By Quinne Lowe @sports_qa on June 16, 2014
The Badgers fell short in their quest for a national championship in 2013-14, but Bo Ryan returns the majority of a roster that won 30 games and finished tied for second in the Big Ten. These five games are "must see" in 2014-15, and could very well determine if Badgers fans will need to make plans to be in Indianapolis for the 2015 Final Four
The Hawkeyes continue their ascension up the ranks of the Big Ten after finishing 2013-14 at 20-13 and making the NCAA Tournament. Last year they split the season series with the Badgers and forced the game at the Kohl center to go into double overtime. If nothing more, the opportunity to see two low post players: Frank Kaminsky and Adam Woodbury, battle one another makes this worth tuning into.
Unlike the Badgers, the Spartans head into 2014 with major roster turnover as their three top players have moved on. Despite the departures MSU cannot be overlooked since Tom Izzo is still their head coach and they do have some talent on the roster with led forward Branden Dawson and guard Travis Trice. It will be interesting to see which Badgers team shows up: the team that won by two in January or lost by 15 in the Big Ten Tournament
The Badgers split the season series with the Wolverines with the road team winning both games. Michigan is also dealing with roster changes but still have some scoring punch returning in Caris LeVert and Derrick Walton. The big question is, can the Badgers use their size to pound the smaller Wolverines in the paint and length disrupt the outside shooting that Michigan relies on so heavily?
The Blue Devils head to the Kohl Center in this years installment of the Big 10/ACC challenge. The teams met in 2009 with the Badgers winning 73-69. How quickly the younger Blue Devils jell as a unit will determining if they are capable of pulling off the upset. Duke has only one senior on the roster in Quinn Cook and we have yet to determine if he is ready to be "the man" in Durham.
The Badgers will be traveling to Nassau Bahamas to play in an early season tournament that includes power conference teams: UCLA, Florida and North Carolina. This is an opportunity for Wisconsin to prove that they will be a legitimate national championship contender in 2014-15 and they should be the favorite to win the tournament.
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