There has been constant chatter about the Wisconsin Badgers ability to bounce back from the loss of Jordan Taylor and then his replacement Josh Gasser. Once again, depth proves to be the key for this Badger team.
In their final exhibition game against UW-Oshkosh, the Badgers had five players score in double figures. Bo Ryan is happy with the balance of his team and acknowledges the difficulty of playing in the Big Ten with only a couple star players.
Not only did the five starters have an equal contribution, but also the Badger bench provided them with 34 points. This is somewhat of a new aspect for the Badgers, as they have mostly relied on their starters for scoring in the past.
If this consistent scoring continues, the Badgers will be a major threat and will be hard to guard. They have five players that are willing to step up and make a play, different from last year where everyone watched and waited for Jordan Taylor to make something happen.
Taylor was a tremendous point guard and was instrumental in the success of the Badgers, but with the loss of him, the Badgers knew they were going to all need to step up to fill that spot. So far, they have responded to it well.
George Marshall had is first debut as a starting point guard after spending the past season on the scout team going against Jordan Taylor everyday. Marshall will need to continue to focus on directing his team on the court, which will come with getting more game experience.
Traevon Jackson, the other point guard for the Badgers dished out four assists in his first game. It will be interesting to see which point guard develops faster over the course of the season. In my opinion, whichever point guard can take control of the team, communicate and direct will see the most playing time.
The balanced scoring allows the Badgers to not only get scoring from guards, but also focus on utilizing their size inside this year. Jared Berggren went 7-10, highlighting the game with a couple fierce dunks and adding to the Badgers dominant performance on the boards, out rebounding their opponent 46-18.
The use of the post position in the Badger offense will relieve pressure off of the guards and allow them the ability to open things up for them on the perimeter.
This was an exhibition so it is not nearly the level of competition the Badgers will face as they enter their preseason and Big Ten conference. Just two games in, the Badgers will play Florida, one of the predicted best teams in the nation.
Bo Ryan certainly hopes their depth will continue to be an asset as they start their season on Sunday against Southeastern Louisiana.