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In a Big Ten Conference experiencing major talent turnover, Wisconsin enters the season as a prohibitive favorite because it packs more experience into its top six than any other program. The returning Badgers were part of coach Bo Ryan's most effective offense since he arrived in Madison, and another year together could see the Badgers once again rub shoulders with the nation's elite.
Sharpshooter Ben Brust will be missed, but it's not like he took UW's entire perimeter game with him. Guards Traevon Jackson and Josh Gasser were just as reliable as Brust from long range, simply not as prolific. Expect Gasser, a career 40 percent shooter, to see a particular uptick in shot attempts.
Then there's the nation's newest college basketball icon, Frank the Tank. Center Frank Kaminsky (pictured) sank nearly 38 percent of his triples as a junior, putting together a season that will position him as an All-American favorite if he can repeat it this year. There may be no more skilled big man in the college game today.
If former blue-chip recruit Sam Dekker can rediscover his three-point stroke, perhaps Brust won't be missed so much at all. Dekker made only seven of 27 triples over UW's final 10 games.
Jackson's four assists per game ranked fifth in the Big Ten. As a senior, expect to see him at his most aggressive, driving the lane with abandon. He sank 87 percent of his foul shots in the NCAA tournament, including nine of 11 against Oregon.
When Kaminsky's taking his sojourns to the arc, sophomore forward Nigel Hayes will be free to hold down the post. Either he or classmate Bronson Koenig will assume the fifth starting spot, depending on what Ryan's looking for from a particular matchup. Koenig broke out in the Final Four against Kentucky, and he'll get a chance to carve out his own share of the shots Brust vacated.
Freshman forward Ethan Happ should see good minutes in relief of...well, nearly anyone. He's played point guard for his AAU team, and he averaged 15 RPG for his high school. He could see time anywhere but center.
The Badgers are still a versatile and potent offensive unit, and we shouldn't be surprised if this group can stitch together another deep tournament run.