Bo Ryan and Coach of the Year, the two never seem to find a way of fitting together. Even though each season Bo Ryan consistently proves to be one of the winningest coaches in college basketball, and arguably does it with the least. More often than not, Ryan and the Badgers begin their seasons with mediocre overall expectations, yet they consistently win.
Bo Ryan has developed a consistent and winning basketball program at The University of Wisconsin, yet he never seems to receive the recognition he deserves. Under Ryan, the Wisconsin Badgers have won two out-right Big Ten Titles, as well as tying for a third. Ryan has displayed his consistency by achieving a .767 career winning percentage. Among coaches with 500 career wins, his percentage ranks second only to North Carolina head coach Roy Williams.
Despite the consistent coaching success, more often than not the Badgers are projected to be mediocre based on their roster. Yet, each season the Badgers exceed these mediocre expectations and are contenders for the Big Ten title. In Big Ten Conference play alone, Bo Ryan has a .707 winning percentage. That ranks first all time among Big Ten coaches with at least five years of experience. This season, analysts across the country had Wisconsin projected to finish somewhere around sixth in the Big Ten standings. Yet, the Badgers were a serious contender throughout the Big Ten season and in the hunt until late. Here's a tip, as long as the Badgers are under the command of head man Bo Ryan, they will always be a legitimate contender, always.
But, how can a team roster that lacks star players and looks mediocre on paper exceed expectations and contend consistently? Coaching. Bo Ryan has built a system at Wisconsin that relies heavily on recruiting players that buy into this system and fit the role. Wisconsin has never been a team known for it's star players. Even with talents like Devin Harris, Alando Tucker, or Brian Butch, the game plan was not about getting them touches. Many times it's the systematic players that often determine how effective Ryan's system will be.
Bo Ryan has created something that favors swinging the ball on offense, limiting turnovers, and playing tough defense. In this system guys not known as star players, like Joe Krabbenhoft, Michael Flowers, or Jordan Taylor, can make all the difference. Bo Ryan teaches more than just how to score the ball or post up on your man down low. Ryan preaches discipline, hard play, and teamwork.
I do feel Bo Ryan would have been a much more discussed Coach of the Year candidate had he won the Big Ten title this season. Bo Ryan could definitely help his argument, as well as mine, by coaching Wisconsin to a Big Ten Tournament title this week. Regardless, here are some thoughts on why Ryan should still be strongly considered:
Why does Bo Ryan deserve strong consideration for Coach of the Year this season?
1) This season will mark the ninth straight time, under Bo Ryan, that the Badgers have punched a ticket for the NCAA Tournament.
2) Ryan has amassed a 101-6 home record in his seven years at Wisconsin. This season was no different as the Badgers went 16-1 in Madison, only losing to Illinois.
3) The Wisconsin Badgers are the only team this season with three wins over top five opponents: Duke, Michigan State, Purdue.
4) The Badgers went 6-3 and continued to stay in the thick of the Big Ten title hunt despite a nine-game absence of impact player Jon Leuer. Accredit this to Bo Ryan's systematic offense and great coaching.