Thursday, January 9, 2014

Badgers Basketball

How about them Wisconsin Badgers?

Bo Ryan's team is 16-0, and off to the best part in school history? What's been the secret?

Well, for starters, this isn't the Badgers team that you might have gotten accustomed to over the past decade. Sure, they can play like that, with stifling defense and an efficient offense, but this one likes to play a little different.

Wisconsin can shoot the lights out of the ball, and they're especially good in transition. And the more they shoot in transition, the faster they play, the more they score...there's good reason why the Badgers put up 95 in their thumping of Illinois last night.

The Badgers are ranked 4th in the country and 1st by the RPI (which does kinda mean something, especially come Selection Sunday) as they cross the halfway point of the schedule. Of course, things get tougher from here on out, as it's one conference match up after another. But the schedule plays into the Badgers favor as much as possible, with the toughest games (Michigan State and Ohio State) both at the Kohl Center. They can certainly win both of those games, but running the table to 31-0 will be nearly impossible. A three game stretch against Minnesota, and then at Michigan and Iowa, could be a stumbling block.

What makes this Wisconsin team so dangerous is the versatility of each player, from Josh Gasser and Traevon Jackson in the backcourt, to Ben Brust and Sam Dekker on the wings, to Frank Kaminsky everywhere. Bringing the likes of Bronson Koening, Nigel Hayes and Duje Dukan off the bench give three more looks that make the Badgers even tougher to match up against.

Do I think they'll go undefeated? Absolutely not. But they could certainly win the Big Ten and make some noise come March. Last night's trouncing of the Fighting Illini was just another of a long stretch of examples of why this team could be something special. Next up is Indiana on Tuesday, so buckle up and enjoy the ride.

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