University of Wisconsin Athletics is used to being overlooked by the national media like it’s the frigid air we breathe.
The perennial underdogs in all sports (Women’s Hockey just doesn’t fit in, sorry), Badgers recruit quietly but smartly, play fundamentally sound, unglamorous game plans in almost all sports, yet find themselves near the top of the heap year in and year out.
I think Wisconsin Athletics owes the AP Poll a big thank you. For the past, present and future.
They under-rank, under-sell and are routinely overcome each year as Badger team after Badger team outperforms their pre-season ranking and shocks everyone outside of the state.
DISCLAIMER: The author has completely blocked the 2018 Badger Football season from memory
This basketball season is shaping up to be an absolutely delectable example already.
They’ve been marked an unranked team by the pre-season AP Poll released Monday, and honestly — I wish there was a ranking below unranked.
Of course this is largely a result of the huge disappointment of last season, when the Badgers missed the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 20 years.
The Badgers lineup last season was riddled with injuries of top players like guards Kobe King and D’Mitrick Trice, as well as guard Brad Davison who still managed to play 33 games despite his collarbone hanging on a thread and turned in one of the greatest freshman seasons Badger basketball has ever seen.
And by the way, last year was the worst Brad Davison will ever be. He’s only going to get better until Lebron James leaves the Lakers to join Davison for his senior year here at UW.
The forward-point guard hybrid we’ve come to know as senior Ethan Happ was forced to take on double and triple teams every night for the first time in his career, pumping up his turnover numbers and exhausting the 2018 First Team All-Big Ten selection.
Last year, with two of the Badgers most explosive playmakers (Trice and King) out for the season, of course, Happ was going to struggle as defenses gladly expended more attention toward him.
But we all know this year, with improved shooters like Brevin Pritzel and Aleem Ford raining down from three, a healthy platoon of King, Trice and Davison bringing up the ball should translate into a huge season from a newly freed Happ.
Also, we’re going to be hearing from the 25-pound-heavier Nathan Reuvers this year down low, as he should be able to take a load off Happ as well.
So please, AP, rank the Badgers as low as you want. UW doesn’t want the preseason smoke, it’s all about wins and losses. I bet soon enough the AP Poll will be having to make some crucial revisions.