#15 Wisconsin Badgers: College Basketball 111 in 111


badgers cheerleaders

Welcome to The Sports Bank’s second annual college basketball season preview series.  Last year we looked at 99 teams in 99 days.  This year, we are being slightly more aggressive and expanding to 111 teams in 111 days.  We will rank the 74 power conference teams and top 37 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order.  We’ll break down rosters, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.

Underestimating Bo Ryan’s ability to coach up his guys is like saying Minka Kelly is ugly; it’s just downright idiotic.  Regardless of who is gone or who is returning, Ryan always has the Wisconsin Badgers competing for a Big Ten title and a threat to make the Sweet 16.  This year will be no different as UW boasts the best point guard in the country; Jordan Taylor.  (Yeah, I said it.)

Last Season: 3rd, 13-5 in Big 10, 25-9 overall
Predicted Big Ten Finish: 2nd

Projected Depth Chart
C: Jared Berggren (Jr)/Evan Anderson (So)/Frank Kaminsky (Fr)
PF: Ryan Evans (Jr)/Jared Uthoff (Fr)
SF: Mike Bruesewitz (Jr)/Duje Dukan (So)
SG: Josh Gasser (So)/Rob Wilson (Sr)/Traevon Jackson (Fr)
PG: Jordan Taylor (Sr)/Ben Brust (So)/George Marshall (Fr)

Gone: PF-Jon Leuer, C-Keaton Nankivil, G/F-Tim Jarmusz, SG-Brett Valentyn, PG-Wquinton Smith, C-J.P. Gavinski

jordan taylor badgers

2011-2012 Outlook:
Simply put; Taylor was awesome last season earning Second Team All-American honors.  He had an insane assist-to-turnover ratio of almost 4-1 and made countless plays as the shot clock was winding down which is an integral part of being the lead guard in Ryan’s offense.  Even more will be needed from Taylor for Wisconsin to reach their potential, but Ryan joked at the team’s media day, “I just hope he doesn’t think he has to score 40 a game this year.”

Taylor’s backcourt mate, Josh Gasser also returns.  Gasser had an extremely productive freshman campaign, contributing in all areas of the game.  His hard nosed play fits in well at Wisconsin but he will have to pick up his scoring this season to offset the loss of three starters.

Ben Brust and Rob Wilson will be the key backcourt reserves.  Brust didn’t play much last season but should chip in with his defense and ability to shoot the ball.  He will also run the point when Taylor needs a blow.  Wilson has suffered through a frustrating collegiate career in Madison and has been unable to find his niche with the team.  He is a capable scorer but nagging injuries and the fact that he is a liability on D’ has kept him off the floor.

Ryan hinted at using a smaller line-up at times this season which could mean Brust or Wilson on the floor at the same time as Taylor and Gasser.  Freshmen George Marshall and Traevon Jackson, the son of Ohio State great Jim Jackson, will likely have to wait their turn and ride the pine this season.

mike bruesewitz badgersWisconsin has to replace their starting frontcourt of Jon Leuer, Keaton Nankivil, and Tim Jarmusz who are all currently playing professionally in Germany.  Mike Bruesewitz was a key reserve last season bringing a ton of energy off the bench but will see a much bigger role.  He must be more consistent and assertive as a complimentary scorer while also showing added aggressiveness on the glass.

Ryan Evans is the early favorite to start at forward alongside Bruiser.  Evans is extremely athletic and at his best when running the floor, which is something Wisconsin does very rarely.  His versatility is an asset on the defensive end but he is not a polish offensive player, lacking consistency with his jump shot and the low post game to score on the block.

Keep an eye on freshman forward Jared Uthoff.  Ryan doesn’t usually praise his newcomers in the pre-season but uncharacteristically had this to say about Uthoff, “He’s going to play and he’s going to play early.  Better than expected.”  I would not be surprised to see Uthoff in the starting line-up by the time Big Ten play starts.  Seldom used Duje Dukan could also factor into the rotation if Ryan chooses to use a deeper bench.

Jared Berggren is the next line of Badger big men who can score in the paint but also has range out to the three-point line.  The 6-10 redshirt junior is finally healthy after battling a shoulder injury and has been working on his lateral quickness so he can improve as a defender.  Berggren is actually a better back to the basket player than Leuer or Nankivil were so the Badgers should look to feed the post more frequently.

Redshirt freshman Evan Anderson will backup Bergrren in the middle.  At 6-10, 260 pounds, Anderson is a load in the paint but also has a decent mid-range jumper.  He is far from a finished product but gives the Badgers solid size off the bench.  Freshman Frank Kaminsky will likely be the odd man out in the frontcourt.

