With March Madness coming to a close, college basketball will soon be on the back burner of sports discussion. Before we switch our focus entirely to the football team's spring practice and the remainder of its offseason, lets take a look ahead to what's on the table for the next edition of Wisconsin basketball.
Wisconsin obviously loses five seniors in Jared Berggren, Ryan Evans, Mike Bruesewitz, Dan Fahey and J.D. Wise. It's no secret the frontcourt will be extremely depleted with the loss of three seniors who started in the post last season.
Where does this leave the Badgers for this fall?
I've had the discussion numerous times with friends in the last few weeks regarding next year's starting lineups. It's a bit premature to make these predictions now, but I think it'd be an interesting discussion while basketball season is still fresh in our minds. Once the season actually begins, I'd also be curious to see what the consensus -- or arguments -- were on who should start and come off the bench for the Badgers next season.
There's a few different options when it comes to the starting lineup, but I think it's safe to at least pencil in Frank Kaminsky at center -- who's really the only option at the five -- and Sam Dekker as a guard/forward. Besides those two, it's a bit more open. I also fully expect guard Ben Brust to be a starter again. He started all 35 games for UW last season and averaged over 20 minutes per game the previous season. I don't envision head coach Bo Ryan scaling his role back, considering the great strides he's made in his game and the fact that he'll be a senior next season, too.
If those three are indeed starters -- and you certainly can disagree with me -- we're left with two remaining spots.
The contenders? Point guard Traevon Jackson, guard Josh Gasser, guard George Marshall, guard Zak Showalter, guard/forward Zach Bohannon and if you really want to stretch, Evan Anderson. I can't even take myself seriously after putting Anderson on this list, but I might as well hash out all the options. Besides these current UW players, the Badgers will add five more incoming freshmen to the team. Out of those freshmen, there's been talk that highly-touted point guard Bronson Koenig and forwards Nigel Hayes and Vitto Brown are capable of receiving significant playing time as freshmen.
I can't see Gasser not being in the starting lineup after how crushing it was to this year's squad. Not to mention, Gasser played big-time minutes as a sophomore and is heralded as the team's best defensive player on the perimeter.
For the final spot, I see one of two options occurring. Either Ryan goes with a guard-heavy lineup -- Jackson or Koenig, along with Gasser, Brust, Dekker and Kaminksy -- or he starts a freshman in the frontcourt. If he goes with the latter, I see it being Gasser, Brust, Dekker, Hayes or Brown and Kaminsky at the five.
That's somewhat how I see it unfolding, but how do you see it? Will we see Koenig, Hayes or Brown in the starting lineup? Will Jackson remain the starting point guard? Where does Gasser fit in after returning from an ACL injury?
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