Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Wisconsin Basketball Team Has No Good Players

At least according to CBS Sports, which lists no Badgers among the top 100 players in college basketball this year.

On one hand, this makes me happy. One of the pleasures of following Bo Ryan's teams is how they fly under the radar with "no talent" and just win. And no one could argue that Wisconsin is returning a "star" player this year. They return four starters in Gasser (7.6 ppg), Berggren (10.5), Evans (11.0), and Bruesewitz (5.6), but none are coming off monster years.

On the other hand, however, this is kind of silly. The Badgers' raw numbers are deflated by their slow tempo, and this list reflect a clear bias towards raw counting stats. Plus, they've got Jordan Taylor's 15 points per game to distribute. It's reasonable to suspect that either Berggren or Evans, if not both, will average 15 ppg game this year, and that at least one of them will be second team all Big-Ten. In other words, it's unreasonable that there are 14 players from the Big Ten but no Badgers on this list.

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.

To put things in perspective, there are (by my count) 63 teams with a player on this list. Is it really plausible that 63 different teams have a player that is better than every player on Wisconsin, which returns four starters from a Sweet 16 team? Unbelievably, there are two Drexel players on this list. Drexel went to the NIT last year. Even worse, there are two Gophers on this list (Trevor Mbakwe and Rodney Williams). Mbakwe certainly is a beast who deserves to be high on the list, and Williams is a great athlete, but I wouldn't trade Jared Berggren for Rodney Williams.

1 comment:

  1. It's hard to get worked up about preseason lists, polls, etc., but Rodney Williams?
    I understand that guy has crazy athleticism, but he's had that for 3 previious seasons without doing much of anything. He still has no jumper, and if he was going to break out it would have been last year when Mbakwe was hurt, Iverson transfered and Sampson went in the tank.