UW Health Sports Medicine 

Badgers big climbers in latest RPI

Wisconsin's recent surge, which has seen the Badgers win four of their last five matches, not only has put the team in contention for a Big Ten title, but for a spot in the NCAA tournament.

The Badgers climbed 57 spots in the latest edition of the official Ratings Percentage Index, which was released Tuesday by the NCAA. UW now sits 33rd in the RPI, thanks to some marquee wins over the past two weeks.

The Badgers' four wins since Oct. 11 include three over teams that rank among the top 25 in the newest RPI release.

The run began with a 2-1 win over Michigan State, which currently stands at 23rd in the RPI, and continued most recently with a 2-0 victory Sunday against Ohio State, which sits 24th.

UW's signature win to this point, however, came in its 2-1 overtime triumph over Northwestern, which was No. 1 in the RPI at the time and now sits at No. 4.

The Badgers' only loss over that span was to in-state rival Green Bay, which stands 35th in the latest rundown.

Looking at the Badgers' six losses on the year and comparing them against the new RPI numbers shows that UW's "worst" loss came against No. 63 Illinois-Chicago. Three of those defeats came at the hands of teams that rank among the top 11 -- San Diego (5th), Indiana (7th) and San Diego State (11th).

The average RPI position of the opponents that have downed UW this year is 27.2, which helps soften the blow of those six losses.

On the flip side, the Badgers' six wins have come against teams with an average RPI of 68.2, a number dragged down by Marquette (116) and Western Illinois (174).  The three Big Ten teams UW has defeated own an average RPI of 17.0.

What about the teams UW battled to draws? Well, UC Santa Barbara stands 48th, while Virginia Tech is ranked 90th.

With three games left in the season, there is still plenty of ground for the Badgers to gain, beginning with Wednesday's home game against Northern Illinois.

The Huskies are 46th in the new RPI, while Penn State -- the team UW leads by two points in the Big Ten standings and faces in its conference finale Saturday -- stands 16th.

Picking up positive results against those squads, while avoiding a negative result in their season finale with Milwaukee (RPI: 147) will only help improve the Badgers' chances when the time comes to select the 48 teams that will compete in the 2009 NCAA Tournament.