As we are now smack in the middle of the Madness, here is a breakdown of everything you need to know about the University of Wisconsin Badgers.
School: University of Wisconsin
Location: Madison, Wisconsin
Colors: Cardinal and White
Mascot: Buckingham U. (Bucky) Badger
Conference: Big Ten
2009 Tournament: Wisconsin was a 12 seed and defeated the 5 seed Florida State before bowing out to Xavier in the second round.
Key Wins/Losses: Wins - Maryland, Duke, Ohio State, Purdue, Michigan State, Marquette
Losses - Minnesota, UWGB, Illinois
The obvious catalyst of the Wisconsin offense is 6'10" forward, Jon Leuer. The Badgers went without Leuer during his recovery from a wrist fracture, and in the nine games he was absent, they were abysmal on the offensive end. Their execution was horrific and they suffered on both ends of the floor during his absence.
Leuer averages 14.8 points and 5.8 rebounds per game, and has the ability to step back from the four position and hit the jumper. He also averages more than a block a game.
For the Badgers to make any kind of run, Leuer will have to continue in his roll as the sprk plug to the Badger's deadly efficient offense.
The Badgers are known for their "boring" style of play, in which they "fundamental" the opponent into submission. And while it is true that the Badgers are not going to run the floor on every possession, they are definitely not the slow Badger teams of the early 2000's.
The Badgers lead the nation with only 9 turnovers per game, and hold their opponents to scoring only 56.2 points per contest.
The Badgers currently rank third behind only Duke and Kansas in Ken Pomeroy's efficiency rankings.
The Badgers are coached by veteran Bo Ryan, who in his ninth year with the Badgers, has taken them to the tournament for the ninth consecutive season.
Ryan leads all active Big Ten coaches in winning percentage and under his leadership, the Badgers have never finished lower than fourth in the Big Ten conference during the regular season.
Ryan's success has been predicated on hard-nosed defense, efficient offense and creating mismatches.
All of the Badger big men can step out and shoot the jumper, while all of the guards are capable of posting up and scoring down low.
The Badgers play a very disciplined, half-court style of offense using a variation of the motion. They are very patient and try to work the ball inside out several times during a possession, waiting for a mismatch or a good shot.
On defense, the Badgers like to force the offense into taking low percentage shots through a scheme that involves very tight man coverage.
The Badgers match up well against teams such as Kentucky, Maryland, VIllanova, teams that like to get out and run. Wisconsin can be very frustrating for teams with this style of play, and their efficient offense and stifling defense often leads to advantages against an up-tempo style of play.
The Badgers' potential second round match-up, Temple are the exact blueprint of a team the Badgers do not want any part of. Temple plays the exact same style as the Badgers, but may have better and bigger athletes to execute the game plan. Look for this match-up to be the one where the Badgers struggle the most and possibly fold,
They get everyone involved. The Badgers have five starters capable of scoring twenty or more points in any given game. If they get everyone riolling, they can be tough to contend with. Also, if the Badgers start shooting the three-ball particularly well, watch out!
Senior guard, Trevon Hughes has the ability to be a game changer. He has a wicked step back jumper and also is capable of driving the lane and finishing. Hughes is the heart and soul of this Badger team, and without him being heavily involved on the offensive end of the court, the Badgers will be struggling.
Badger Sophomore guard, Jordan Taylor has been absolutely great this season distributing the ball. For much of the season, Taylor led the country in assist to turnover ratio, and currently sits among the national top ten in this statistic. He has had two games in which he had seven assists to no turnovers, and has had six games this season in which he has scored 15 or more points.
-The Badgers are not named for the furry critter that burrows beneath the ground, but for miners who were often referred to as "Badgers."
-Coach Bo Ryan is a great dancer, check out his "Soulja Boy" and "Hambone" on Youtube.
-The Badgers have held eleven opponents to their lowest point totals of the season. Here are the victims:
46—IPFW (11/15) 50—N’Western (1/13)
42—Oakland (11/18) 48—Michigan (1/20)
42—Cal Poly (12/16) 60—Purdue (1/28)
43—UIC (12/27) 49—Mich. St. (2/2)
43—Ohio St. (12/31) 44—Michigan (2/6)
54—Mich. St. (1/6)