99 in 99: #18 Wisconsin Badgers

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Lesson #1: never, ever under-estimate how good of a coach Bo Ryan is.  Regardless of how many players the Wisconsin Badgers lose in any given season, Ryan always has UW near the top of the Big Ten standings.  Expect more of the same this year.

The Sports Bank’s “99 in 99” ranks the 72 power conference college basketball programs and top 27 mid-majors.  Click here if you missed teams #19-#99.

By: David Kay

Wisconsin Badgers (4th, 13-5 in Big 10, 24-9 overall)

Projected Depth Chart
C: Keaton Nankivil (Sr)/Jared Berggren (So)/Evan Anderson (Fr)/J.P. Gavinski (Sr)
PF: Jon Leuer (Sr)/Mike Bruesewitz (So)
SF: Tim Jarmusz (Sr)/Ryan Evans (So)/Duje Dukan (Fr)
SG: Rob Wilson (Jr)/Ben Brust (Fr)
PG: Jordan Taylor (Jr)/Josh Gasser (Fr)/Wquinton Smith (Sr)

Gone: PG-Trevon Hughes, SG-Jason Bohannon, C-Ian Markholf (quit team)

2010-2011 Outlook:
Since Ryan took over in 2001, the Badgers have never finished worse than fourth in the conference standings and have captured a pair of Big Ten titles.  Still, people underestimate Wisconsin heading into every season.

This year, Ryan must replace his senior backcourt of Jason Bohannon and Trevon Hughes.  Stepping to the forefront will be junior point guard Jordan Taylor who saw time in the starting line-up when Jon Leuer was injured last season.  It should be a seamless transition to Taylor running the show and you could argue that he could be more effective than Hughes.

The rest of the backcourt is a bit of an uncertainty.  Rob Wilson figures to take over at the two for Bohannon.  Wilson has yet to find his niche is Bo’s swing offense but brings added athleticism and is also a solid shooter.

Depth is a bit of an unknown with freshmen Josh Gasser and Ben Brust.  Ryan has said that Gasser does not look like a freshman throughout camp and that Brust is the quickest player he has coached in terms of coming off screens.  They will need to provide some immediate help off the bench and do not be surprised to see walk-on Wquinton Smith get some minutes as well because of his tenacious ability to defend on the ball.

jon leuer wisconsinIt should be no surprise that the Badgers have a bevy of big men who can all shoot the rock.  Leading that group is Leuer who was absolutely raved about during his time working out with the USA Select team this summer.  He suffered a setback last season when he missed nine games due to a wrist injury but Leuer’s versatility makes him a nightmare of a match-up.  At 6-10, he can take slower defenders off the bounce or post up smaller opponents with a variety of moves on the block.  He also has a high release on his jump shot that he can get off at any time.  Leuer is on the verge off a breakout season and my pick to be named Big Ten Player of the Year.

There is plenty of size to go along with Leuer.  Keaton Nankivil will return to the starting line-up but needs to play with more intensity and consistency.  6-10 Jarred Berggeren appears to be healthy after an injury riddled 2009-2010 season and is the team’s best post-up player according to Ryan.  Plus, he can also step out and knock down jump shots.  Mike Brusewitz has a sweet new red, curly fro and brings energy off the bench.  6-10 Freshman Evan Anderson is more physical than Ryan anticipated but could redshirt this season as minutes will be hard to come by up-front.

On the wing, Tim Jarmusz has had a disappointing career at UW but battled injuries a year ago.  He is the consummate role player in that he can defend and knock down open shots but that is about it.  Sophomore Ryan Evans is undoubtedly the team’s best athlete but still developing as a fundamental basketball player.  He can play either the three or the four.

Wisconsin will be in the mix in the Big Ten; it is just the Bo Ryan way.  They have never missed a trip to the NCAA Tournament under Ryan either and that streak will remain in tact.  But in failing to get past the first weekend in four of the past five tourneys, the post-season success is what has somewhat held this program back.

Player to Watch: Jordan Taylor, PG
Taylor was pretty much a starter for the Badgers despite being their sixth man for most of last season as he averaged nearly 30 minutes per game.  I think he will be an up-grade over Hughes as the full-time point guard due to his incredible 3-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio.  Taylor may not be the defender or outside shooter that Hughes was, but makes better decisions with the ball and has a much better shot selection.  His backcourt experience will be crucial for a relatively inexperienced group.

Key Non-Conference Games:
11/20 at UNLV
11/26 vs. Texas A&M/Boston College (Old Spice Classic)
11/28 vs. Temple/California/Notre Dame/Georgia (Old Spice Classic)
12/1 vs. N.C. State (Big Ten/ACC Challenge)
12/11 at Marquette

Other 99 in 99’s:
#19 Purdue
#20 Butler
#21 Virginia Tech
#22 Tennessee
#23 Gonzaga
#24 Texas
#25 San Diego State
#26 Xavier
#27 West Virginia
#28 BYU
#29 Georgia
#30 St. John’s
#31 N.C. State
#32 Florida State
#33 Marquette
#34 Temple
#35 Vanderbilt
#36 Arizona
#37 Murray State
#38 Dayton
#39 Notre Dame
#40 Mississippi State
#41 Utah State
#42 Maryland
#43 Richmond
#44 UNLV
#45 Seton Hall
#46 Wichita State
#47 Washington State
#48 St. Louis
#49 Old Dominion
#50 Minnesota
#51 New Mexico
#52 UConn
#53 Northwestern
#54 UCLA
#55 Southern Mississippi
#56 St. Mary’s
#57 Texas A&M
#58 Louisville
#59 Arizona State
#60 Northern Iowa
#61 Creighton
#62 Clemson
#63 Cincinnati
#64 Texas Tech
#65 Miami, FL
#66 Charlotte
#67 UTEP
#68 Ole Miss
#69 George Mason
#70 Colorado
#71 Weber State
#72 Alabama
#73 Bradley
#74 Central Florida
#75 Wake Forest
#76 Georgia Tech
#77 USC
#78 Oklahoma State
#79 Cal
#80 Oklahoma
#81 Virginia
#82 South Carolina
#83 Indiana
#84 Stanford
#85 Oregon
#86 Penn State
#87 South Florida
#88 Arkansas
#89 Boston College
#90 LSU
#91 Providence
#92 Michigan
#93 Oregon State
#94. Nebraska
#95. Auburn
#96. DePaul
#97. Iowa State
#98. Rutgers
#99. Iowa

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Comments

  1. Nice outlook David, I think the key players to watch are Rob Wilson and Ryan Evans because they both will really need to step up with the departure of Bohannon. Taylor will be great, but he won’t be as prophetic at scoring as Hughes was at times. With the Big Ten projecting to be one of the best conferences in the nation this season, I think the Badgers will struggle to fight near the top, but will surely finish with a NCAA tournament worthy resume. It may be like the season the Badgers barely made it in, even though they thought for sure they were a lock. An injury to Leuer, Nankivil or Taylor would be very bad, but otherwise this team has the upside to be better than they appear on paper. What a shock?

  2. That coach must think he is the emperor or a jedi from Star Wars where he has the force or can shoot lightning out of his hands. lol

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