The Big Ten conference surprised all of college basketball nation last season when they sent seven teams to the NCAA tournament.
They are expecting it this season.
With the return of every player chosen to the All-Conference team last season, the Big Ten will be making a push to battle the ACC for conference supremacy.
Great for the conference. Not so great for the Wisconsin Badgers.
Wisconsin is a perfect eight-for-eight in making the trip to the NCAA Tournament since Bo Ryan became the head coach, and has finished in the top four of the Big Ten each of those seasons.
This year will be the most difficult conference schedule tthe Badgers have played during that period.
Coach: Bo Ryan (ninth season).
Last season's record: 20-13 overall, 10-8 in Big Ten (tied for fourth in league).
Postseason: Lost to Xavier in second round of NCAA Tournament.
Final regular-season RPI: 45th.
Last time didn't make NCAA field: 1998.
Returning starters: 3.
- No., 40 by Rivals
- No. 36 by CollegeHoops.net
- 7th in the Big Ten by Jeff Goodman at Foxsports
- 10-seed by ESPN's Joe Lunardi
The Badgers' basketball team(unlike the football team) has not been maligned for weak non-conference schedule in recent years.
This year is no different.
The Badgers will face off against Arizona in the Maui Invitational right around Thanksgiving, and they will tangle with the Duke Blue Devils on Dec. 2 in Madison.
The conference schedule will include tangles with Michigan State, Michigan, Purdue, Ohio State, and Illinois—any or all of which could be nationally ranked in the Top 25.
Projected Starting Five:
Trevon Hughes, senior, guard, 12.1 points per game
Jason Bohannon, senior, guard, 10.3 points per game
Tim Jarmusz, junior, guard, 3.4 points per game
Keaton Nankivil, junior, forward, 4.5 points per game
Jon Leuer, junior, forward, 8.8 points per game
Guard: Trevon Hughes, Sr., Jason Bohannon, Sr., Ryan Evans*, Fr., Dan Fahey, Fr., Tim Jarmusz*, Jr., Wquinton Smith, Jr., Jordan Taylor, So., Rob Wilson*, So., Brett Valentyn, Jr.
Forward/Center: Jared Berggren, Fr., Mike Bruesewitz, Fr., J.P. Gavinski, Jr., Jon Leuer, Jr., Ian Markolf, So., Keaton Nankivil, Jr.
Wisconsin has consistently "reloaded" under Bo Ryan, from Alando Tucker to Marcus Landry.
This season gives Coach Ryan a chance to once again prove he is one of the best in the nation at getting the best results with the least raw talent.
Senior guards Trevon Hughes and Jason Bohannon each struggled with consistency at some point during the season last year. The two "elder statesmen" will look to be consistent this season, both on the offensive and defensive ends of the court.
The Badgers will need a pair of the bench guards to step up, whether its Jordan Taylor, Rob Wilson, or Tim Jarmusz.
Underneath the basket is the biggest question mark for the Badgers.
Junior Jon Leuer has been criticized at times for being too thin, but came to practice this season after having bulked up to 228 pounds during the offseason.
Coaches and players alike are very excited about the play of freshman center Jared Berggren, and Keaton Nankivil showed flashes of brilliance at times last season before being sidelined by an injury.
If centers Ian Markolf or J.P. Gavinski contribute solid minutes, the Badgers' big man will be a "big" asset to the team.
As mentioned, Ryan always gets the most out of his teams.
The Badgers just don't have the athletes to run the floor consistently, so if anybody gets them into a fast-paced game, they will be hurting.
Bo's recipe for success is predicated on sound fundamentals such as tough defense, solid passes, and limiting turnovers. Expect the Badgers to be very tough to score on defensively, and to take their time moving the ball on offense so as to frustrate defenses.
An 11-7 finish in conference is my prediction, with a surprising run to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tourney, and a 21-9 overall record.
— The Badgers are 29th in Ken Pomeroy's rankings and 42nd in the RPI going into the season.
— Last season's first-round victory over Florida State marked the first time the Badgers have defeated a higher-seeded team in the tournament while coached by Bo Ryan.