Originally posted on The B1g Time  |  Last updated 11/9/12
Wisconsin is perhaps the most steady program in the country right now. They haven't missed a single NCAA tournament since hiring Bo Ryan 12 years ago. They also haven't finished lower than 4th in the Big Ten standings in the Bo Ryan era. However, they must face life without their leading scorer and heart and soul of the team, Jordan Taylor.  Last year it was all about the guard play, but this season that has been flipped on it's head as Wisconsin will lean on three seniors up front to lead this team to it's expected spot in the NCAA tournament and in the upper echelon of the Big Ten.  The Badgers must face life without Jordan Taylor without their planned replacement in Josh Gasser, who suffered a season ending ACL tear a few weeks ago and will turn the keys of the offense over to a redshirt freshman. Heading into the season the question is can anyone replace the scoring of Taylor or will it take a full team effort from the three amigos up front for this team to obtain it's goals? Only time will tell, but the one thing we do know is Bo Ryan will have his players ready to go on a nightly basis.  2011-12 Record: 26-10 (12-6) Postseason: NCAA Sweet 16 Head Coach: Bo Ryan - 12th year at Wisconsin (268-101), 14th season at D1 (298-128 overall at D1 level) Returning Starters (games started): 3 F Ryan Evans (36), F Mike Bruesewitz (36), F Jared Berggren (36) Newcomers: 4 G - Zak Showalter: 6-2, 180lbs. (Freshman, Germantown, WI/Germantown HS)  G - George Marshall: 5-11, 180lbs. (Freshman, Chicago, IL/ Redshirted 2011-12) F - Sam Dekker: 6-8, 215lbs. (Freshman, Sheboygan, WI/Sheboygan Lutheran) F - Zach Bohannon: 6-6, 210lbs. (Junior, Marion, IA/Transfer from Air Force) 2011-12 Team Stats (conf. ranking): 64ppg (10th), 53.2 opponents ppg (1st), +2.3 rebounding margin (5th) Roster: For full roster check here. Projected Starting Lineup: G - George Marshall G - Ben Brust (Jr.) F - Ryan Evans (Sr.) F - Mike Bruesewitz (Sr.) F - Jared Berggren (Sr.) Frontcourt Breakdown: Wisconsin's chances at success this season will hinge on the exact opposite of last season's strength as all three forwards are seniors and started nearly every game together last season. Ryan Evans was easily the biggest breakout star of the team and arguably was the most important player on the roster last year. Down low it's Jared Berggren that also showed a huge jump from his sophomore to junior season and he could be one of the most athletic big men in the league. Berggren averaged 10.5 points a game, which makes him the 2nd leading returning scorer, behind Evans. However, where Berggren really showed his metal and where he'll need to continue to keep it up is on the defensive end of the floor. He's athletic enough to guard a four, but also big enough to challenge in the low post. Last year Berggren had 60 blocks and 32 steals, ranking him 1st and 2nd on the team in those respective categories. Mike Bruesewitz won't be 100% to start the season after suffering a scary laceration to his right leg before official fall practice began, but when healthy (which should be after only a few missed games) Bruesewitz is the grinder that has defined Wisconsin basketball under Bo Ryan. He isn't flashy in any area, but he is the glue that holds the frontcourt together. Outside of those three Wisconsin has one of the most highly touted freshman, if not THE most highly touted freshman in school history as a major backup in Sam Dekker. He's versatile enough to play any of the 2,3, or 4 spots. However, expect sophomore Frank Kaminsky to be the first guy off the bench in the front court. He worked hard to change his body in the offseason and it's paid off according to all reports. He's a prototypical Wisconsin big who can play down low, but is most comfortable with his face towards the basket and could stretch defenses with his ability to shoot from deep as well.  Simply put, Wisconsin is loaded with talent up front this season and it'll be very interesting to see how they hand out the minutes up front. Backcourt Breakdown: Welcome to life without Jordan Taylor, last seasons leading scorer and all-around playmaker for the Badgers. Life got a lot more interesting in a negative way for the Badgers with the recent news that expected starting point guard Josh Gasser will be lost for the season.  Now it appears the ball handling and point position in Ryan's swing offense will fall on the shoulders of redshirt freshman George Marshall, a player Taylor wasn't too fond of going against in drills all of last season and was quick to praise because of that tenacity. Marshall has a smooth shot and is known to be a good defender as well, but he'll be thrown to the fire for sure. Marshall will likely split minutes with sophomore Traevon Jackson, the son of former OSU star Jimmy Jackson, who is the only player at the position with any minutes in an NCAA game entering play this season. The two of them will need to take care of the ball and be good distributors first and foremost. Jackson will also see minutes at the 2 spot and is more of a scoring guard than Marshall, so he adds some nice versatility to the backcourt. The one steady face in the backcourt is Ben Brust, who averaged 7.3 points per game and shot 38.9% from deep in his sophomore season. Brust is the grit of the backcourt, willing to mix things up, but also knowledgeable of what needs to happen in Ryan's system. With Gasser gone a lot of the 3 point shooting is on his shoulders and if Brust can hit over 40% of his attempts this season the Badgers will be just fine, especially with the big time play of the forwards on this team. Look for freshman Zak Showalter to be the other person in the rotation in the backcourt, but the feeling is that Bo would like to try and limit his minutes until he proves he can play at the collegiate level after being offered as a walk-on that received a scholarship because of the Jarrod Uthoff transfer. Wisconsin fans will be watching what happens in the backcourt with bated breath thanks to the fact that they face a huge early season test or three. Schedule Breakdown: Strength of Schedule: 8 - Wisconsin is going to really test themselves early with a trip to Gainesville to take on Florida, a task that isn't easy at all. Beyond that there is a ridiculous stretch of games in the middle of the Big Ten season that will be make or break for the Badgers. All of that adds up to a heck of a difficult schedule. Swing Games (non-conf.): @ Florida, vs. Creighton (Las Vegas Invitational), @ Marquette - Wisconsin, like almost all big time programs don't play many true road games in the non-conference season, but the two big ones the Badgers play are MASSIVE ones against Florida and rival Marquette. Winning one or both of these games will be huge confidence builders. The Creighton game is a big time trap game as the Blue jays are a great basketball team and have the pieces to give Wisconsin fits. Swing Games (conf.): @ Indiana, @ Iowa, vs. Michigan State - These three games all come in a row and in the middle of the Big Ten season. If the Badgers want to contend for another Big Ten championship sweeping or winning two of three of these tough games will go a long way to helping that happen. If they go 0-3 during this stretch the Badgers could be in some serious trouble of stopping their streak of top 4 finishes in Big Ten play. Predictions:  Record: 24-7 (13-5) Big Ten Finish: tie for 3rd Postseason: NCAA top 5 seed  Wisconsin has a nice non-conference schedule that should allow this younger backcourt to become battle tested for one of the roughest seasons of Big Ten basketball in quite some time. What benefits the Badgers is that the Kohl Center is like a fortress and if they can defend that they'll be well on their way to heading towards the top. If the Badgers can flip their offense around successfully and make it more like the swing offense of the past and not last year's version this team will be successful. Beer Pairing: Spotted Cow by New Glarus Brewing Co. Nothing says Wisconsin original like pairing the Badgers basketball team and a beer so common yet only available in the state of Wisconsin. Spotted Cow is a great cream ale and some people just sleep on it because it's not going to knock you out in your face, but sleeping on this good quality beer and this team are both dangerously stupid things to do. They'll both sneak up on you and by the end of things leave you wondering what just happened and you'll either completely fall in love or completely hate it. Make sure to give us a follow on Twitter @DelanysDozen for all the latest in Big Ten basketball news and notes.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
The Worst - NFL Week 3: Steve Smith, Odell Beckham & of course the Browns
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: JJ Watt re-injures back, facing extended absence

