Again, no Badgers.
In my post about the top-100 snub, I nominated Jared Berggren as the Badger who should have made an appearance. So it shouldn't surprise you that that I think he should be on this list as well. As I said in my other post:
There should be a Badger on this list, and it should be Berggren, the fifth-year senior. He is athletic and talented (he was a four-star, top-100 recruit out of high school). He can score and he can defend (he led the Badgers in both steal and block percentage last year). Last we saw, Berggren was dominating against Syracuse. Like many defensively active big men, his big weakness is foul trouble, but with three seniors in the frontcourt, plus sophomore Big Frank Kaminsky and stud freshman Sam Dekker, Wisconsin should be able to protect Berggren very well on the defensive end.
It's also interesting to note Berggren's performances last year against the number one player on this list, Cody Zeller of Indiana. Zeller deserves to be the number one player, but Berggren more than held his own in their two match-ups last year. In the first game (a UW win at the Kohl Center), Berggren had five steals and held Zeller to just 7 points on two-of-seven shooting. In the second game (a win in the Big Ten Tournament), Berggren scored 16, ably matching Zeller's 17 so that Rob Wilson could steal the show with a career-defining 30-point outburst.Well put!
At least one writer appears to agree with me. Mike DeCourcey of The Sporting News just tweeted, out of the blue:
Jared Berggren is best returning defensive big man in college basketball. Period. (That includes A. Oriakhi, returning in different place).Very high praise, there.
— Michael DeCourcy (@tsnmike) October 24, 2012
Don't get me wrong—I don't get worked up about these lists. But there is definitely a pattern of under-appreciation for the talent that Bo Ryan puts on the floor, and it's worth calling out.
Finally, another entry in the no-surprise department: the Big Ten beat writers recently picked Wisconsin to finish 5th in the Big Ten, even though they have never finished lower than 4th in the Bo Ryan era. What do you think, Adam: is this the year Bo Ryan finally flops?
Here's a great post on Berggren's worthiness based on his play last year.