On Selection Sunday, it was learned that Pitt's NCAA Tournament opponent would be the No. 7 seeded Wisconsin Badgers. Like Pitt, the Badgers have seen their share of ups and downs this year.
Wisconsin has their share of quality wins. They defeated NCAA Tournament teams Syracuse and Temple in back-to-back games in the non-conference schedule. They had an impressive win over a ranked Indiana team. And in defeating Michigan State, Maryland, and Iowa, they knocked off three teams that were all ranked in the top ten at the time of the game. They also nearly defeated Maryland and Indiana a second time, too, losing by a combined four points. There's little (okay, no) doubt that the Badgers have more quality wins than Pitt.
With so many big wins, how were the Badgers only a No. 7 seed? Well, they also have had some head-scratchers.
Things got off to an ugly start when they lost their opener to Western Illinois - a team that finished 10-17 on the year. They lost by ten points to a Georgetown team that was terrible this season with a losing record. They lost to Milwaukee, Northwestern, and Marquette - all teams that didn't get into the field. They also lost to a 16-18 Nebraska team in the Big Ten Tournament.
Simply put, the Badgers have been all over the map.
That's not to say that Pitt was without their ups and downs. We all saw the same Panthers team that handed Duke its worst loss of the season and beat Notre Dame fall to NC State, Clemson, Virginia Tech, and Georgia Tech. But overall, Pitt has been a little more predictable and didn't suffer as many bad losses as the Badgers did. The Panthers have generally been a team that will lose to the better ones and beat most of the teams they should.
Where does that place them against Wisconsin? Depends on which Badgers team shows up. If Wisconsin plays at the level they did in their big wins, the Panthers will have a difficult time trying to move on to the next round. But the point here is that the Badgers have been wildly inconsistent this year and that, even as the lower seed, this looks like a game where the Panthers can be competitive.