Badgers Men’s Basketball Sitting Pretty… For Now

After capturing their first Big Ten title since 2008, Wisconsin is the favorite to win the Big Ten championship and head into the NCAA tournament as at least a #2 seed. While this season has felt like a step towards redemption for the heartbreaking loss to finish off last season, this season will end in similar fashion. Simply put, the Badgers have been unable to beat anybody considered a “good” basketball team. The only two teams that they have faced that have been ranked higher than number 25 at the time of the game, they have lost to. Duke and Maryland both defeated Wisconsin on their way to strengthening their cases for receiving high seeds in the tournament. Wisconsin also lost to a terrible Rutgers team, a team that has lost 13 straight since beating Wisconsin and 20 of 30 overall.

Bo Ryan is one of the best coaches when it comes to teaching middle of the road talent how to play within the UW system, but that doesn’t get a team very far when facing team loaded with premier talent. Unfortunately, it is only a matter of time until the Badgers face that opponent. I am sure that some would argue that Frank Kaminsky is a premier talent and he will lead us to victory over the likes of Kentucky, Duke, Virginia, and Villanova. I am forced to then ask you, do you honestly believe that Kaminsky is going to be a meaningful contributor in the NBA? Was Alando Tucker? Was Brian Butch? Devin Harris has without a doubt had the most meaningful NBA career of any former Badger since Michael Finley, and Harris has been a role player for most of his career. Kaminsky is at best a sixth man in the NBA, and that is ceiling that he will struggle to attain. When faced with future NBA stars, savvy and intelligence will only get Kaminsky and the Badgers so far.

The Big Ten title will always be the mark of a great Badger team. Ryan is renowned for his consistency in producing competitive basketball teams for the University of Wisconsin, but that success simply has not translated to success when March Madness rolls around. The Badgers have won the Big Ten title only four times since 1947, so every title should be savored.

At the end of the day, this team is a very good team that will be looked back on fondly for years to come. Hopefully, Badger fans won’t get their hopes up, thinking that this year may in fact be “the year”. It’s not, because the best players are never going to want to play in Madison, and the best coaches will never want to coach in Madison. We lucked out with Ryan, but when he retires the fall will be quick and painful, so savor this while it lasts. Just imagine what could have been if just one Dwyane Wade type talent had played for the home team in the Kohl Center during the Ryan era, oh what a season that would have been.

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