Wisconsin Basketball: Badgers Move Up in ESPN Way Too Early Rankings

In ESPN’s way too early top-25 rankings, the Wisconsin Basketball team is on the rise once again as they move further into the top-10.

For much of the 2019-2020 season for the Wisconsin Basketball team, it was very up and down, to say the least. We saw winning streaks, losing streaks, an inability to score, and the departure of Kobe King about halfway through the season.

However, in typical Wisconsin fashion, they came together and went on a run through the Big Ten Conference during the final month of the season. The Badgers would win their final eight regular-season games, including 9 out of 10 to grab a share of the Big Ten Regular Season Title.

Over that final stretch and after sitting out the first few months of the season due to transferring, Micah Potter became a force for the Badgers and the combination of him and Nate Reuvers in the frontcourt became a very formidable one as well.

On top of that to go along with their already stout defensive performances, the Badgers perimeter shooting really improved. During their eight-game winning streak, as a team, they would shoot 41 percent from deep, including three games where they hit at least 47 percent of their shots from 3.

While unfortunately the season was cut short and we weren’t able to see this red-hot Badger team in the Big Ten Tournament or the NCAA Tournament, as we look ahead to the upcoming season it is one that has high expectations.

During Wisconsin’s final game against Indiana this past season, they started Brad Davison, D’Mitrik Trice, Nate Reuvers, Micah Potter, and Aleem Ford, all of which will be returning. In fact, the only player who saw regular playing time that won’t be back is Brevin Pritzl.

Of the five returning starters, they accounted for 51.5 of Wisconsin’s points per game this past season along with 23.4 of their total rebounds, and the group averaged 26.4 minutes per game of playing time. Not to mention that Tyler Wahl and Trevor Anderson who played 15 and 12 minutes per game, respectively, will also be back off the bench.

And of course, we can’t forget about the incoming class of recruits that ranks 27th nationally and fourth in the Big Ten, led by 4-star recruit Ben Carlson, along with Johnny and Jordan Davis among others.

Add all of that together and as I said above, you get some high expectations. With many sites posting their way too early top-25 rankings, the Badgers are sitting pretty. Especially when it comes to ESPN’s recent rankings which bumped Wisconsin up two spots from 9th to 7th, which is the second-best in the Big Ten, just behind No. 5 Iowa.

Jeff Borzello who put the rankings together would mention the “one-two punch” that is Reuvers and Potter along with the five returning starters as major factors for the Badgers rise up his rankings.

In today’s era of college basketball, we don’t see many top teams with that much experience on the court at one time but it’s that experience that often leads to successful seasons and deep runs in the NCAA Tournament.

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Just think, back in January we didn’t know if this Wisconsin Basketball team was even going to make the Big Dance, but they would end the season as Big Ten Champs and ranked 11th nationally. Now, they could very well receive a top-10 preseason ranking and all signs point to a big season ahead.