Posted November 10, 2012 on AP on Fox
Entering his 41st year of coaching, Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan said he doesn't get nervous, alarmed or excited when people use the word "replace" when referring to his basketball team. "It is amazing how young men step up,'' Ryan said. "I have all the faith in the world that that is going to happen with this group.'' They are going to have to: The 23rd-ranked Badgers do have some holes to fill, starting Sunday when they open at home against Southeastern Louisiana. Although Wisconsin returns 12 of 14 lettermen from last season's 26-10 squad, the Badgers lost senior All-American point guard Jordan Taylor and late last month learned that his replacement, Josh Gasser, will miss the season with a torn ACL in his left knee. Gasser has started 66 games for the Badgers in his first two seasons, averaging 6.8 points and 4.1 rebounds per game. He averaged 34.1 minutes last season, contributing 7.6 points per game and shooting 45.2 percent from 3-point range. The injury is another blow to Wisconsin's depth, as the Badgers are expecting to start the season without forward Mike Bruesewitz. He is expected to be back sometime in November after cutting his leg on the basket support, an injury that required more than four dozen stitches. "It was really unfortunate what happened to me, but the outcome of this is very fortunate,'' said Bruesewitz. "There are guys who have drop footed, can't walk for two years and have to give up basketball because they don't have control of their foot. I missed that nerve and was very fortunate.'' Gasser was expected to be the team's starting point guard, a role that, for the time being, will be shared among junior Ben Brust, sophomore Traevon Jackson and redshirt freshman George Marshall, who earned high praise from the Wisconsin coaching staff after competing with Taylor on the scout team last season. "George understood as quickly as any other redshirt freshman we had that last year wasn't about taking a break,'' said associate head coach Greg Gard. "He's maximized his opportunity to use Jordan as a teacher as much as possible. He approached every practice like it was his game day, and he bought into that. That will help him.'' Wisconsin will have three seniors - Jared Berggren, Bruesewitz and Ryan Evans - in the paint that own a combined 285 games played and 122 starts. That's given the Badgers some optimism after finishing 26-10 last season, which included a run to the Sweet 16. "What you always hope for as a team is that you're so well blended that they can't zero in on one or two players and that's what I like about this mix right now,'' said Ryan. "We have guys that could play well every night and be really good.'' Evans was second on the team in points (11.0 per game) while Berggren tied for the conference lead in blocks with 60, adding 10.5 points and 4.9 rebounds per game. In the mix will be sophomore Frank Kaminsky (appeared in 35 games as a freshman), junior transfer Zach Bohannon and highly-touted freshman Sam Dekker, who averaged 32.5 points and 13.2 rebounds as a high school senior. That combination should help a Wisconsin team that led the nation in scoring defense last season - allowing just 53.2 points per game - to be even stingier. "We have a lot of people that could come off the bench and give us energy at any point in any game,'' said Kaminsky. "I have a lot of confidence in this team that anyone can step up and be effective in any game. I think that's what makes a good team; having a bunch of people who are committed to one thing.'' The schedule includes 18 games against teams that participated in the postseason a year ago. "We know what we need to do and we know what is expected, having been through it in practice,'' said Brust. "We now have to go out there and grab it.'' This will be the Badgers' first meeting with Southeastern Louisiana, which returns four starters from last season's 12-17 team. The Lions are led by senior guard Brandon Fortenberry, who averaged 17.6 points before he suffered a foot injury that ended his 2011-12 season after seven games.

Badgers' Dukan decides to redshirt

MADISON, Wis. University of Wisconsin forward Duje Dukan announced on Sunday that he would take a redshirt season in 2012-13 for the men's basketball program, citing lingering effects of having mononucleosis during the fall. Dukan, a junior, played 13 minutes during Wisconsin's 96-44 exhibition victory against UW-Oshkosh on Wednesday night. He made 1 of 3 shots from the...

Bruesewitz returns to form in season opener

MADISON, Wis. For a fleeting moment that surely felt like much longer, Mike Bruesewitz wondered if he would ever play basketball again. He lay on the court with a horrifying gash across his right leg, bone protruding through a pool of blood, just days before he was supposed to begin his senior season at the University of Wisconsin. If this was the end, it sure seemed like a cruel...

2012-13 Big Ten Basketball Preview: Wisconsin Badgers

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...

No. 23 Wisconsin 87, SE Louisiana 47

Junior Ben Brust had 14 points and 11 rebounds, and No. 23 Wisconsin scored the first 19 points in an 87-47 rout of Southeastern Louisiana in a season opener Sunday. Jared Berggren led the Badgers with 19 points and fellow senior Mike Bruesewitz added 10 in a 13-minute appearance. Bruesewitz cut his lower right leg during practice Oct. 9 and returned Friday. Redshirt freshman George...


  It’s hard to believe it but the Badgers’ hoop season tips off tomorrow at the Kohl Center against Southeastern Louisiana. Look early tomorrow for a preview and follow @MTBadgers for tweets during the game. Today is the final day of our countdown and we hope you’ve enjoyed reading our player previews. With just 1 day left until Wisconsin Basketball, today we look at ...

Game Recap: Solid out of the Gate

Senior forward Jared Berggren led all scorers with 19 points while junior guard Ben Brust registered his first career double-double as No.23 Wisconsin started the 2012-13 season with a bang, coasting past Southeastern Louisiana, 87-47, at the Kohl Center.

Is Wisconsin's Offense Going Rogue The Rest of the Season?

  The Badger fanbase is used to seeing Wisconsin football played a certain way. We all know what it looks like - pound the football, use play action and throw an occasional deep ball. Well, that could all be changing with the confirmation of Curt Phillips being the starting QB by head coach Bret Bielema on Thursday.  What's got Badger Nation all abuzz this morning...

Wisconsin's Ball moves past Williams on TD list

Wisconsin running back Montee Ball has passed 1998 Heisman Trophy winner Ricky Williams for second place on the career touchdown list. Ball now has 76 career scores. Williams finished his career at Texas with 75. Travis Prentice of Miami (Ohio) holds the Football Bowl Subdivision record with 78 scores. And the Badgers senior wasted no time getting started Saturday at Indiana. ...

Badgers prove they're still big-time with rout

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - No matter the situation or the makeup of his team, Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema likes to deliver a poignant message the night before a game to serve a purpose. Whether it's to motivate his squad or to deliver a teaching point, the message Friday night was simple: opportunity.Leading up to Wisconsin'schance to clinch a spot in the Big Ten championship game...
Badgers 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!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.