Wisconsin Basketball’s Five Things To Get Excited About
Wisconsin basketball is tipping off versus Central Arkansas tonight. They are one of the favorites to begin the season. After surprising the college basketball world to come back from the dead thanks to Greg Gard who replaced Bo Ryan midseason, this year will have a different feel to it. What will be fun to watch is if Wisconsin will have a little different look with a full offseason under Gard.
1. Nigel Hayes, senior season – He is one of the most notable seniors returning for his final year of college basketball. Hayes is on an interesting path for his career. He had some issues last season with relying on getting fouled and making a majority of his points from the free throw line. He scored more points per game, but the field goal and three point percentage both dipped for him. Hayes has been saying there’s work left to be done for his career. If Hayes has a more diverse game, he could be a contender for National Player of the Year.
2. Final Four again? – Wisconsin is one of the teams being talked about for the Final Four. This is nothing new for this group of players, and it’s justified given what they have coming back. Badgers are the favorite in the Big 10, but like most years, the conference is very competitive. Michigan State is young but talented, Purdue is right there as well and Maryland brings back Melo Trimble. It wouldn’t be surprising if Wisconsin ended up with a top seed in the NCAA Tournament in March.
3. Ethan Happ might end up being the star – When it’s all said and done this season, Hayes might not be the man. That honor could belong to Ethan Happ. He’s a monster down low and continues to work on his outside game which allows Happ to stretch the floor more often. He’s a true talent, and a double-double machine for Wisconsin. It would be surprising if Happ takes a step back this season. He had one dip last season but bounced back in a big way to finish the season. It will be interesting to watch how he progresses this season.
4. Wisconsin’s bench is too loaded to not have someone come up big – It’s unknown yet who is going to be the premier bench player for Wisconsin, but they have a lot of options. Jordan Hill, Khalil Iverson, Charles, don’t call me Charlie, Thomas and Brevin Pritzl are all names who can be huge for Badgers off the bench. Pritzl isn’t getting enough attention so far. He can really shoot and a solid recruit out of high school. Don’t be surprised if he ends up being a vital part to their second unit.
5. Bronson Koenig’s continued growth – There are things to like about Bronson Koenig’s game like the ability to drive to the basket, take over the game from a scoring perspective or his clutch shootin yet there’s still he could be even better. Koenig has never been an assist-first point guard, but imagine if he could add three a game? Wisconsin could be really dangerous this season. Even if the assists don’t come, Wisconsin has one of the best big threes in the country with Hayes, Happ and Koenig.