Wisconsin Basketball: Final Four Berth Solidifies Bo Ryan's Greatness

By Matthew Sturgeon
Bo Ryan, Wisconsin Badgers
Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

As far as coaching goes, Wisconsin‘s Bo Ryan is as good as it gets in the game of college basketball.

The 66-year-old and 13-year boss of the Badgers has truly had a remarkable career. He got his head coaching start at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville in 1984 and all he did was win four Division III NCAA championships there. Not too shabby if I do say so myself. Then, in 1999, he went on to take over at UW Milwaukee for two successful seasons before finally settling down in the great college sports town of Madison.

As 13 seasons have come and gone, Ryan is now currently the second longest tenured coach in the Big Ten Conference behind only Michigan State‘s Tom Izzo.

In his 13 years at the helm, the Badgers have been known for their tough, smart and consistent brand of play. Oh, and their slow, controlled tempo of offense, too. Many people are quick to criticize the fact that they play slow or even boring at times, but hey, whatever it takes to win, right?

And winning is all Bo has done. For 13 straight seasons now, Wisconsin has had a top four finish in the nation’s toughest conference. Furthermore, 13 straight seasons with 13 straight NCAA Tournament appearances — pretty incredible.

Ryan is the epitome of consistency when it comes to college basketball, yet for whatever reason, he does not receive the national respect that he so rightfully deserves. Maybe it had a little something to do with the fact that entering this season, he had never coached a team to the Final Four. Perhaps, but now, that’s no longer the case.

Ryan’s Badgers are riding high into Dallas after a torrid run through the NCAA Tourney’s South Region. They’re a veteran bunch that is experienced, cohesive and extremely tough to beat. And obviously, they’re very well coached, too.

The point that I’m trying to make is that Bo Ryan deserves a lot more praise than he gets. Few, if any, college hoops programs are more consistent and reliable than his. With the Wisconsin Badgers, you know what to expect and what you do expect is what you’re undeniably going to get.

There’s nothing exceptional or even remotely exciting about his style of coaching or the way his teams play. Well, maybe America’s new favorite player Frank Kaminsky, but that’s it. In all seriousness, though, his teams are disciplined, don’t make mistakes and never beat themselves. Teams of that nature are extremely hard to find.

For 28 seasons, Ryan’s recipe for success has worked. For 28 seasons, he’s done it the right way. And now that he’s reached that elusive first Final Four, the coach is finally receiving the notoriety that he’s earned as one of college basketball’s elite.

Matthew Sturgeon is a College Basketball Writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @OfficialSturg27

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