Originally written on Down with Goldy  |  Last updated 11/19/14
Purdue_boilermakers_v_e5e4
Once again, I see no way Wisconsin can finish in the upper division of the Big 10 this year.  Now I fully admit I think this same thing pretty much every year and pretty much every year they prove me wrong, but I'm just not seeing this year.

Obviously everything about the Badgers this year begins and ends with Jordan Taylor, who is not doubt a supreme talent and had a statistically amazing season last year.  If you think that year was a fluke or a harbinger of things to come probably has a lot to do with your opinion of the Badgers' fortunes this season.  After being a below average shooter in his first two years in the league, Taylor increased his shooting percentage by 40 points from his sophomore to junior year, including raising his 3-point and FT percentages by over 100 points, and put up an absolutely staggering 4.2 assist-to-turnover ratio to lead the nation, a ratio that was more than double nearly every other player who put up a high number of assists.  It was a mind-blowing year that pretty much came out of nowhere, and you can firmly put me in the camp that we're going to see some regression to the mean this year, especially without Leuer to take some of the pressure off of Taylor.

Actually I have no idea who is going to take the pressure off of Taylor this season, because G Josh Gasser and F Mophead Bruesewitz are the only guys back who played significant time last year.  Gasser had one of the more unlikely triple-doubles in history last year, but is pretty much a meh player and Bruesewitz is more of an energy and effort guy than a true scorer.  Then again this is Wisconsin.  The laws of time and space and sports cease to function when you cross the border, and guys like Gasser and Mophead who would be bench warmers on other teams become not only significant contributors, but even all-conference types.  I don't like Bo Ryan - I'm pretty sure nobody does - but I've learned not to doubt him.

As big of question marks as those two are, behind them things are even more unsettled.  Ryan Evans and Jared Berggren both played in a lot of games last year and although they didn't put up the most impressive stats on a consistent basis both showed flashes at times that they could fit in within the world's slowest offense.  Ryan also has two years worth of unheralded, barely ranked, few stars recruits that, outside of Gasser, haven't played much and I have no doubt at least one or two of them will make a significant contribution this year.

In short, Wisconsin once again looks like it will be a down year for them on paper.  But we've been saying this for like six straight years now and every year they're in contention for the Big 10 title and end up a lock for an NCAA bid by early February, so it wouldn't shock me if that ends up being the case once again.  I will say this though - if they end up doing it, it will be the most impressive of their surprisingly good seasons yet, because I see all kinds of troubles in Badgerland.

DWG Over/Under Conference Wins:  8.5

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