From No. 40 to the Final Four: Wisconsin a True Cinderella

Jeffrey KleinCorrespondent IMarch 26, 2008

The Sweet 16 is upon us. Let's take a quick look at where these teams sat in the AP Preseason Top 25, released on November 5. Teams in bold are still alive.

(Note: Western Kentucky did not recieve any top 25 votes):


1. North Carolina
2. UCLA
3. Memphis
4. Kansas
5. Georgetown
6. Louisville
7. Tennessee
8. Michigan State
9. Indiana
10. Washington State
11. Marquette
12. Oregon
13. Duke
14. Gonzaga
15. Texas
16. Texas A&M
17. Arizona
18. USC
19. Arkansas
20. Kentucky
21. North Carolina State
22. Pittsburgh
23. Stanford
24. Southern Illinois
25. Kansas State

Other Recieving Votes (high to low): Villanova, Ohio State, Butler, Syracuse, Clemson, Xavier, Connecticut, Davidson, Mississippi State, Florida, West Virginia, Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth, Norte Dame, Wisconsin, etc.
 
If you want a real Cinderalla team, look closely at Bo Ryan's Wisconsin Badgers.

You may question my using of the word "Cinderella" with a team that was given a No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament. How could a team that won the Big Ten regular season and conference tournament be considered a true Cinderalla?

Looking back at the preseason in the first week of November, the Wisconsin Badgers were nowhere to be seen.
 
A year removed from Alando Tucker's greatness and Kammron Taylors ability to effectively run Bo Ryan's swing offense, the Badgers were projected to be in a rebuilding stage, projected to finish in the middle half of the Big Ten conference.

Ranked 40th in the nation, sitting merely at the latter part of the "Other's Recieving Votes Category" in the AP's Poll, the Badgers had no business to think about a trip to San Antonio.
 
They started the season ranked below Davidson, whom they are playing Friday night and below 39 other teams, many of which ended up in the NIT.
 
But now, facing a 10th-seeded Davidson, Michael Flowers and the Wisconsin Badgers have set their sights straight, on going to the Alamo Dome.

Perhaps one of the more unpredicatable teams this year in college basketball, the Badgers will put Bo Ryan's swing offense to the test on Friday night.
 
The big match-up will be the high-flying sophomore from Davidson, Stephen Curry, up against the best lock-down defender in the nation, Michael Flowers. Flowers was not even the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, nor was Bo Ryan the Big Ten Coach of the Year.

The Badgers will set out on Friday night not trying to earn any respect, but trying to play hard-nosed basketball and come out on top Friday night, earning them a trip to the Elite Eight.
 
Saturday, the media will be all over the Badgers and how they won't be able to control the tempo of the Kansas Wildcats, and won't give the Badgers a chance to earn a trip to the Final Four.
 
But just wait. The Badgers defense style of play, and their hard-nosed swing offense will earn them a trip to the Final Four.
 
Therefore, the Wisconsin Badgers will be the only team to start the season unranked and be seen playing in San Antonio.