Jordan Taylor’s graduation left an enormous void at the point guard position for the Wisconsin Badgers heading into the upcoming season. Josh Gasser was expected to help fill that void and do it admirably.
The expectation that Gasser could fill in for Taylor became impossible Saturday when Gasser tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee at practice. He will miss the entire season.
Gasser was not going to replace Taylor’s production, but he should have been able provide plenty from the point guard position. He averaged 7.6 points and 4.2 rebounds as a sophomore. These numbers, although seemingly modest, were expected to increase with his role adjustment this season. In Wisconsin’s slower paced offense, he would have been an effective point guard.
Now the Badgers will turn to either redshirt freshman George Marshall or sophomore Traevon Jackson, who played just 92 minutes last season. The inexperience will hurt Wisconsin, as will losing Gasser’s versatility, size and defense at point guard.
The Badgers are now down two starters as forward Mike Bruesewitz is already expected to miss some time with a leg injury. With the injuries, Ben Brust, Jared Berggren and Ryan Evans will have to step up their play and leadership as the only returnees with major playing experience. Freshman Sam Dekker should also see plenty of minutes because of the injuries.
Wisconsin was ranked 23’rd in the AP preseason poll released Friday. These expectations must now be adjusted. Without Gasser and with a stacked Big 10 conference, The Badgers could be in for a rough season. Then again, Bo Ryan should never be underestimated.