#15 Wisconsin Men's Basketball Preview

Wisconsin Badgers

Overall Rank: #15
Conference Rank: #2 Big Ten
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2010-11: 25-9, 13-5
2010-11 postseason: NCAA
Coach: Bo Ryan (242-91 at Wisconsin, 625-194 overall)

Coach Bo Ryan has continually exceeded expectations at Wisconsin. If the talent level says the Badgers are a fourth place team in the Big Ten, they will probably finish first or second. For every player that leaves, there is a relatively experienced player ready to come in and fill the void. This is good team with a great floor leader in Jordan Taylor and star power is not something Wisconsin always has. Taylor averaged an impressive 18.1 points, 4.7 assists and 4.1 rebounds during junior season. That is a lot of scoring on a team that that does not put up too many points. Taylor is a quality shooter from everywhere on the floor and will score a ton of points and have the Badgers in just about every game and eyeing a Big Ten title.

Who’s Out:
But there are some holes to fill with this squad. Jon Leuer was a dominating forward who was a perfect fit in the Wisconsin system. He could hit the long ball with consistency and do plenty of work on the glass. Leuer averaged a team high 18.3 points per contest and easily led the team with 7.2 rebounds per game. No other player on the team averaged more than 4.2 rebounds. And the man who averaged 4.2 rebounds is also gone. Keaton Nankivil turned into a great shooter by the end of his collegiate career, knocking down 45.7 percent of his long balls during his senior campaign. Nankivil was not too effective inside the arc for a 6-8, 240 pound senior, but he did do his job on the glass and was tough to defend. The other big loss is Tim Jarmusz. Jarmusz never put up big numbers, but he has always been a good glue guy and defender. Brett Valentyn, Wquinton Smith and J.P. Gavinski are also gone after playing limited minutes last season.

Who’s In:
Coach Ryan never asks much from his freshmen and this year will not be any different. However, the frontcourt has holes to fill and players who can fill them. Evan Anderson is a traditional center by Wisconsin standards. The 6-10, 260 pound redshirt freshman will not do much damage from outside, but he is bruiser who can help out on the glass immediately. Frank Kaminsky is a Badger big man. He has nice range on his shot and, at 6-10, can shoot over just about anybody. Jarrod Uthoff has been a nice surprise in practice so far. Iowa’s reigning Mr. Basketball, Uthoff is a more versatile player who could make a big splash right away if he keeps impressing the coaching staff. The backcourt has a few new weapons as well. George Marshall could see some time running the point behind Taylor and Traevon Jackson and Jordan Smith will look for a few minutes off of the bench.

Who to Watch:
The frontcourt will be far less experienced, but they are pretty talented. Mike Bruesewitz started 13 games last season and the 6-6 forward is a decent rebounder and proved late last season that he can also shoot the long ball with consistency. Bruesewitz will need to develop into the frontcourt’s leader with a lot of younger and less experienced players forced to into playing time. Jared Berggren has waited a couple years for the opportunity to be the Badgers post player. His time has come. Because of the talent in front of him, Berggren lacks experience, but he does not lack talent. He will not hit a ton of three-pointers, but he can shoot. He will need to develop his post moves and work on attacking the glass, but the skills are there for Berggren to have a fine junior campaign. Ryan Evans is an interesting prospect. The 6-6 forward has a nice mid-range game and can do a little bit of everything. He is not much of a shooter, but he can be a lot like Jarmusz, but a better rebounder and potentially a much better scorer.

Final Projection:
Josh Gasser had a great year for a freshman at Wisconsin. He was fourth on the team in scoring and added 3.9 rebounds and 2.2 assists. Gasser is a superb ball handler and that has, and will, make life much easier for Taylor. Once Gasser learns that he needs to score a little more, he will be a great guard in the Big Ten. Rob Wilson will likely come in off of the bench again this year and will add some needed experience. This is a team that has holes to fill, but Coach Ryan has talent and some players who have been around a few years and are ready to make a bigger impact. That is Wisconsin basketball and it will again result in a trip to the NCAA Tournament.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA

Projected Starting Five:
Jordan Taylor, Senior, Guard, 18.1 points per game
Josh Gasser, Sophomore, Guard, 5.9 points per game
Ryan Evans, Junior, Forward, 2.8 points per game
Mike Bruesewitz, Junior, Forward, 4.6 points per game
Jared Berggren, Junior, Center, 2.4 points per game

Madness 2012 NBA Draft Rankings:
#57 Jordan Taylor

Madness 2011 Men's Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#134 Jarrod Uthoff

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