“Roll Out the Barrel” has been widely regarded as Wisconsin’s unofficial state song as you can hear it at almost every sporting event and of course at weddings held across the Badger state. One thing the Wisconsin Badgers basketball team is doing this season so far is rolling, jumping out to an impressive 10-0 start for the second time in school history.
A big reason for the hot start is not the play of just one or two players, this is a complete team effort. All five starters for Bo Ryan are averaging double figures in points per game, led by Frank Kaminsky with 14.6. Emerging star Sam Dekker is right behind Kaminsky adding 14.4 ppg with Ben Brust (11.4), Traevon Jackson (11.2) and Josh Gasser (10.4) all contributing as well.
But it’s not just the starters, it’s the players coming off the bench that have provided quality minutes. Junior Duje Dukan may only be averaging 3.9 points per game this season, but in the opener against St. John’s he showed he can shoot the ball scoring 15 points in the victory. Anytime a starter needs rest or gets into early foul trouble, Dukan can be trusted on by Bo Ryan.
Speaking of being trusted, freshmen Nigel Hayes and Bronson Koenig are averaging over 14 minutes a game with more being expected of them as the season goes on. With more playing time comes more experience, which in turn makes these two more comfortable in the offense and defense which will only help the Badgers in the future.
An X-factor with this team is that they are able to push the ball up the floor and play with a more up-tempo style of offense, something we have not seen from Wisconsin in recent years. In my opinion the faster play fits this team to a T. Gone are the days where the Badgers squeak out a 49-44 nail biter (well with the exception of the Virginia game), and hello to the scoring frenzy. Ok they won’t get close to scoring 103 again like they did against North Dakota, but they’re not afraid to light up the scoreboard either.
Roll out the barrel, this Badgers team sure is having a barrel of fun. Fans are having fun watching this impressive start.