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Badgers Basketball: Evaluation at the Halfway Point

We have reached the halfway point of the 2013-14 Wisconsin Badgers basketball season and are just starting to sink our teeth into the daunting Big Ten schedule. The Badgers are off to their best start in school history. Ever. At 16-0 lets take a look back at the first half of the season and see how the Badgers have gotten here so far.

This is not the same Bo Ryan coached team that we are all used to. Gone, for the most part, is the same old boring, swing the ball around and run the shot clock down until you get a good shot. Now it’s more of an uptempo Wisconsin team and obviously it has worked thus far.

Wisconsin is averaging 76.4 points per game this season, compare that to last year’s squad who averaged 65 points per game and you can easily see how much more of a scoring threat this team is. A lot of it has to do with more balanced scoring. The Badgers have four players who are averaging double figures in scoring, led by sophomore Sam Dekker with 14.3 ppg. Junior Frank Kaminsky is having a surprise year, averaging 13.6 ppg, second on the team in scoring.

Guards Ben Brust and Traevon Jackson round out the top scorers in double figures with 13.1 and 10.8 ppg respectively.

The Badgers have won games scoring as little as 48 points and as much as 103 points (crazy to think a Bo Ryan team scoring that much, huh?). In fact a little nugget of fun information I saw on ESPN said that Wisconsin has won games scoring in the 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and 100’s this season.

It’s not just their offense that is firing on all cylinders, their defense has been pretty good as well. The Badgers have allowed only 61.1 points per game, good enough for 19th in the nation. That is due to how well they work as a team and force teams to take bad shots, with opponents shooting just 40% from the floor against them.

And they don’t commit too many fouls either. Want to hear another crazy stat boys and girls? Of course you do!

Wisconsin has made more free throws (272) than the opposition has attempted (225) all year. Rarely has this team been in foul trouble and have done a nice job adjusting to the new rules put in place before the season started.

But there’s always room for improvement as coach Ryan will be the first to point out. One would be better free throw output from some of their star players, especially Dekker who has struggled this season from the charity stripe. Another would be grabbing more rebounds on both ends of the floor.

And even though I don’t think it’s a huge concern, but I can imagine that coach Ryan would like the defense tightened up especially heading into the meat of conference play and as we get closer to March.

Look it’s been a great season so far for this team and been really fun for fans all over to watch. While there’s always room for improvement, there’s no denying that the Wisconsin Badgers are one of the best teams in the nation. Now it’s time for the rest of the country to start realizing that.

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Tags: Badgers Basketball Bo Ryan Frank Kaminsky Sam Dekker Wisconsin Badgers

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