The debate was settled Monday night on who deserved to be called coach of the year in the Big Ten between the coach of the best team (Wisconsin), or the coaches of the two most surprising teams (Maryland and Purdue).
The Big Ten announced the decision would be split and two coaches would be awarded as Coach of the Year, with Bo Ryan receiving the coaches vote and Mark Turgeon receiving the media's vote.
Ryan led the Badgers to a 28-3 record and 16-2 conference record, landing him his 4th regular season Big Ten title and a double bye in the upcoming Big Ten Tournament later this week.
Wisconsin was able to bounce back during the 2014-15 season after losing only one starter from the Final Four team the previous year (Ben Brust). Heading into the season the Badgers were ranked in the top five in every preseason poll and picked as the favorites to win the Big Ten. After an early season loss in the Big Ten/ACC challenge at home to Duke, Wisconsin was able to win their next eight games before losing to Rutgers due to injury issues pertaining to star Frank Kaminsky and poitn guard Traevon Jackson . Once again Wisconsin was able to bounce right back, winning ten in a row before losing on the road at Maryland. Bo Ryan once again rallied the troops and are currently on a three game winning streak after their latest blowout win over Ohio State.
Bo Ryan's unique coaching ability of being able to have players buy into a system that differs vastly from other top programs is what makes him such a great coach. Ryan continues to use the strategy of slowing the game down and taking advantage of every single possession, which is why the Badgers rank 3rd in the nation in points per possession, scoring 1.1 points per possession. A few other Bo Ryan team characteristics include leading the country in fewest fouls committed (12.5) and turnovers committed (7.6) per game. Wisconsin have also made just under 100 more free throws than their opponents have even attempted.
Mark Turgeon was able to lead the Terrapins to a 25-6 record and a 14-4 conference record in their first season as part of the Big Ten. Maryland has earned a double bye as well by finishing second in the league. Mark led his team to an undefeated record at home during conference play, including a season defining moment when they were able to upset Bo Ryan and the Badgers.
The reason for Maryland's success comes from their ability to work hard on the defensive side of the ball, not allowing their opponents to get very many wide open three point attempts, ultimately leading to teams shooting only 31 percent from behind the arc. Aside from winning at home, they were able to get five road victories in a conference where home teams reign supreme. Maryland heads into the Big Ten Tournament on a conference high seven game winning streak.