WISCONSIN BADGERS BASKETBALL PREVIEW
November 5, 2013INDIANA SPORTS PAGE
by DEREK BLANK (RADIOTROY.COM SPORTS)
2012-2013 record: 23-12, 12-6
2012-2013 postseason: NCAA
Coach: Bo Ryan
Coach Record: 291-113 at Wisconsin, 674-216 overall
Projected Starting Five: Traevon Jackson, Junior, Guard, 6.9 points per game Ben Brust, Senior, Guard, 11.1 points per game Josh Gasser, Senior, Guard, 7.6 points per game (2011-2012) Sam Dekker, Sophomore, Forward, 9.6 points per game Frank Kaminsky, Junior, Forward-Center, 4.2 points per game
By the numbers: Scoring Offense: 65.0 (233th in nation, 9th in conference) Scoring Defense: 55.9 (7, 1) Field-Goal Percentage: 42.0 (239, 7) Field-Goal Defense: 39.4 (33, 4) Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.4 (57, 4) Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 33.0 (212, 6) Free-Throw Percentage: 63.4 (321, 12) Rebound Margin: 3.5 (69, 6) Assists Per Game: 13.3 (132, 8) Turnovers Per Game: 9.8 (4, 2)
Coach Bo Ryan’s tenure at Wisconsin has been nothing short of impressive. In his twelve years as the Badgers head coach, Ryan has never failed to reach the national tournament and hasn’t finished worse than fourth in the Big Ten. Ryan has compiled a 291-113 record at Wisconsin, and has done it with his high expectations for each of his players.
“No one could ever perform what I hope,” says Ryan. “If you’re hoping too low, then you’re not doing a player justice. I’ve never had a player reach the level of hope that I’ve had for him.”
The Badger’s secret is playing strong defense while being consistent on offense. The Badgers have never been the flashiest teams on offense in the past years; however, Ryan always seems to find players that fit his system well. While recruiting big men that can shoot from beyond the arc and spread the floor (as he did this year as well), his team also defends the three well, forcing opponents to a 28.9 3-point shooting percentage, leading the Big Ten and eighth in the nation. With the best defense in the Big Ten and seventh in the nation, the Badger’s offense just had to be consistent enough to win a high amount of games, which they did last season (23-12 record). Although scoring just 65 points per game, they also turned the ball over only 9.8 times a game, ranking only behind Michigan in the Big Ten.
The Badgers have lost some key components to last year’s success, including starters Jared Berggen, Ryan Evans, and Mike Brusewitz to graduation. The Badgers will have to replace three starters in last season’s frontcourt. Expected to take the center role will be Junior Frank Kaminsky, who fits the mold of the Wisconsin big man with the ability to shoot from the 3-point land and plays solid defense. Sam Dekker, one of only four true freshmen to start under Ryan, will be expected to step up this year if Wisconsin wishes to continue its success. Incoming freshmen Nigel Hayes and Vitto Brown are expected to fight each other for the remaining role at the 4 spot. While Hayes has a developed body and a strong perimeter game, Brown is a great post performer, and also shot well from beyond the arc in high school.
The Badgers will gain junior point guard Josh Gasser this year, who suffered a knee injury in October that sidelined him the whole season. Returning point guards Traevon Jackson and George Marshall and highly coveted recruit Bronson Koenig will all battle for the starting point guard role. Senior Ben Brust looks to improve again this year, as his numbers last year showed great improvements from the previous season. Brust led the team in scoring last year, and expects to do so again this year with his lethal three point shooting ability.
The Badger’s game plan looks to be the same as it has been in previous years: play strong defense and spread the ball around on offense. Expectations look high for the Ryan and the Badgers. Receiving a top 25 ranking in the preseason AP poll, the Badgers will be expected to deliver strong results as they have in the past, and pose as a struggle for the other elite teams in the Big Ten.