Wisconsin (23-8)

BY foxsports • March 13, 2011

COACH: Bo Ryan, 10 years at Wisconsin, 10 years in NCAA tournament.

HOW THEY GOT IN: At-large bid.

GO-TO GUYS: Wisconsin boasts two elite scorers in junior point guard Jordan Taylor and senior forward Jon Leuer. Taylor (18.2 points per game, 4.8 assists per game), one of five finalists for the Cousy Award that goes to the nation's best point guard, transformed himself from an average jump shooter into a finsiher who can drill 3-pointers as well as power his way into the lane as necessary. Moreover, he's the nation's leader in assist-to-turnover ratio, so you can't rattle him into mistakes. The 6-foot-10 Leuer (18.9 ppg, 7.3 rpg) finished the regular season with 37 consecutive double-figure efforts. He's impressive from the 3-point arc (40 percent), but he also has a great right-handed jump hook in the post and he can put the ball on the floor if defenders crowd him on the outside. Senior center Keaton Nankivil sneaks around the 3-point line and makes opponents pay for focusing too much on Taylor and Leuer. Nankivil (10.3 ppg) made 47 percent of his 3s during the regular season (54 of 116).

X FACTOR: When Wisconsin rallied to stun top-ranked Ohio State on Feb. 12, sophomore forward Mike Bruesewitz delivered 10 of his 12 points in the second half. That included two clutch 3-pointers down the stretch. Wisconsin's sixth man also can put the ball on the floor and has a nice passing touch, so it's hard to know how to defend him. However, he was 14 of 29 on 3-pointers at home but 2 of 22 on 3-pointers everywhere else going into the Big Ten tournament.

STRENGTHS: Let's see. Wisconsin has two veterans who can get 20 points every night. The Badgers also are on pace to set NCAA Division I records for fewest turnovers per game (7.47) and best free-throw percentage (.827). That's why they've ranked at or near the top of Ken Pomeroy's national offensive efficiency ratings all season. The Badgers can also have four above-average 3-point threats on the floor at one time, which spreads out defenses and allows the swing offense to do its thing. And if their five starters are on the floor with Wisconsin winning late, who are opposing teams going to foul? The worst of the bunch shoots 85 percent from the line.

WEAKNESSES: Wisconsin isn't deep, particularly in the frontcourt. If either Leuer or Nankivil encounters foul trouble, it's up to Bruesewitz (6-6), sophomore swingman Ryan Evans (6-6) or lightly used sophomore Jared Berggren (6-10) to step in. The Badgers also allow opponents to shoot 38 percent from beyond the 3-point arc, although regular-season foes tried just 14 3s per game.


share story