2007 Wisconsin Badgers Basketball Preview
Last season, after the Wisconsin Badgers (30- 6 overall, 13- 3 Big Ten) tied for second in their conference, they went to the college basketball bracket where they won one versus Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and then lost to UNLV 74- 68. Coach Bo Ryan (142- 55 in six years with Wisconsin and 172- 82 in 8 years) has to figure out how to replace three key players, including the school’s leading scorer, Alando Tucker. If anyone can do it, Ryan can. Since he’s been on board, the Badgers have compiled the second-most wins in the Big Ten.
Statistically, Wisconsin played tough defense as they placed third in scoring defense, limiting opponents to 57.9 PPG, and fourth in rebounding margin as they were plus-4.6. They were solid in point production, hitting for 70.2 PPG, putting them second in the Big Ten and in the winners column for our free college basketball picks. They turned the ball over only 11.3 TPG. Foul shooting, which was at .688, needs to improve.
If senior forward/center Brian Butch (8.8 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 47.5 FG%) can stay healthy, the Badgers will be a force. Butch has skills, smarts and toughness. Center Greg Stiemsma (2.2 PPG, 1.6 RPG, 49.2 FG%) has solid defensive prowess and an accurate jumper. Freshman forward Keaton Nankivil could be a massive force under the boards. Forward Marcus Landry (5.9 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 51.9 FG%), a junior, can score from inside and outside.
Senior guard Michael Flowers (7.2 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 2.9 APG, 44.2 FG%) offers fine defense but must step-up his point production. He’ll be this season’s floor general. Look for sophomores Jason Bohannon (4.6 PPG, 1.5 RPG, 44.5 FG%) and Trevon Hughes (1.4 PPG, 1.0 RPG, 31.4 FG%) to both start when coach Ryan goes with a three-guard set. Neither started last season.
Wisconsin went from winning 19 games in 2005- 2006 to earning 30 victories last season. Somehow, the Badgers have to find a way to generate points with replacement players. It will be a tough for this team to win 30 games in 2007- 2008. But 25 wins are not out of the question while becoming a favorite for NCAA tournament betting a distinct possibility.