The Big Ten currently has six teams ranked in the AP Top 25, yet none of them are sitting pretty atop the conference standings as Wisconsin is after upsetting No. 2 Indiana Tuesday night.
With a 4-0 record in the conference, the Badgers are the only team with an unblemished conference record.
It can be argued that Wisconsin has improved since losing to No. 10 Florida and No. 13 Creighton in non-conference play, but wins over No. 12 Illinois and Indiana has the rest of the Big Ten watching their back — especially the Gophers, who will play the Badgers on Jan. 26 in Madison.
This is a Wisconsin team that had a leader in Jordan Taylor a year ago and his absence, along with a season-ending injury to point guard Josh Gasser in October, was supposed to plummet the Badgers into the conference pack along with teams like Northwestern. Yet here they are, three weeks in conference play, boosting the best record in the conference.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves — the Badgers have had a soft schedule to improve, but the next nine games will likely break the Badgers (unless they really surprise us again) as they play seven ranked opponents, including twice against the Gophers and No. 11 Ohio State. The only non-ranked team they will play is Iowa, which they will play twice by mid-February.
With seven teams projected to participate in March Madness from the Big Ten, Wisconsin is currently one of those seven teams.