Wisconsin Basketball: Expectations are sky-high for 2020-21 Badgers

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Jan 27, 2020; Iowa City, Iowa, USA; Wisconsin Badgers head coach Greg Gard and the Badgers bench react during the game against the Iowa Hawkeyes at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

The Wisconsin basketball team will officially start practice today. There are high expectations for this veteran squad this season.

The Wisconsin basketball team of 2019-2020 saw and overcame a lot of adversity.

First, assistant coach Howard Moore and his family were in a horrific car accident caused by a wrong-way driver where he lost his wife and daughter. He and his son survived, but he has had some setbacks in his recovery. This Wisconsin basketball team is a tight-knit group, so this accident hit them extremely hard.

They were also short a player, because Micah Potter, a transfer from Ohio State, was still waiting to be cleared by the NCAA, despite numerous petitions to make him eligible after other basketball players were granted eligibility immediately. It became a large source of frustration for the Wisconsin basketball team and Badger fans alike.

On top of that, their leading scorer in the conference, Kobe King, announced that he was going to transfer from the program.

So now, the Badgers lost an assistant coach, didn’t have an eligible player, and one of their top scorers decided to transfer mid-season. The 2019-2020 season felt like it was starting to go down the toilet and the Wisconsin basketball team could miss the NCAA tournament for the second time in three years.

Then, things started to turn around for the Badgers. Micah Potter was granted eligibility and could return when the Badgers faced UW-Milwaukee on December 21. At the time, Wisconsin was 5-5 and unranked. I don’t think I’ve seen a team pull such an epic turnaround in the middle of a season. Obviously, it wasn’t just Potter that caused the turnaround. After King left, other players started becoming bigger parts of the offense.

But, I will say, after Potter came back, the Badgers went on to have a 16-5 record, including winning their final eight games, giving them a record of 21-10 and a share of the Big Ten Championship. With tiebreakers, the Badgers got the number one seed for the Big Ten tournament, which would eventually get canceled because of the pandemic.

This Wisconsin basketball team overcame a lot of problems that would have knocked most teams down for the season. They are also returning most of their key players. Senior Brevin Pritzl is the only member of the 2019-2020 team that is gone. They are returning seven seniors who all have valuable playing time experience.

So let’s take a look at what the 2020-2021 Wisconsin basketball team will look like.

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