coppens

Andy is a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA). He is the Managing Editor of MadTownBadger and associate editor of Bloguin's World Cup site, as well as Publisher of Big Ten site