Wisconsin Men's Basketball 2016 NCAA Tournament Capsule

Wisconsin Badgers
Big Ten (20-12, 12-6)
Coming off of one of the most successful seasons in Wisconsin basketball history, managing expectations was of the utmost importance in Madison. The only returning contributors of note were Bronson Koenig and Nigel Hayes. With so much offense gone from last year’s team, the Badgers started off slow. Throw in an abrupt mid-season retirement from legendary coach Bo Ryan and Wisconsin has had quite a unique season. Greg Gard, current interim and now head coaching replacement, has done his best with what he has. He seemed to settle in a quarter of the way through Big Ten play when the Badgers leveled off after a 1-4 start. Considering everything the team has had to go through, a postseason bid of any type is great for the Badgers.
Big Wins: 1/17 Michigan State (77-76), 2/13 at Maryland (70-57), 2/24 at Iowa (67-59)
Bad Losses: 11/13 Western Illinois (67-69), 11/20 vs Georgetown (61-71), 12/9 Milwaukee (67-68)
Coach: Greg Gard
Why They Can Surprise:
When it comes down to it, this team is still experienced in postseason play despite all the new faces with significant playing time. They made the NCAA tournament 16 consecutive years from 1999-2015. They know what it takes to win in a tournament format. Hayes, Wisconsin’s best player, can really take a game over if he is at his best. He and Koenig can lead this team down the stretch of close games. Hayes is a smart player and he has gotten to the line more than anyone in the Big Ten this season. Gard, who coached alongside Bo Ryan for 23 years, is simply an extension of Ryan moving forward. Therefore, pacing will be key. Wisconsin historically tries to slow the game down to a crawl more than just about any team in the country. A half-court game with smart shooting and high execution could advance Wisconsin in a one-and-done scenario. It is difficult to play against for teams that are not used to it and relying on what works is the best way for Wisconsin to move forward.
Why They Can Disappoint:
This simply comes down to a talent drain. Wisconsin lost so much talent after last season that it would be impossible for them to match win totals from the last two seasons. One of the most decorated players in Wisconsin history, Frank Kaminsky, moved on to the NBA after finishing as the third leading scorer in the Big Ten last season. Sam Dekker, an elite three-point shooter, also was drafted into the league. The loss of Traevon Jackson to assist Koenig at point guard and Josh Gasser, another steady hand in the backcourt, removes a significant chunk of scoring from Wisconsin’s lineup. This is the way it goes in college basketball during certain years, but Wisconsin has a long history of winning with their system. If they do not make it far in a tournament, it is simply because they do not have the horses to compete with better teams.
Probable Starters:
Bronson Koenig, Junior, Guard, 13.4 ppg, 2.5 apg
Zak Showalter, Junior, Guard, 7.6 ppg, 2.2 apg, 3.9 rpg
Nigel Hayes, Junior, Forward, 16.3 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 3.0 apg
Ethan Happ, Freshman, Forward, 12.1 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 1.8 spg
Vitto Brown, Junior, Forward, 9.7 ppg, 5.2 rpg
Key Roleplayers:
Charlie Thomas, Freshman, Forward, 2.5 ppg, 2.0 rpg
Jordan Hill, Sophomore, Guard, 3.1 ppg
Khalil Iverson, Freshman, Forward, 2.7 ppg, 1.9 rpg
Alex Illikainen, Freshman, Forward, 2.3 ppg, 1.5 rpg
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 69.2 (260th in nation, 11th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 64.4 (25, 2)
Field-Goal Percentage: 43.4 (207, 10)
Field-Goal Defense: 42.8 (138, 8)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.7 (204, 9)   
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 36.3 (97, 7)
Free-Throw Percentage: 70.6 (141, 10)
Rebound Margin:  3,4 (71, 5)
Assists Per Game:  11.7 (282, 11)
Turnovers Per Game:  10.9 (31, 5)
Recent Postseason Appearances:
2015    NCAA Second Round win over Coastal Carolina
2015    NCAA Third Round win over Oregon
2015    NCAA Regional Semifinal win over north Carolina
2015    NCAA Regional Final win over Arizona
2015    NCAA National Semifinal win over Kentucky
2015    NCAA National Final loss to Duke
2014    NCAA Second Round win over American
2014    NCAA Third Round win over Oregon
2014    NCAA Regional Semifinal win over Baylor
2014    NCAA Regional Final win over Arizona
2014    NCAA National Semifinal loss to Kentucky
2013    NCAA Second Round loss to Mississippi
2012    NCAA Second Round win over Montana
2012    NCAA Third Round win over Vanderbilt
2012    NCAA Regional Semifinal loss t Syracuse
2011    NCAA Round of 64 win over Belmont
2011    NCAA Round of 32 win over Kansas State
2011    NCAA Regional Semifinal loss to Butler
2010    NCAA Round of 64 win over Wofford
2010    NCAA Round of 32 loss to Cornell
2009    NCAA Round of 64 win over Florida State
2009    NCAA Round of 32 loss to Xavier
2008    NCAA Round of 64 win over Cal State Fullerton
2008    NCAA Round of 32 win over Kansas State
2008    NCAA Regional Semifinal loss to Davidson
2007    NCAA Round of 64 win over Texas A&M Corpus Christi
2007    NCAA Round of 32 loss to UNLV
*all team stats through 3/6