Here we are in the midst of another Big Ten race and what do you know Bo Ryan’s Wisconsin Badgers are once again surprising.
It’s a familiar role for Bo’s club.
Rarely is Wisconsin given much respect from the so-called experts as they often think this is the year the Badgers finish in the conference’s lower division.
However, you would think the pundits would have learned by now. Bo gets his teams to overachieve. Always has and always will.
I would pose to you the question: Is there a better coach in America than Bo? Maybe I should say it this way: Is there a coach in America that gets more out of less than Bo?
To be fair, Wisconsin has had some talented players in Ryan’s 11 previous seasons in Madison. This year, though, when star point guard Josh Gasser went down with a season-ending knee injury, there wasn’t a whole lot to work with leading those, including myself, to believe this would be a long year for the Badgers.
But no. Bo knows how to coach, knows how to motivate, knows how to get his teams to play out of their minds hard and simply knows how to get the most out of his players.
As a result, Wisconsin is sitting as the lone undefeated team in Big Ten play at 4-0, sporting a 13-4 overall record.
Last night’s stunning upset at No. 2 Indiana was yet another example of Bo getting his team to simply outplay its opponent and win a game that from a talent standpoint it has no business winning.
Don’t tell Bo his team has this deficiency or that deficiency though. He’ll shoot you a stern look and say it executes what is required of it. It runs Bo’s swing offense very well, maximizing every possession and requiring opponents to play defense for long periods of time. It also takes care of the basketball. Entering last night’s game it turned the ball over every 14.2 possessions to lead the nation. And it really gets after you on the defensive end where it leads the Big Ten.
Now people will pay attention to Bo’s team after knocking off the mighty Hoosiers, but at the end of the day we really should never have discounted his Badgers.
None of his Wisconsin teams has ever finished worse than fourth in the Big Ten. The Badgers have more conference road wins than any other team since 2000-01 and they beat IU like a drum (11 straight and counting).
Will Wisconsin stun the college basketball world and win the Big Ten? Twenty-four hours ago I would’ve said no way, but after watching this team get IU, the nation’s highest scoring team, to play its tempo leads me to believe Bo’s team will be awfully tough to beat.
Continue to write off the Badgers and say how boring they are to watch. Bo’s bunch will just keep on winning and when all is said and done they just might have toppled the mighty Hoosiers, Wolverines and Buckeyes in the process.
Doug Griffiths is a columnist/writer for RantSports. Follow him on Twitter @ISLgriffiths.