College Basketball

New Look- Higher Expectations for Badgers

It is no suprise that the Wisconsin Badgers are once again tied for the lead in the Big Ten, and evidence points to a sucessful season and tournament run.  If the team can stay on the same page all year, as well as stay healthy, good things will come. For those like myself who live and die with Badger basketball, the month of January brings with it inter-conference play. Though the team has toiled since the 18th of November with games all over the country, the real meat and potato games lie ahead. God has graced us Wisconsinites with Big Ten basketball, and compared to many other leagues and teams who call the state home, Bucky basketball is a big time deal.

Last season ended in disappointment, much to my dismay. At least the knockout blow from the big dance came at the hands of North Carolina, who eventually won the tournament. That last game marked the end of an era, and the promise of things to come. With many seniors leaving, a solid foundation was laid for the younger squad that would inherit Bo Ryan’s team.

This year’s starters had watched and grown during the past few seasons, many of them without playing any crucial minutes in a game. Now their talent would be showcased for the nation. Returning juniors Alando Tucker and Kammron Taylor offer the quickness needed at the guard position to get off the dribble and create shots in the lane, as well as from outside. Brian Butch has assumed the starting role of center, although he also plays forward from time to time subbing out with Greg Steimsma. Butch’s unorthodox ability to shoot the jumper is for a kid of his a very effective weapon. He can even drain it form three range and he’s only a sophomore.

Intriguing as well are the number of freshmen being given playing time. Marcus Landry has already shown poise and control, and paired with a mean jump-shot, has promise for not only this, but three more season pending he stays in Madison. And what would a season be without surprises? Joe Krabbenhoft, a 6’7″ guard slash forward from Sioux Falls, South Dakota has already added more depth that the Badgers expected. Playing with a bench of capable players is a supreme advantage.

Even with a set of skill players such as this, Wisconsin has evolved into a well- balanced attack. 2006 has already seen Bucky hold division rivals Iowa below sixty points. Even more impressive was the 82-63 rout of number seven ranked Michigan State at home in Madison, a team many analysts had getting to the Final Four. For an encore, a tough earned victory was claimed up in frozen Minnesota. Tough, stingy defense coupled with just enough points to win, is a deadly combination. The Badgers seem to find ways to score, and the ability to make shots in crunch time has me anxious for March. Key upcoming games against powerhouse teams like Illinois and Indiana, as well as a rematch at Michigan State will determine what road Wisconsin will travel.

It is obviously much to early for Badger fans to buy their Final Four tickets, but Bucky is 3-0 in the Big Ten where it matters, and has shown no signs of slowing down. I think we can safely assume the team will be invited to dance, and I believe however deeply they push into the brackets will influence who is crowned national champion of 2006. The Badgers are for real this year, and if a title eludes them for yet another season, 2007 will be memorable. Its been a long time since a trophy has been brought home to Wisconsin, but this group of kids has an excellent chance to contend for the whole ball of wax.

4 replies on “New Look- Higher Expectations for Badgers”

Wisconsin Folks Uniting We should.
I just found this site,
this looks pretty awesome.
Anyone talk about the brewers here?

Yep, yep My little brother might attend Madison next year. Great school, both academically and athletically. Hoops team makes you realize how basketball is played.

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