As 2012 comes to a close and the preparations for a new season, a new coaching staff, and exciting expectations begin in football, the basketball team transitions through a tougher than expected start to the season. It's time to make some timely New Year's resolutions.
Don't worry, I'm not gonna ask for anybody to lose weight or anything, and I'm sure one of these will be broken quickly. But as the weirdest December on record comes to a close? The future becomes a necessary and obvious topic of discussion. So join me as I make resolutions I have no control over and no way to keep.
Resolved: Win the Rose Bowl.
I mean, really. This one should go without saying.
Resolved: Badger basketball to be at least 16-10 by February 20th.
This is where the Badgers have to be in order to consider themselves safe enough for a return trip to the NCAA Tournament. It's not a high level they have to perform at either. 8-6 in their next 14 games. And then the schedule has four very winnable games to get them to 20 going in to the Big Ten Tournament.
Resolved: Montee Ball gets drafted on the second day by a team that could use him.
If he can pull out a great 40-yard dash time, Ball could sneak into the upper reaches of the second round. He came back and still performed spectacularly despite a team that had some severe growing pains. Some team is going to love his Matt Forte-ish style. I would rather he lands on a team where he'll get playing time, than as an insurance policy.
Watching him run was, and is, something great.
Resolved: A more assertive Sam Dekker.
If he had Ryan Evans' temerity to shoot, I feel as if we would be more excited about the way that he was playing. Not saying it as an insult, as he is playing rather well. But the classic statistical tipping point is coming into play. Dekker at 10 PPG just feels better than Dekker at 9.
And we all know he can play some good hero ball too.
Though he would have looked rather foolish if that kid from Racine Lutheran hit that half-courter.
Resolved: A consistent second receiving option.
The fact that Jacob Pedersen never really stepped into the role of a second consistent receiving option killed the Badgers on more than one occasion. I'll be honest, if Jared Abbraderis goes pro, the passing game will become one of those red loud klaxons of a question mark going into 2013. Jordan Frederick and Derek Watt both have some pass-catching upside, and both are rather youthful.
One of them has to step up.
Resolved: Stop listening to those preseason magazines.
Depending on who declares and who comes back? There's a real chance we could have a massive amount of expectations for the football team in 2013. We need to let the hype train go by. You ride the hype train for a couple of weeks, and then you crash it into the ditch. And you're sore. You're hurt, and you're cursing the name of Chad Kahua'aha'a.
We need to take a step back if Phil Steele screams about a three-peat. We still don't know if it's Bart Houston or Joel Stave next year. We could lose a second offensive lineman. Injuries could strike hard again. It's not as if 2013 should be worse than 2012. But it might be.
And 2012 wasn't exactly us at our best.
But seriously, I feel like a part of the reason why this year felt so roller coastery was the unbearable burden of high expectations. And man, I like whimsy, you know?