Wisconsin’s 5 Most Important Players in 2014 NCAA Tournament

2014 NCAA Tournament: Wisconsin's 5 Most Important Players

Bo Ryan, Wisconsin Badgers
Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

This could be Bo Ryan’s best offensive team during his tenure with a collection of shooters and two big men who can score inside. On the other hand, their defense is not as impressive as it has been in past years. More specifically, the team struggles with dribble-drive guards and lengthy teams with big men who can rebound. Here are the five most important players on the Badgers’ roster this season.

5. Nigel Hayes

Nigel Hayes Wisconsin Badgers
Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

5. Nigel Hayes Wisconsin Badgers

Nigel Hayes Wisconsin Badgers
Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

Nigel Hayes is one of the most impressive freshman to play for the Badgers from an athletic standpoint since Devin Harris. Fortunately for the team, Hayes’ game is not all athleticism. He is surprisingly polished for a freshman, and he offers an inside post game with savvy moves that often land him on the free throw stripe. If you give him too much space, he will square up to the hoop and shoot from 15 feet out. Hayes is a key cog off the bench.

4. Josh Gasser

Josh Gasser
Nelson Chenault-USA Today Sports

4. Josh Gasser

Josh Gasser
Nelson Chenault-USA Today Sports

After tearing his ACL before last season, expectations for Josh Gasser this year were hard to predict. Gasser came back strong and has shown an improve bounce in his step over the last few weeks—which is expected from someone recovering from that injury. Gasser is the best on ball defender on the team, and he is also one of the team’s best three-point shooters. He is also a very consistent free-throw shooter and a team leader.

3. Ben Brust

Ben Brust
Getty Images

3. Ben Brust

Ben Brust
Getty Images

Senior Ben Brust might be the most underrated player on the entire team. Although he doesn’t receive many accolades, Brust is a sure ball-handler and you can count on him to knock down every open three-pointer. This season, he has shown the ability to create off the dribble and hit pull up mid-range field goals. If there’s a big clutch play in the Badgers' future, don’t be surprised when you see the camera pan to the back of his jersey.

2. Sam Dekker

Sam Dekker Wisconsin Badgers
Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

2. Sam Dekker

Sam Dekker Wisconsin Badgers
Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

To most diehard Badgers fans, Sam Dekker’s 2013 season has been somewhat of a disappointment. Before the season, he was billed by some to be an upcoming lottery pick in the NBA based on his size, shooting and ability to create off the dribble. While Dekker has flashed these abilities at times during the season, he has rarely, if ever, put it together for a full game. At times it seems like Dekker is too passive.

1. Frank Kaminsky

Frank Kaminsky Wisconsin Badgers
Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

1. Frank Kaminsky

Frank Kaminsky Wisconsin Badgers
Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

Frank Kaminsky has developed his game over the course of his three seasons with the Badgers, and he is a more complete player now than ever before. Earlier in his career, Kamisnky was simply a stretch big man who could knock down a long-range shot. While that part of his game is still present, Kaminsky has developed into a shot blocker and a solid rebounder as well. On the offensive end, he has developed a few sweet moves in the post.

Around the Web