Badger Bits: Breaking Down UW's Starting Five

Greg M. Cooper-US PRESSWIRE

The initial release of the Badgers projected starters brings a few surprises.

Yesterday, Jeff Potrykus of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel released the projected starting lineup for the UW men's basketball team to open the season. Phil Mitten of B5Q did a nice job providing some of his initial impressions on the lineup, following the news from Potrykus. I would like to expand on what Phil wrote yesterday and provide my own insight on Bo Ryan's preseason starter selections:

Ben Brust in starting lineup shows lack of experience in backcourt, but his progression as well

It's a bit scary to see a starting backcourt consisting of George Marshall and Ben Brust. Personally, I'm all for the decision to start Marshall. It's not ideal, but given Gasser's injury, I believe he's the next best man for the job. On the other hand, I was not particularly impressed by Brust a season ago. He started off strong in non-conference play, but as the season progressed he wasn't shooting quite as well from long range — which his main role was to contribute as a spot-up shooter. I'm a bit worried at the notion of Brust starting, but he does have plenty of in-game experience and at least in the Red/White Scrimmage, he looked much more confident. He appeared sharper, particularly in his ball handling skills, which certainly needed improvement from last season.

Dekker will be starting soon enough

Sam Dekker is much too talented to come off the bench for the Badgers this season, but don't overreact to the news he likely won't start from Day 1. I would expect Dekker to replace Frank Kaminsky as a starter in the coming weeks, once he polishes his game a bit more. I also like the decision to initially bring Dekker off the bench (likely in a sixth man role) to help subdue the already high expectations for him — at least to start the season.

Badgers offensive style benefits Marshall

It's an uphill battle for anyone to replace Jordan Taylor, but I think the Badgers' swing-style offense will ease the transition for George Marshall (and Traevon Jackson). In this offense, the point guards will mainly be called upon for ball security and controlling the offense. But the swing offense should make it easier for Marshall and Jackson to distribute the ball than in more traditional systems. They aren't as responsible for creating shots for others, since the ball is constantly moving around the top of the key, until something opens up. I'm not diminishing their role, but I think Bo's style plays into their favor. Marshall and Jackson's role in the offense will also be far different from Taylor's last season. Taylor was relied upon too heavily to create his own shot, and this year's point guards will certainly not be expected to rack up big points every night.

Let Nathan know what you think of his preseason analysis in the comments section below.

You can also tweet at him or follow him on Twitter @napalm2 for more coverage of UW athletics.

Tuesday's Links:

Point guard Traevon Jackson made some physical developments over the offseason and is ready for a greater role this season.

Joel Stave could potentially return for the Badgers bowl game, but says it isn't worth the risk (VIDEO).

Not a fan of these type of articles (ones with interesting history, but have absolutely no correlation to the play on the field), but Andy Baggot says why past history shows the Badgers football team usually doesn't fair well on election years.

Jim Polzin takes a look at the upcoming week for UW men's basketball.

You may not expect much from Zach Bohannon this season, but he's gritty, so expect him to be in Bo Ryan's rotation.

Camp Randall's student section apathy called out by columnist for The Daily Cardinal.

In typical Bret Bielema fashion, Danny O'Brien and Curt Phillips were listed as co-starters for the Indiana game.

The Week 11 bowl predictions are out for BTN. See where Tom Dienhart has the Badgers going this week.

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