Good wins: vs. Maryland (Neutral), vs. Duke, vs. Purdue, vs. Ohio State, vs. Michigan State
Bad losses: at UW-Green Bay
Coaching: Bo Ryan, in his ninth season in Madison, has taken the Badgers to the NCAA Tournament each season, including one Elite 8 appearance and two Sweet Sixteens. He also has led the Badgers to three Big Ten championships. His .733 winning percentage ranks first in Big Ten history among coaches with at least five years experience.
Defense and discipline: These are the two staples that Ryan preaches. The Badgers only turn it over 9.4 times per game, which ranks first in the country. They also only allow 57.1 points per game, which ranks sixth in the country. Success in these two areas can win you some games in the NCAA Tournament.
Trevon Hughes: Hughes is turning into one of the premier point guards in the country. Now a senior, Hughes is putting up some of the best stats of his career. He averages 16 points, five rebounds, and nearly three assists per game. His shot selection has improved considerably over the years, but it remains a concern. Nevertheless, the Badgers will go only as far as Hughes takes them.
Scoring: The Badgers have never been known for being an explosive offensive team. They average 68.1 points per game, an improvement over recent years, but they are known to go into long scoring droughts. Senior Jason Bohannon is the team’s three-point specialist is critical to Wisconsin’s offensive success.
The Badgers’ success in the NCAA Tournament may ride on the availability and progress of junior Jon Leuer, who has missed several games due to a broken wrist. The Badgers hope to have him back soon, but the timetable for his return is still uncertain.
Sweet 16: The one thing to know about the Badgers is that they don’t get upset very often in the NCAA Tournament. Ryan has taken the Badgers past the first round seven out of the eight years he has been coach. After the first round, the Badgers future success could depend on where they play their opening-round games.
If the Badgers can get a top four seed, they could play their first two games in Milwaukee, which surely would give the Badgers a home-court advantage until the Sweet 16. Their success after that could depend on Leuer’s health. This team has potential to get all the way to the Elite 8, but the Final Four is unlikely.