2012-2013 ITH season preview: Wisconsin Badgers

  • 09/27/2012 9:01 am in

With the college basketball season on the horizon, we’ll be taking a long look at the conference at large as well as Indiana’s roster over the next few weeks. Today, we look at the Wisconsin Badgers.

Bo Ryan has built a system that wins in the Big Ten. He’s not pumping out NBA superstars, but Ryan lands middle of the pack recruiting classes, develops talent and finishes in the top half of the league. And each year, he loses an important piece that makes you question if the Badgers will take a step back. They never do.

Such was the case last season when many wondered how Wisconsin would cope with the graduation of Jon Leuer, a second round NBA Draft pick. The Badgers barely missed a beat without Leuer; they won 26 games, led the Big Ten in scoring defense and reached the Sweet 16 for the second straight season.

This year, it’s Jordan Taylor who vacates the point guard position. On deck to replace him is redshirt freshman George Marshall, who spent an important season of practice learning from Taylor. Junior Josh Gasser, a 45.2 percent 3-point shooter, and junior Ben Brust, last season’s sixth man, also return.

Wisconsin’s true strength, however, rests in the frontcourt. Jared Berggren, a 6-foot-10 senior, has improved each season and hit close to 37% of his 3-point attempts and over 50% of his 2-point attempts last year. Ryan Evans, who averaged in double figures and was one of the league’s best defensive rebounders (20.4 DR%), also returns, as does Mike Bruesewitz, who is looking to regain his touch after his effective field goal percentage fell nine percent last season.

This nucleus of returnees is strong on its own, but Ryan also landed a consensus top 20 recruit in Sam Dekker. At 6-foot-8 with elite athleticism and the ability to score inside or from the perimeter, Dekker will instantly give the Badgers a presence on the wing that should mix nicely with Berggren, Evans and Bruesewitz. Two seasons ago, Gasser was Wisconsin’s first true freshman starter since 2002-2003 and Dekker seems likely to get the same nod this winter.

While the personnel has changed, Wisconsin will once again rely on its system to impose a preferred style of play on opponents. A season ago, the Badgers played the slowest pace in the Big Ten (58.1 possessions per game), ranked second in effective field goal percentage defense (44.2) and only turned it over on 15.2 percent of their possessions. Similar output in each area will once again make the Badgers one of the most frustrating teams in the country to game plan against.

Bottom line: Wisconsin has never finished lower in the fourth in the Big Ten under Ryan and while the top four of the Big Ten will be very tough with Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State, the Badgers will also be in the conversation to win the league. Indiana plays Wisconsin just once — at home on Jan. 15 — and will look to end a 10-game losing streak against the Badgers.

Quotable: “I think the sky is the limit for him. You probably won’t even remember I was here by the time George gets done.  Or maybe even Devin (Harris), too. You never know. George is good. He’s got a lot of talent. For him, he just has to keep working hard and keep plugging away and he’ll be more than fine.” – Jordan Taylor on George Marshall.

PreviouslyNebraskaNorthwesternPenn State, Iowa, Illinois, Purdue

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  • CutterInChicago

    I grow weary of Bo Ryan.

  • MillaRed

    Bo, you are not attractive.

  • Crimson&CremeFraiche

    At least we don’t have to play Wisconsin in Madison this year. That may be one loss that we won’t have that others may. Then again, I would never consider Wisconsin at home as a gimme.

  • iudawg

    So tired of hearing how great of a coach Bo Ryan is EVERY time they are on TV. I know he’s a solid coach, but it gets old.

    We HAVE to beat them at home this year!!!

  • Evansville Hoosier

    I can’t stand Bo Ryan… I guess its a form of.. vitriolic respect, cause I get tired of losing to that bast*rd, and he gets so angry anytime a call goes against him.. oh well, we just have to remedy it with a win in Assembly this year!

  • HoosierDadE

    Grinch who Stole Christmas…


    Milla, considering the subject, your are being alarmingly polite. lol

  • IUfanPurduePhD

    The only way we don’t break that ten-game losing streak to Wisc this year is if we get replacement refs … or Ted Valentine.

  • DarkSouth

    Apparently at least 2 people disagree with Milla.

