A 4-1 trip is not bad at all.
After the first blip, against a team that knocked off both TCU and Towson along with taking Syracuse to overtime, Wisconsin settled down and overall had a nice trip.
Everyone on the team got some decent minutes and Bo was able to see guys play in different situations. It would have been nice to win all five, but the experience is even better. Every player played at least ten minutes in the Ryerson game and some got valuable overtime experience in the second A-Game game. It was a nice little preview of what is to come.
Here are a few points we can take from the preseason trip to Canada.
· The guard rotation. One way to solve the “we have too many guards” problem is to play a lot of guards. Yes, Dekker is a listed as a forward, but he plays like a guard. With Brust, Gasser, Jackson also starting, the Badgers are pretty much going with a four guard line-up. Personally, I like it. Yeah, the games will have a different flow to them, but it shows that Bo is willing to play the type of game that his personnel dictate. I would expect this to be the case to start the season unless Duje Dukan keeps improving.
· What a perfect segue into point number two: Dukan. It seems like every year someone comes out of nowhere to help the Badgers. All the talk in the offseason was about the freshmen post players playing a bigger role, and that still could be the case, but there was little to no talk about Dukan. Does he have parts of his game that he needs to work on? Of course, but the base of a productive guy off the bench is there. If he is able to shore up his defense enough to stop premier Big Ten big men, he will get his minutes.
· Along with that, I know there was a lot of talk on the Twitterverse about the Badgers playing poor defense. It is something worth talking about, but personally, I’m not too worried about it yet. First, the games were being played with a 24-second shot clock. This pretty much eliminates the Badgers ability to work the tempo and also leads to more possessions for each team. More possessions=more points (or at least you’d hope so…) Also, I’m sure the coaches wanted to see what the players had, and thus, held a longer leash. If the Badgers are still giving up a ton of points come November, then yes, I’ll be worried, but overall, the offense made-up for it, or I guess, at least took my mind off it.
· Who was the number one guy taking my mind off the amount of points given up? Sam Dekker. He is one talented basketball player. If he stays all four years (which, I think it a long shot) he has the chance to be one of the best Badgers ever. As I mentioned in Beyond the Box, this is his team. What helps is that he has a supporting cast, so he can’t be double-teamed without opening up other holes. This is especially be important come tournament time, where the more weapons a team has the better chance they have of moving on.
What did everyone else think? Should I be more worried about the defense? Any unknown difference makers on the team?