#23 Wisconsin: 2010-11 Basketball Preview
Overall Rank: #23
Conference Rank: #5 Big Ten Conference
2009-10: 24-9, 13-5
2009-10 postseason: NCAA
Coach: Bo Ryan (217-82 at Wisconsin, 247-109 overall)
Every year Wisconsin loses a couple key contributors and still competes for a Big Ten title and easily makes it into the NCAA Tournament. It happened last year, it happened the year before that and it will happen this year. The absence of Jason Bohannon and Trevon Hughes will make the Badger backcourt relatively inexperienced, but we have been down this road before.
Key Losses: G Jason Bohannon, G Trevon Hughes
Ben Brust and Josh Gasser could be asked to provide some depth on the perimeter, but Coach Bo Ryan usually does not ask much from his freshmen. However, if Ben Brust can shoot as well in college as he did during his prep career, he will find some minutes off of the bench. Josh Gasser is the point guard of the future, but whether or not that translates into minutes this season remains to be seen. Versatile small forward Duje Dukan will be an interesting player to watch over the years and big man Evan Anderson is one of the better centers to enter Wisconsin over the last few years.
Finding a shooting guard in Wisconsin is like finding a sheep in New Zealand. Just wait a little while and one will show up. Rob Wilson is the likely candidate to follow in the footsteps of Bohannon and turn into the Badgers next shooter. Wilson does need to improve his outside shot to come anywhere near the outside shooting numbers of Bohannon or Hughes, but unlike Bohannon, Wilson can attack the basket if his shot is not falling. Ryan Evans is more of a three than a two, but he is extremely versatile and can defend just about any opposing player on the floor. Tim Jarmusz should step back into his starting glue spot at the small forward position. Jarmusz will never put up big numbers, but he knows his role on this team and he does it well. Walk-ons Brett Valentyn, Dan Fahey and Wquinton Smith will be given an opportunity to compete with the newcomers for minutes off the bench. Smith may be the most intriguing of the players as he looks to become the backup point guard during his senior campaign.
The Badgers lost Jon Leuer for nine games right in the middle of conference play and still finished just a game behind Michigan State, Ohio State and Purdue in the conference pecking order. Leuer had his breakout season nonetheless, averaging a team high 15.4 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.3 blocks. Now fully healthy from his wrist injury, Leuer will be the main threat in Wisconsin’s swing offense since he can score from anywhere on the floor and guarding the 6-10 forward is nearly impossible. Keaton Nankivil is a little more of a bruiser than Leuer, but he too can step out and hit the long ball. Nankivil is a solid athlete who can get up on the glass and block a few shots on top of his versatile scoring skills. Mike Bruesewitz is mostly a rebounder, but that could change during his sophomore season and Jared Berggren is ready for a breakout year after spending most of his freshman campaign watching from the sidelines.
Who to Watch:
The injury to Leuer was the beginning of the Jordan Taylor era. The 6-1 junior turned into a star when Leuer went out and ended the season with 10.0 points and 3.6 assists per contest. He had one of the best assist-to-turnover ratios in the nation and should be a fine leader to replace Hughes. With a little more consistency from beyond the arc, Taylor will average over 15 points per game this season.
Nobody in the nation committed fewer turnovers per game than Wisconsin. However, they pretty much had three ballhandlers on the floor most of the time and now two of them are gone. That will put a lot of pressure on Taylor to run the show effectively on his own and put some pressure on players like Wilson to turn into well rounded contributors who can not just pick up the scoring slack, but also buy into the program’s philosophy and take care of the ball. Coach Ryan will make sure they do or he will find somebody else.
Projected Post-season Tournament: NCAA
Projected Starting Five:
Jordan Taylor, Junior, Guard, 10.0 ppg
Rob Wilson, Junior, Guard, 3.1 ppg
Tim Jarmusz, Senior, Forward, 2.5 ppg
Jon Leuer, Senior, Forward, 15.4 ppg
Keaton Nankivil, Senior, Forward, 8.1 ppg
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