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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Braun: Expect big things from Bo’s squad

Joe Krabbenhoft can’t be pleased with the way he ended his Wisconsin career.

His 0-for-2, zero point, five foul effort in the Badgers’ 60-49 loss to the Xavier Musketeers on Sunday doesn’t remind avid Wisconsin fans about what he brought to the table during his four years, or even this season at UW.

The game, however, was a different story.


Leading by two points at halftime, and after they opened the second half with a 6-1 run, it sure looked like the Badgers were ready to waltz their way into the Sweet 16 for the second straight year.

Not so fast.

Like countless other times this season, Wisconsin wilted under the pressure, blowing the game, and this time its season altogether. Talk about a letdown.

Now that I’m done with venting my frustration, I’ll get to my point.

Even with that loss, the Badgers did something very few thought they could accomplish; they won a game in the NCAA Tournament — something they couldn’t even do in the Big Ten Tournament a week earlier.

ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi, who’s usually right about who should be in and out of the NCAA Tournament, went as far to say that the Badgers didn’t belong in the field of 65.

Well, if that’s the case, then neither did Florida State.

The Badgers beat out the Seminoles in overtime in the first round, silencing any critics and setting up their second round loss to Xavier.

But don’t take that first round win away from them. Florida State is a very underrated team, and any time a No. 12 seed upsets a No. 5 in the first round, it has to be something worth noting.

Just for reference, it’s worth mentioning the Badgers’ few triumphs in the loss.

Trevon Hughes seemed to conquer his sometimes-shaky play during the regular season, Keaton Nankivil showed he can nail the deep jumper, and Jordan Taylor earned every minute he played.

OK, maybe all those things didn’t get the win, but simply put, I can’t help but be proud of the way the Badgers turned around their season.

Sure, they didn’t come close to the 31 wins they accumulated last year, but they kept Bo Ryan’s NCAA Tournament streak alive, and made some noise in the process by beating the Seminoles.

Now, though, it’s time to get excited. With three starters returning, not including Nankivil, Taylor, and freshman Rob Wilson — all of whom received ample playing time this season — this whole rebuilding phase will be all but a memory come 2010.

As for Krabbenhoft, while he might not be happy with the way his last game went, you can be pretty sure he’ll look back on this season as the one in which he learned the most about life and basketball.

Last year, the closest thing to adversity the Badgers faced was two losses to Purdue and a tough loss to Davidson in the NCAA Tournament.

This season, although they weren’t as successful, you can argue the Badgers accomplished as much with what they had than any other team in the Big Ten. For that, you can thank Ryan, Krabbenhoft, and Marcus Landry.

Few believed that the same team that lost six straight games in January would be able to bounce back to a fourth place finish in the Big Ten. Comparably, Notre Dame and Georgetown, both of which were ranked in the top 10 this season, were never able to reverse their losing ways.

So, while looking back at a lost season might be what everyone is doing at this point, remember what Wisconsin has to look forward to. Krabbenhoft may be upset right now, but at the same time, he’s probably pretty darn sure he’ll be watching his alma mater in the big dance next year.

Jonah is a sophomore majoring in journalism and Hebrew and Semitic studies. Are you happy with the way the season played out? Looking forward to next year? Send him your thoughts at [email protected].

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