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B5Q Mailbag: Off-season edition

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I love the start of baseball season but when Wisconsin doesn't have a baseball team and my White Sox are a very craptastic 10-15, I start having weird dreams about Badger football that sometimes include Ron Dayne and those three chicks that always sat in the front row in the early 2000s.

OK, that never really happens, but since the majority of our readers are also Brewers fans, I'm sure you can sympathize with me.

We're just going to have get by this summer by looking ahead to the fall and with the Badgers set to be one of the better teams in the country this season, why not start May off with another B5Q Mailbag?

Subject: Spring football
From: Thomas P.

It seemed like there were a lot of injuries during spring football this year? Should we be worried about the fact that John Clay, Chris Borland and Mike Taylor didn't play at all?

Well, just to clarify, Wisconsin stayed very, very healthy during the spring. Clay, Borland and Taylor were all out as a result of surgeries after the regular season. Did it cost them? Probably not, but I am a believer of the theory that every player can get better each and every practice, so they did miss 15 opportunities to get better.

See what I did there? Consider that written coach speak.

Honestly, all three players are really good athletes and smart football players. The surgeries helped them a lot more than 15 practices would have. They'll be just fine.

Subject: Bo Ryan
From: Kurt S.

After the basketball team's loss to Cornell in the tournament, we were wondering what does Bo need to do now to get over that hump to the Final Four? I remember your post about how better recruiting would help (and it does need to be addressed if we hope to take that step, plain and simple). But having watched Butler without 4 or 5 star recruits get there, maybe Bo can take some notes from Brad Stevens? The team they had this year is the kind we really need to make a similar kind of run. It's not like drastic changes are needed, just a few tweaks, but whether Bo would actually do those things is a another story altogether.

Kurt, I've finally come up with the formula to get the Badgers to the Final Four: Star player + good recruiting class one year younger than star player + better luck = Final Four.

Now you might look at this formula and think that every Final Four team needs those things to make it, but that is not neccessarily true. Great teams make their own luck. Butler didn't need luck, it just beat some good ass teams and came up one shot short of winning it all. The great programs like Kansas and Kentucky and build a Final Four team will one 5-star recruiting class. They'll just simply beat you.

For Wisconsin, it's not that easy. The 2005 Elite Eight team had a great senior class and phenomenal luck (didn't play a seed higher than No. 7 until the Elight Eight), but it needed Devin Harris to beat North Carolina. They were a star player short of the Final Four. The 2007 Badgers had the star player (Alando Tucker) and a good junior class (Michael Flowers and Brian Butch) behind him, but they had horrible luck with Butch getting hurt and having to play an upstart UNLV team in the second round. Then 2008, they were once again a star player short of making a run. Davidson had the star (Stephon Curry) and that was that.

So how do the 2010-11 Badgers fall into this formula? They have the star player (Jon Leuer) and they might have the good class a year younger than him (we know Jordan Taylor is really good, but will Rob Wilson turn into a clutch 2-guard?), so with a little luck, Bo Ryan might be able to make a Final Four run next season. For now, I'm going to say they will fall short of that goal. I think the really good recruiting class is coming in this season and they won't be seasoned enough to help Leuer this year.

Subject: The surprise
From: Brad P.

I'm really curious about the big off-season surprise you referenced in a post back in March. What is it?

OK, I guess it is only fair to give you guys a few hints as to what it is. It could be one of the following things:

1) Bret Bielema is getting married and I'm his best man.

2) I know how Lost ends and I'm going to spoil the ending in an upcoming post.

3) I'm going to get a real job that pays real money.

All right, all right, we know none of those three things could really happen. But I will tell you this: If you like Badger football and you like Bucky's 5th Quarter then you are going to absolutely love the surprise. I will also say that I will reveal what it is in early June. It will make your off-season a lot better.

And finally, in what will become a B5Q mailbag mainstay, here's a link to something that has nothing to do with the Badgers or e-mails. Enjoy: