UW earns highest seed in program’s history

first_imgJEFF SCHORFHEIDE/Herald photoCHICAGO — Things didn’t turn out all that bad for the Badgers after all.Following a bitter loss to Ohio State in the Big Ten tournament title, Wisconsin found out that they had earned a No. 2 seed — the highest ever for a UW team — in the Midwest regional. The Badgers get a first-round matchup with 15-seeded Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, winners of the Southland Conference tournament. What the Badgers might’ve lost in seeding Sunday was made up for in location, as the team will return back to the United Center next Friday and, should they make the Sweet 16, will be in the closest regional site, St. Louis.”What better situation could you ask for if you’re not a No. 1 seed,” said forward Alando Tucker. “We can’t be happier. … We’re excited that we are still in the Midwest. We’re back in the United Center, there was a sigh of relief [when we heard that].” Head coach Bo Ryan appreciated the proximity because of the ease of players’ families of making the trip, as well as the strong UW fan base.”Our people are good fans. They’re very supportive and know how to have a good time and enjoy sports, no matter what sport it is. Our fan base has got to be one of the best in the country. Hopefully, we’ll get some help from them this next weekend.”As for Wisconsin’s opening round opponent, the Islanders won conference regular season and tournament titles going 23-6 overall and 14-2 in league play. TAMCCU, the longest-named school in the tournament, beat Northwestern State 81-78 on Sunday afternoon to punch its ticket to the Big Dance.Though Texas A&M-Corpus Christi is regarded as sizeable underdogs to Wisconsin, that didn’t stop Tucker from being taken aback at first when he heard the matchup.”I heard Texas A&M and then they added on,” Tucker said, referring to the No. 3-seeded Big XII power. “So when I heard Texas A&M I was like, ‘Wow, that’s a tough matchup.'” The relatively unknown Islanders were something of a mystery to the rest of the Badgers, but not for long.”We’re going to know a heck of a lot more in the next 24 hours,” said Ryan. “It’s a good program. They’ve done a great job of getting it done, and in a tournament atmosphere. That’s pretty good stuff. I know they’re excited.”In fact, even the correct pronunciation of the school was something that needs a little practice.”Corpus Crispy, Corpus Christi, I can’t even say it,” Tucker said. “I’m not even going to try and say it anymore.”The Big Ten, tagged all season long as one of the weaker power conferences, earned the second most bids of any conference with six bids, as Ohio State (No. 1 seed), Indiana (7), Michigan State (9), Purdue (9) and Illinois (12) all will join UW in the tournament. “I think it’s phenomenal. I think as you go through a Big Ten season, it’s amazing what it takes to win in this conference,” Ohio State head coach Thad Matta said. “There’s great players, there’s great coaches, and for six of us to be in out of 11, I couldn’t be happier for the league. I think it’s just another statement of why the Big Ten is the Big Ten.” The ACC earned the most berths with seven, followed by the Pac-10, ACC and Big East all also will send six teams, while the SEC will send five and the Big XII four.”I think it’s great. I think it’s great for our conference,” said Ohio State’s Ron Lewis, whose team will be the top-seed in the South region. “It shows that we have a good conference and that we’re still building.” For the Badgers’ part, the announcement of the seeding was of some consolation coming off Wisconsin’s worst defeat of the season. The team expressed a want to hit the floor as soon as possible to wash the bitter tastes from their mouths.”I just want to get back out there and play … so we can get this one behind us and step back out on the hardwood,” sophomore forward Joe Krabbenhoft said. “You’re going to see a toughness you’ve never seen out of us, because we are going to use this as big time motivation to play Wisconsin basketball the way it’s supposed to be played.”Krabbenhoft vowed to erase the memory of Sunday’s contest to all who will watch the Badgers play in the NCAA tournament. “As a team, we’re hungry more than anybody has ever been. To go in there and prove to the world that what they saw today on national TV was not Wisconsin. What Wisconsin is what everybody is going to see in the NCAA tournament,” Krabbenhoft said.”I’m sure whoever we play is going to be a great team, and I’m not trying to give bulletin-board material, but they are going to run.”last_img

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