The Wisconsin Badgers look to improve upon a season that saw them lose to the #12 seeded Ole Miss Rebels in the 2nd round of the NCAA Tournament with an improving young talent.

Bracket Busters

Many brackets and basketball picks were destroyed last season as people had Wisconsin going as far as the Final Four. They had a superb defensive club and players like Jarred Berggren and Ben Brust came up with some huge key baskets last year; just ask Michigan.

Image previewSo Long Seniors

The Badgers lose Jared Berggren (11 points, 6.9 rebounds), Ryan Evans (10.1 points, 7.3 rebounds), and Mike Bruesewitz (6.4 points, 5.3 rebounds) to graduation. Unlike most teams, they don’t have the gawdy numbers, but these are solid college players that protected the glass and made Wisky one of the best defenses in the country.

Brust, a Must

Luckily for the Badgers, they get a little experience back in senior guard Ben Brust. Brust isn’t all about the numbers despite leading the Badgers in scoring. He’s a money player that can put up the big shot at the end of the game. Wisconsin is a team that beat Michigan twice last season and my lasting impression of Ben Brust is a half court heave to put the Badgers in overtime and pick up a huge victory. Brust is emotional and will inspire the younger players on the squad.

Immediate Impact

Freshman and ESPN top 100 recruit, Nigel Hayes, will get an immediate chance to start in the 2013-2014 season and can provide Wisconsin with some much needed offense to go with their top notch defense.

Hayes is money from anything within 19 feet of the basket, can score in the low post, and can catch and shoot. Look for an immediate contribution from this 6 foot 7 power forward.

Although Lacrosse, Wisconsin native, Bronson Koenig, is not expected to crack the starting lineup, I expect this point guard to surprise some people even though being ranked 6th in the state of Wisconsin in guards, Koenig can play point guard and off guard. He’s a true quarterback that has good court vision and can set others up. Keep your eye out in the future for this young man.

Expected Starting Lineup

As mentioned, Ben Brust and Nigel Hayes will start along with Frank Kaminsky (4.2 points, 1.8 rebounds, 10.3 minutes), Traevon Jackson (6.9 points, 2.8 assists, 2.5 rebounds), and Sam Dekker (9.6 points, 3.4 rebounds).

Kaminsky as the big man will have to make the biggest transition as he didn’t see much playing time last year and Dekker and Jackson will be a much bigger factor offensively with the loss of Berggren. With the exception of Brust, this is a very young team, but the one thing that will keep them in ball games is their exceptional defense and ability to protect the boards.

Whose Going To Win the National Championship?

Kentucky is listed as the big favorite at +400 on the NCAAB odds boards, but after last season, I don’t like the price; I don’t care about their 1 year pickups. Duke is very appealing at the price of +1200 with top recruit Jabari Parker coming into Cameron Indoor Stadium and then you have Wisconsin at +5000.

Folks, don’t waste your money with this team. No disrespect intended, but they lack the offense to be a top contender. If they got further than the 2nd round in the Big Dance, this season would be a success. This is an up and coming team and their defense will keep them in games against more highly skilled offensive oriented teams in the nation.