They say it’s better to be lucky than good. But it’s best to be both.

Wisconsin clinched the Big Ten title Tuesday night because the Badgers are the best team in the Big Ten. But also the luckiest. And when those things are working in tandem, the possibilities are endless.

Luck and skill have been simpatico for the team picked 10th in the Big Ten preseason poll, which is now trending in the direction of a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.

The 2 ridiculous bank shots made by the Badgers in the final 30 seconds of their title-clinching 70-67 win over Purdue were a perfect example of that marriage.

Johnny Davis and Chucky Hepburn wouldn’t make those well-defended shots if they were lousy players. But they also needed at least a wink from Lady Luck in order for them to bank in perfectly off the glass.

Luck isn’t always a 4-letter word

That you can be lucky and good is an important lesson for all fans to consider.

Wisconsin is a truly unbelievable 15-1 in games decided by 6 or fewer points this season. Rather remarkably, that lone loss is to Providence. The Friars were 11-1 in similar games this season before finally picking up their second close loss with a 79-77 defeat at Villanova on Tuesday night.

For detractors of both the Badgers and Friars, those records in close games are viewed as evidence that neither team is as good as they look on paper.

If they were that great, they’d be blowing people out is the thought bubble.

But isn’t winning in crunch time the mark of a great team?

The NCAA tournament is more frequently determined by the close games than the blowouts — cue footage of Gordon Hayward’s half-court heave off the back iron. The Badgers should be precisely the type of team you want to back in March. Nothing fazes them.

But if Wisconsin is called lucky, it also shouldn’t raise the ire of Badger fans. Yes, opposing fans are certainly using it as a pejorative. But it’s factually true, even according to the analytics. rates Wisconsin as the fifth-luckiest team in the country this season. Providence is No. 2. Which makes sense. The Friars got to face Wisconsin in the only game Johnny Davis has missed all season.

If you’re a Wisconsin fan, embrace all this talk of being lucky. Because it means your team is on a hell of a fun ride.

Why the Badgers are a Final Four contender

As mentioned in this space earlier this week, the numbers indicate that there are only 2 teams in the Big Ten with realistic aspirations of reaching the national championship game.

Wisconsin and Illinois.

With the exception of UConn in 2014, every national champ since 2010 has ranked in the top 30 in offensive and defensive efficiency. The Badgers are on the fringes of that at the moment, rating 41st nationally in offensive efficiency and 29th in defensive efficiency. A run through the Big Ten tourney probably gets them to the magic numbers.

And even if Wisconsin doesn’t end up precisely in the top 30, we’ve seen enough to know the Badgers are well-balanced.

Purdue, with its explosive offense and shoddy defense, is not. And that’s why the Boilermakers watched the Badgers carry a 1-game lead into Tuesday night’s game before a pair of most unfortunate breaks did them in.

The pride of Chucky

We all know the adage.

In March, point guard play is paramount.

And importantly, the Badgers have themselves a good one. A young one, to be certain. But he didn’t play that way against Purdue.

With the Boilermakers completely focused on making sure Davis didn’t reprise his 37-point performance in West Lafayette, it was on Chucky Hepburn and the rest of the Badgers to step up.

Hepburn was more than up to the task, finishing with 17 points. He made 4 of 6 3-point attempts, including the stellar step-back bank to win it. The freshman also never turned the ball over.

That’s a continuing theme for Hepburn, who has the fourth-lowest turnover rate among Big Ten point guards. (Iowa’s Jordan Bohannon, Rutgers’ Geo Baker and Northwestern’s Boo Buie are the only point guards who turn it over less frequently. All have started at least 3 years.)

Opposing defenses are going to pull out every trick in the book to stymie Davis in the postseason. But if Hepburn can continue creating his own shot while finding guys like Tyler Wahl and Brad Davison, Wisconsin can survive.

The Badgers are good enough to go a long way this March. And thanks to their likely seed, they’ll probably be playing the first 2 rounds in Milwaukee.

Because March is no time to stop being lucky.