2012-2013 Overall Rank: #16
Conference Rank: #5 Big Ten
Wisconsin Team Page
Wisconsin reached the Sweet Sixteen yet again in 2012. It seems like it has been quite some time since the Badgers failed to win a game in the NCAA Tournament. With the return of four starters and the addition of a couple newcomers who are ready to make an impact, there is little reason to believe that this group cannot continue the success. Coach Bo Ryan does not always have a star on his team, but that never has stopped UW from being a tough out.
2011-12 Record: 26-10, 12-6
2011-12 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Bo Ryan
Coach Record: 268-101 at Wisconsin, 651-204 overall
The Badgers have the capability to replace point guard Jordan Taylor. During his senior campaign Taylor led the team with 14.8 points, 4.1 assists and 1.0 steals per game. Finding a leader on the floor may be the toughest aspect to replace. Taylor averaged 36 minutes per game and you can bet most of those four minutes per game were in mop-up duty. That leaves absolutely no experience returning when it comes to running the point. The other loss is Rob Wilson, a 6-4 wing. Wilson was a good shooter, yet was usually the second shooter off of the bench.
The most important newcomer is redshirt freshman George Marshall. Eventually he will replace Taylor at the point, but the question is when will that happen? Marshall can make plays on both ends of the floor and is full of potential. By all accounts he had a good redshirt season, but how well that translates into running the show for real remains to be seen. Marshall may be the most important newcomer, but Sam Dekker is the best. The 6-7 forward finished up his prep career as one of the best high school scorers in Wisconsin history. He is practically a point forward. Dekker can attack the basket with ease and either finish himself or find one of his teammates. His shooting range takes him well outside the three-pointer arc and he will be a great one by the time his days in Madison are over. It is extremely rare under Coach Ryan, but Dekker is one of a few true freshmen who could see major minutes, or even a starting job. Zak Showalter and Air Force transfer Zach Bohannon round out the group of newcomers. Bohannon, a walk-on, should see some quality minutes this year off of the bench.
Who to Watch:
With Dekker and Bohannon in the mix, the UW frontcourt is amazingly deep and talented. Jared Berggren is the traditional big Wisconsin center who can step outside and knock down the long ball. Berggren connected on 37.2 percent of his attempts from long range and averaged 10.5 points and 4.9 rebounds. He has been steadily improving during his time at Wisconsin and that will not stop now. Defensively, Berggren does a great job blocking and altering shots. The Badgers sometimes lack a major shot blocking threat since their big men are more known for shooting, but that is not the case when Berggren is on the floor. Mike Bruesewitz had a tough time shooting the ball as a junior, but the 6-6 senior is a very good rebounder and defender. He can still score and if his shot returns, Bruesewitz will greatly improve on his 5.6 points per game. However, a gash on his right leg will slow his progress early in the year. It is quite likely that Dekker will step into a starting role while Bruesewitz recovers and it is also quite possible that Dekker will not give up that starting spot. Frank Kaminsky will again provide a big body off of the bench. Kaminsky is 6-11, but he can provide an offensive spark with his shooting ability. Ryan Evans looks like a wing, but he is more of a forward offensively than some of his taller teammates. Evans is the team’s leading returning scorer and rebounder. He is not entirely opposed to shooting, but Evans does most of his work in the paint where he uses his 6-6 frame to overpower bigger opponents. Evans’ ability to rebound is extremely important, especially while Bruesewitz is out.
Josh Gasser came to Wisconsin as a point guard, but was moved off the ball. He could move back to the point now. But there are major implications either way. Gasser is a superb shooter and having him off the ball will help the Badgers use Gasser to replace Taylor’s scoring. However, Gasser has yet to prove that he is an assertive scoring option. He only took five shots per game during his sophomore season. If he is going to turn into an aggressive scorer who shoots twice as much as he did last year, UW will really need him off of the ball. But it will be the play of Marshall that determines how much Gasser needs to run the show. Wherever he is playing, Gasser will be the heart and soul of this team. Traevon Jackson will be in the mix at the point as well. The sophomore is not expected to compete with Marshall or Gasser for the starting job, but if he can be a backup for Marshall, Gasser will be able to play the same role he did a year ago…although with more shooting. Ben Brust could earn a starting job this year if Gasser is moved to the point. Brust barely played as a freshman, but had a big sophomore season, averaging 7.3 points per game. Brust is a great shooter and will stretch out defenses with his outside shot. He was a great sixth man last year and, if all goes as planned, will fill that role again in 2012-2013.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
Projected Starting Five:
George Marshall, Freshman, Guard, DNP last season
Josh Gasser, Junior, Guard, 7.6 points per game
Ryan Evans, Senior, Guard, 11.0 points per game
Sam Dekker, Freshman, Forward, DNP last season
Jared Berggren, Senior, Center, 10.5 points per game
Madness 2013 NBA Draft Rankings:
#111 Ryan Evans
#116 Jared Berggren
Madness 2012 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#32 Sam Dekker