  • MillaRed

    For you two that apparently find Bo to be quite dashing, drop me a line and I will set you up for dinner. I’m sure it will be a match made in Heaven. Or you may just be some strange people that seem to dislike everything I post. Which is pretty weird.

  • JerryCT

    I liked something you posted once ……… but I forget what it was

  • smartybucket

    Sam Cassel is the spitting image. Ryan just a minor resemblance.

  • Evansville Hoosier

    ok fine, nobody likes that idea! geez…

  • smartybucket

    I have to admit, I like watching Wisconsin beat other teams like Syracuse, UNC or any other team with supposedly “superior talent” in the tournament, They are hard to play. Hope I don’t get banned for this.

  • Bryan

    The Badgers never take a step back, but they never really take a step forward either. Bo Ryan has Wisconsin in a comfortable spot – compete for the Big 10 regular season title, avoid losing to bad teams, but never really move past the second weekend of the NCAA tournament.
    Not a bad place to be, especially if you’ve been in the wilderness a while like IU has been. But at the same time, are Wisky fans perpetually just happy to be where they are, or will Ryan ever feel the pressure to push the program a little further?

  • jahhoosier

    Ignoring any scheduling imbalances, I think this is the year that Ryan’s streak…continues.

    I believe Ohio St is being slightly overrated and Wisky slightly underrated; so I see the Buckeyes falling to 5th. Dekker is both great and perfect for that system and, while it would be better to have Taylor than not have him, Ryan’s swing offense also became more or less an isolation offense in the last couple of years due to Taylor.
    That offense will still be like pulling teeth, but maybe there’s a bit more novocaine available with Taylor gone.

  • SCHoosier

    Nobody better at playin’ the refs and getting make-up calls..especially at the Badgers place. His system works for him..and boy does it require patience on D to shut them down..or try too.

  • Robert1976

    I’m laughing my head off. I keep on looking at this photo. Thanks for posting.

  • b_side

    I’m with you. I always root for B1G teams during the tournament – even Purdue. The better our conference performs, the better we look. And the more recruits will want to come and be a part of it.

  • Hack Wilson

    I am always curious how many Wisky, Purdue, MSU, etc. fans patrol this site and get livid over the comments from IU fans. I always see a lot of “vote downs” on logical comments; Several below actually. Come on, what do you expect? This is, after all, an IU site for IU fans to discuss how great we are. I don’t mean great; I mean superior.

  • IUDan

    I cannot agree more – I hope we absolutely demolish them this year . . . we owe them big-time.

  • MillaRed

    Ha ha Jerry lives!

  • JerryCT

    Millared – come out to NYC and go to the Legends games w me

  • MillaRed

    No kidding. Sam was not a good looking dude.


    Seems to me the, Bo being dashing and some strange people thing, kinda go together don’t they ? For your own safety, if they take you up on the dinner date you might want to consider hooking them up without a face to face meeting.

  • MillaRed

    Next time I am in NY, you will be the first to know Jerry


    Great ? Could be, but remains to be seen. Perfect for Bo’s system ? Not IMHO. If Dekker can adapt to Bo’s system it will truly be because he is willing to put team and system first. Have seen him play more than once or twice in person and to me he did not look like your typical Bo recruit, you know, could and would run the floor and was willing and able to create his own shot with more than 3 or 4 seconds left on the shot clock. The biggest surprise to me when it came to Dekker was that he signed with Bo. It will be interesting to see if someone that showed that he was more than comfortable and seemed to excel in uptempo games will be content to play in Bo’s system long term. I am in full agreement with you in that Dekker will be a big part of whether or not they finish in the top four.


    Couldn’t agree more. That’s why, IMHO, our D will be the biggest factor in determining if can contend for a B1G title and will be even more of a factor in determining what our seed turns out to be as well as how far we go at the end of the year in the big dance.

  • jahhoosier

    He is a big man who can a) shoot, b) pass, c) play in the post, and d) put it on the floor. To me that makes him a perfect fit for Ryan’s system. Any high school recruit would love to jack up a shot well before his coach wants him to but, somehow, they all accept working within the system their coach runs.

    With respect to Ryan’s sytem, if the Taylor experience showed anything, it is that Ryan will run his offense through an elite talent, and I think Dekker is an elite talent. I mean, I just love his game. In fact, Ryan’s offense usually tries to emphasize a particular scorer.