In his ten years at Wisconsin, the Badgers have never finished lower than fourth place in the Big Ten and made the NCAA Tournament every year under Ryan.  However, the illustrious trip to the Final Four is still missing from Ryan’s prolific resume.  If the new frontcourt can figure itself out, Wisconsin will be a threat as always come tourney time.

Player to Watch: Mike Bruesewitz
Don’t look for Bruiser’s red floppy mop this season because the junior is sporting a short buzz cut look.  Lacking a true second scorer, Bruesewitz is the most likely to step into that role.  He came up huge in Wisconsin’s win against then top ranked Ohio State and also put together an impressive performance in the NCAA Tournament.  Bruiser won’t come near the numbers that Leuer posted a year ago, but needs to be a double digit scorer to help take some of the pressure off Taylor.

Key Non-Conference Games:
11/26 vs. BYU/Nevada (Chicago Invitational Challenge)
11/30 at North Carolina (Big Ten/ACC Challenge)
12/3 vs. Marquette
12/10 vs. UNLV
12/13 at UW-Milwaukee

OTHER 111 IN 111’S:
#16 Alabama Crimson Tide
#17 Gonzaga Bulldogs
#18 Marquette Golden Eagles
#19 Texas A&M Aggies
#20 Michigan Wolverines
#21 New Mexico Lobos
#22 Temple Owls
#23 Cincinnati Bearcats
#24 Kansas Jayhawks
#25 UNLV Rebels
#26 Washington Huskies
#27 UCLA Bruins
#28 Butler Bulldogs
#29 Missouri Tigers
#30 Texas Longhorns
#31 Villanova Wildcats
#32 Michigan State Spartans
#33 Florida State Seminoles
#34 Notre Dame Fighting Irish
#35 Harvard Crimson
#36 Illinois Fighting Illini
#37 Oregon Ducks
#38 Wichita State Shockers
#39 Cal Golden Bears
#40 Belmont Bruins
#41 Mississippi State Bulldogs
#42 Saint Mary’s Gaels
#43 Purdue Boilermakers
#44 BYU Cougars
#45 Kansas State Wildcats
#46 West Virginia Mountaineers
#47 Virginia Cavaliers
#48 George Mason Patriots
#49 Old Dominion Monarchs

#50 VCU Rams
#51 Kent State Golden Flashes
#52 Arkansas Razorbacks
#53 St. John’s Red Storm
#54 Northwestern Wildcats
#55 Georgetown Hoyas
#56 Miami Hurricanes
#57 Nevada Wolfpack
#58 Detroit Titans
#59 UCF Knights
#60 Long Beach State 49ers
#61 Virginia Tech Hokies
#62 Clemson Tigers
#63 New Mexico State Aggies
#64 Tennessee Volunteers
#65 Iona Gaels
#66 Murray State Racers
#67 N.C. State Wolfpack
#68 Fairfield Stags
#69 George Washingon Colonials
#70 Indiana State Sycamores
#71 Oklahoma State Cowboys
#72 Indiana Hoosiers
#73 UAB Blazers
#74 Iowa State Cyclones
#75 Creighton Bluejays
#76 USC Trojans
#77 Weber State Wildcats
#78 Maryland Terrapins
#79 Tulsa Golden Hurricane
#80 Minnesota Golden Gophers
#81 Western Michigan Broncos
#82 Dayton Flyers
#83 Stanford Cardinal
#84 Yale Bulldogs

#85 Georgia Bulldogs
#86 Rutgers Scarlet Knights
#87 Richmond Spiders
#88 Ball State Cardinals
#89 Utah State Aggies
#90 Arizona State Sun Devils
#91 Marshall Thundering Herd
#92 Oregon State Beavers
#93 Washington State Cougars
#94 Iowa Hawkeyes
#95 Ole Miss Rebels
#96 Nebraska Cornhuskers
#97 Oklahoma Sooners
#98 South Florida Bulls
#99 LSU Tigers
#100 Colorado Buffaloes
#101 DePaul Blue Demons
#102 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
#103 Wake Forest Demon Deacons
#104 Seton Hall Pirates
#105 Providence Friars
#106 Auburn Tigers
#107 South Carolina Gamecocks
#108 Texas Tech Red Raiders
#109 Penn State Nittany Lions
#110 Boston College Eagles
#111 Utah Utes

David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank.  He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities.  David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu.  He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft on the web.

You can follow him on Twitter at DavidKay_TSB.


Speak Your Mind