UW Health Sports Medicine 

Balanced success

With "March Madness" in full bloom, I thought it would be appropriate to see how the UW athletic department stacks up with other schools around the country in terms of regular-season success.

B_Smith.jpgThere are currently 35 schools that compete at the Division I level in men's basketball, women's basketball and men's hockey. Among those schools are Big Ten members Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State as well as "big-names" such as Notre Dame, Connecticut and Boston College.

Out of those 35 schools, only two qualified teams for the NCAA tournament in all three sports. One, obviously, is the Badgers or I probably wouldn't be writing this. The other is Vermont who, coincidently, was paired up against UW in the first round of both the women's basketball and men's hockey tournaments (the Badger men's hockey team will look for revenge for the loss Vermont hung on the women's hoops team).

It is just the second time in school history all three Badger teams advanced to the NCAA tournament. The only other time was in 2001 when UW was a No. 6 seed in men's basketball, a No. 7 seed in women's basketball and a No. 4 seed in men's hockey. This year, men's hoops was a No. 4 seed, women's hoops a No. 7 and men's hockey a No. 1.
There were 24 schools that received bids to both the men's and women's NCAA basketball tournaments. Of those schools, only Texas, Ohio State, Georgia Tech and Wisconsin also won at least 10 games during the 2009 football season.

CollegeFootballNews.com recently released its 2010 Hoops & Helmets rankings (taking into account success in both football and men's basketball). The site has Wisconsin ranked fourth, behind only Ohio State, Texas and West Virginia.

Clay_Bucky.jpg"Over the past few years, the Badgers have become a fixture in this debate consistently producing quality in both sports," the site says. "The big story in 2009-10 has been the play of Bo Ryan's basketball team, which navigated an injury to F Jon Leuer to remain one of the Big Ten's most formidable squads. Ranked for much of the season, Wisconsin carries a solid 23-8 record and a No. 4 seed into the NCAA Tournament. Bret Bielema's football team, too, began the regular season unranked, yet finished it deep inside the Top 25. Although back-to-back losses to Ohio State and Iowa ended dreams of the Rose Bowl, the Badgers regrouped to win 10 games, capped by a mild upset of Miami in the Champs Sports Bowl."

Add to all that, a tremendous performance by the UW wrestling team, which finished fourth at the NCAA Championships last weekend. That performance, tied for the best by the Badgers in school history, included an individual NCAA title for sophomore Andrew Howe, who became just the fourth Wisconsin wrestler to go through a season undefeated. To top that off, head coach Barry Davis was named Coach of the Year by the National Wrestling Coaches Association.

Not a bad time to be a Badger fan!