    As for whether he would transfer, Ryan’s system heavily emphasizes a big man’s face-up game, and is thus consistent with what a big kid wants to do these days. So, if Ryan can make face-up scorers out of the lesser-talented recruits he has since he came to Madison, I see no reason Dekker will not score points in bunches. Moreover, it’s not like he’ll get to Madison and become surprised by the pace of the offense. It’s a pretty well known commodity at this point, much as I personally hate it.

  • HoosierTrav

    I wonder if they hired Bo for dual roles? The head ball coach and the mascot?


    First off let me say that I am not trying to say you do not know what you are talking about and that you are wrong about everything, I just enjoy talking bball.

    He indeed can do all those things and probably more, all the more reason him not being content in the long run is a real possibility. I think this will start to be a problem for Bo or if not he will not be as competitive in the coming years as he has been in the past. Yes he has shown that he doesn’t mind running a lot of his O through an elite talent but will he be willing to run it through an elite talent that is a freshman and will Dekker become frustrated if he doesn’t ? That is something that Bo has not shown that he is alright with doing to the best of my recollection but then again he may not have ever had a freshman show up and from day one have the skill level that Dekker seems to possess.

    As far as him being well aware of what their O will entail, well, looking at an O and actually playing in it are two different things. I know Bo isn’t Bobby but Knight is a perfect example of kids thinking they knew exactly what they were getting into only to find out the reality of it is much different. A kid can think they know exactly what they are getting into when signing with a certain team only to find out that the reality of it is not anything like they thought it would be, thus the high number of transfers we see these days. I think it’s safe to say that Dekker’s development will be something that more people than just you and I will find interesting to keep an eye on.

  • jahhoosier

    O, no worries, I didn’t take it like that at all. I guess I’m just a little more bullish on Wisconsin’s future, is all. Though I do think the typical pace-of-play in the B10 will increase in the years ahead…which could pose a problem for Ryan imo, or not…time will tell, I guess.

  • marcusgresham

    No, no, no. We’ve had this discussion. He’s Luca, the octopus from “Shark Tale”

  • Geoff_85

    All this talk about their 10 game winning streak vs Indiana…let’s not forget, the Hoosiers beat them 31 straight times from 1980-1996. That’s right, THIRTY-ONE straight. I imagine another thirty-one game winning streak begins this season.

  • MisterSlippery

    I’d rather be the worst conference ever than root for Purdoo.

  • bobskube

    7th. Pass the pipe.

  • You guys always do this! Why don’t you respect us yet? We beat you every year and even after you lose, you still think your better and start making excuses about why you lost. You do have a good team this year. Good thing you hired the Tom Crean from Marquette(From Milwaukee,Wisconsin)! Otherwise you’d still stink! Don’t get too big for your britches because the Badgers are capable of beating your #1 ranked team! We have plenty of talent to do it! GO BADGERS!!!

  • Oh don’t cry, we already gave you a good coach(T. Crean from Marquette) and that’s why your team doesn’t SUCK anymore! You better hope you beat us when you play us at your house because even with your #1 ranked team, you still can’t beat us at the Kohl Center! And to correct your last statement; You have to beat us once already or it won’t be a rivalry anymore!

  • That’s if Zeller doesn’t get into foul trouble because we like to pull people’s Centers off the Block! Why do you post on this thread? You can’t talk about your team on yours? Oh, that’s right! Your team is #1 now and you can’t help but gloat! Real Classy gentlemen! We’ll settle this on the asphalt! GO BADGERS!!!

  • IUfanPurduePhD

    It’s not a lack of respect for your team, it’s a belief in the strength of ours. And you’re delusional if you don’t think that the reffing in the Kohl center hasn’t been questionable.

  • Damn Skippy, And it’s nice not to have a cream puff game against you guys FINALLY!! It’s about time that IU starts holding up they’re end representing the Big Ten! Maybe our Conference can make a comeback now that it isn’t just Wisconsin,Michigan St., and Ohio St taking care of the heavy lifting!

  • Sucks to be made to do something! It’s called taking your respect! Because your not smart enough to give it voluntarily!

  • We could beat you driving a Volkswagon Farfignugen!