In an effort to preview the other ten teams in the Big Ten, I’m going to be conducting a series of interviews with other Big Ten hoops bloggers. We are going to kick it off with everyone’s favorite, Wisconsin and Bo Ryan’s swing offense. Hoops Marinara is one of the best Wisconsin hoops blogs around and Phil agreed to jump in and break down the Badgers.
Most feared player in the Big Ten?
The guy who ruined Wisconsin a couple of times last season was Minnesota’s Lawrence Westbrook, who thanks to some poor Badger defense, single-handedly turned two Wisconsin wins into losses. But the guy I actually fear the most is Manny Harris. He can clean the glass, dish and parade to the charity stripe. Wisconsin does as good a job checking him as anyone (career: 12 ppg, 35% FG), but he is still the obvious choice here. That’s the true compliment to his ability to explode at any time.
Predicted record (and conference record) for Wisconsin?
Looking at the schedule I see another NCAA Tournament team. Even though the Big Ten will be even better, I think the Badgers can duplicate last year’s 10-8 mark, heading into the conference tourney at 20-10 overall.
Any last words?
Wisconsin has a roster full of relatively unknown commodities, but are very talented nonetheless. The two biggest questions facing the 2009 Badgers are can they defend and will they be able to close out opponents in the final minutes. Those two elements eluded them last year and they still made the tournament. If that trend continues this year, Wisconsin won’t be able to keep up in the conference race.