Wisconsin Basketball: 3 Badgers Storylines Heading into Big Ten Play

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Dec 15, 2015; Madison, WI, USA; Wisconsin associate head coach Greg Gard talks to the media during the post-game news conference at the Kohl Center. Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan (not pictured) announced his immediate retirement after the game with the Texas A&M CC Islanders. Mandatory Credit: Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

Greg Gard’s Coaching Performance

Interim head coach Greg Gard is 1-0 following a win against Green Bay on Dec. 23. Although he spent the last 23 years as Bo Ryan’s assistant, Gard made a few changes in his first game as the head man. The Badgers have typically rotated eight players deep in their regular rotation, but nine players saw the floor midway through the first half, including sophomore Jordan Hill, who shined in his first extended playing time. Also, Gard returned to the swing offense, which has been absent from Wisconsin basketball in recent years.

Athletic director Barry Alvarez has made it clear that he will conduct a national search for Ryan’s replacement following the season, which is why Ryan retired at the time he did. This way, Gard essentially has a tryout to be the permanent head coach. Former Wisconsin coach Dick Bennett retired three games into the 2000-01 season to give way to Brad Soderberg, which did not work out, as Ryan was hired prior to the next season.

It would be unfair to place full blame on Gard if the Badgers do not to reach the NCAA tournament with how much the team has struggled prior to him being in charge. However, a midseason turnaround that results in a tournament appearance should go a long way in Alvarez’s offseason decision. It will be interesting to see Wisconsin complete a full Big Ten schedule with out Bo Ryan.

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