“Bo Ryan‘s best team ever?” That was the question being asked only a little more than a week ago.
A lot can change in the college basketball landscape over the course of eight days. It seems as if just yesterday, fans were praising the Wisconsin Badgers for their incredible 16-0 start to the season. Everything was clicking up in Madison and this team appeared to be a legitimate threat to reach the Final 4 in Dallas.
The Badgers had so many things working in their favor. A veteran, cohesive starting lineup with no stars, but five really solid players. A coach in Ryan who, say what you want about him, just wins — consistently. Everybody knows the book on the Badgers: slow, methodical and almost certain to take up all 35 seconds on the shot clock.
But this team was different — and still is.
After a monstrous non-conference schedule that saw the Badgers beat the likes of Florida, Saint Louis, Marquette and Virginia all before marching out to that 16-0 start, the team has slipped up a bit of late in Big 10 conference play. And I’m here to say that’s just fine. The Big 10 is an absolute beast this year. I’ve learned my lesson: never count out Bo Ryan and Wisconsin. The guy’s a proven winner and constantly has his teams doing more with less.
Losing three straight games is surely not good, but in the nation’s elite basketball conference, it’s certainly understandable. Wisconsin’s losses are not even close to being considered bad ones either. Indiana and Minnesota are tough, hostile environments to play in. Not to mention, both of those teams will be dancin’ come March.
So while all you Badger fans are probably ready to panic, I’m telling you not to. Ryan will figure it out and get this team back on track and into contention for a Big 10 Championship. Sam Dekker will continue to mature into a big time player and who knows, Frank Kaminsky might go off for 43 again.
It’s a rough stretch, but nothing more and nothing less. It’s just the cruelty of the Big 10.
Matthew Sturgeon is a College Basketball writer for RantSports.com. You can follow him on twitter @OfficialSturg27