Nationals GM: Strasburg ‘unlikely to pitch in NLDS’

Nebraska regent wants players kicked off team for kneeling during anthem

WATCH: Wayne Gretzky tells the hilarious story of his secret Hall of Fame visit

Wilson Ramos done for year with torn ACL

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Sam Allardyce, English FA announce contract termination just 67 days into the job

Report: Clint Dempsey to miss rest of 2016 MLS season

Report: Rose not revealing true concern over rape investigation

UFC 205 headlined by Conor McGregor vs. Eddie Alvarez

Greg Hardy told police someone slipped cocaine in his wallet

Report: LSU will ‘gauge the interest’ of Saban, Meyer, others

The Worst - NFL Week 3: Steve Smith, Odell Beckham & of course the Browns

FIFA 17 review: O jogo bonito

To save his legacy Chris Bosh must first protect his health

What the NBA (and world) looked like before Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan

A fond farewell to Vin Scully

So where will the ACC football championship be played?

Green Beret shares how he helped alter Kaepernick protest

Gordon: Hitting HR for Fernandez ‘best moment of my life’

Box Score: 9/27 - Goodbyes, farewells and hurdles

Kevin Garnett's unique career proves anything is possible

Jose Fernandez joins tragic list of premature departures

15 greatest calls of Vin Scully's career

College Basketball News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
THE B1G TIME

The Worst - NFL Week 3: Steve Smith, Odell Beckham & of course the Browns

FIFA 17 review: O jogo bonito

To save his legacy Chris Bosh must first protect his health

What the NBA (and world) looked like before Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan

A fond farewell to Vin Scully

So where will the ACC football championship be played?

Kevin Garnett's unique NBA career proves anything is possible

Jose Fernandez joins tragic list of premature departures

Week 4 in college football as explained by Queen

The good, bad, and ugly from Week 3 in the NFL season

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker