2010-11 saw the Wisconsin Badgers enter the season unranked. Bo Ryan's team ended in the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament. And to people who couldn't get past Wisconsin losing Jason Bohannon and Trevon Hughes to graduation, it was another reminder that Bo Ryan, regardless of players or personnel, will find ways to make the NCAA Tournament.
The Badgers lose a lot this after this season. Jon Leuer and Keaton Nankivil both are out of eligibility, as are little-known big man J.P. Gavinski, 3-point specialist Brett Valentyn, and point guard Wquinton Smith. Tim Jarmusz also exhausted his eligibility.
After the jump: The Badgers by the numbers, via statsheet.com.
The Wisconsin Badgers:
Overall Record: 25-9
Conference Record: 13-5
Final Conference Standing: 3rd
Home Record: 16-0
Road Record: 5-6
Neutral Court Record: 4-3
Record vs. Top 25 Teams: 3-3
Overtime Record: 1-1
Largest Margin of Victory: 44 points, vs. Prairieview A&M (99-55)
Largest Margin of Defeat: 28 points, @ Ohio State (93-65)
Closest Win: February 23rd, 2011, Wisconsin 53, Michigan 52
Closest Loss: January 11th, 2011, @ Michigan State, 64-61 (OT)
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For Wisconsin...it all started off against Prairieview A&M and North Dakota, teams that Wisconsin crushed by 44 and 32 points, respectively. Then, the Badgers, or more specifically, Mike Bruesewitz, committed a horrible turnover that resulted in Wisconsin squandering a game it really, REALLY could have won at UNLV. Wisconsin went down to Florida afterwards and defeated Manhattan and Boston College to advance to the championship game of the Old Spice Classic against Notre Dame...where they again threw away a winnable game.
That was a theme in 2010-2011. The Badgers were seemingly in every game this season but one (a complete disaster at the hands of Ohio State in Columbus, a game that no Wisconsin fan wants to remember). They made their deepest run into the NCAA Tournament in years behind the heroics of Jordan Taylor and Jon Leuer, who topped double figures in every game but one this season. Keaton Nankivil, Josh Gasser, and Mike Bruesewitz all chipped in at points this year; Gasser hitting a huge, epic bank shot that singlehandedly ended an upset bid from the Michigan Wolverines.
The obvious outlier? Ohio State's insane 28 point margin of victory. Taking that out, Wisconsin's average margin of defeat was 5.375 points. That's...very, very close. If you include the Columbus Disaster, Wisconsin's average margin of defeat rises to 7.888 points.
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The Badgers were a tale of two teams. Early in the year, they struggled to beat opponents, especially on the road. But as the year went along, the Badgers truly found their rhythm, winning 8 of their last 10 regular season games (the losses coming at Ohio State and Purdue, but Wisconsin NEVER beats Purdue in Mackey). After a lifeless and rather embarrassing performance against Penn State in the Big Ten Tournament, the Badgers then woke up. Bo Ryan's Badgers slapped down an upset bid from Belmont in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, and Belmont was a team that many had as a trendy upset pick. Against Jacob Pullen and the Kansas St. Wildcats, the Badgers were able to hold on the length of the game, pulling off another win against Frank Martin to advance to the Sweet Sixteen.
And after falling behind to the Butler Bulldogs, who would make the NCAA Tournament final (and lose in horrific fashion), Wisconsin refused to quit and rallied to cut the game to single-digits. They proved unable to solve the Bulldogs in the Sweet Sixteen, but overall, 2010-11 was one of Wisconsin's finest seasons.