Wisconsin Basketball: Looking Ahead to 2014-15

By Matthew Sturgeon
Wisconsin Badgers
Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

The Wisconsin Badgers just completed one of the most successful seasons in school history. They won 30 games, were ranked as high as No. 3 nationally, recorded yet another top four finish in the loaded Big Ten Conference and also reached the Final Four. The scary part about all of this is that the team should be even better in 2014-15.

Led by one of the more underrated coaches in all of college basketball in Bo Ryan, the Badgers are a model of consistency. Each and every year they boast a terrific team centered around the principles of tough, smart and mistake-free basketball. This season only strengthened that assessment as Wisconsin committed the fewest turnovers per game in the entire country.

Oftentimes when people think of Wisconsin basketball, they picture a slow and borderline boring style of play. To an extent  that’s true, but at the same time, the style Ryan uses has proven to continuously work. Furthermore, it’s difficult to knock a coach and program that have appeared in 13 straight NCAA Tournaments and enjoyed so much success.

What had been missing from Ryan’s phenomenal resume was that elusive first Final Four appearance. Now that he has that, the next step becomes cutting down the nets and winning a national championship. The 2014-15 Badgers will be very capable of doing just that.

The only notable departure is senior guard Ben Brust. Make no mistake about it; Brust is a big loss and was a fantastic four-year player under Ryan. His clutch shot-making ability and excellent defense will surely be missed. Having said that, though, there are more than a few players on this roster who are capable of admirably replacing him. Depending on whether Ryan chooses to go big or small with his starting lineup, Bronson Koenig or Nigel Hayes will take Brust’s place.

One of those two will join perhaps the country’s most complete starting five with breakout tournament star Frank Kaminsky, talented wing Sam Dekker, defensive specialist and knockdown three-point shooter Josh Gasser and to be senior point guard and team leader Traevon Jackson.

It’s safe to say next year in Madison will be quite a fun one. If this isn’t the preseason No. 1 team heading into 2014-15, let me know who is.

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

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