11.4.15

TAKING STOCK.

It's difficult to get to the national title game, let alone to win it.  Thus it takes a pretty good -- 23 kinds of good -- Wisconsin team to be in the final four, two years running.  Looking to the future ... can those tournament runs help with future recruits to develop?  Or was that the evanescent almost-shining moment?  More:
The challenges facing Wisconsin haven’t changed much despite back-to-back runs to the Final Four. The program still isn’t a recruiting juggernaut, and in the modern college game, that tends to separate the good programs from the great ones. The Badgers don’t appear to have made that leap, if their most recent recruiting efforts offer any indication.

Part of that stems from the school’s strong academic standards, part of it is geography and part of it is Ryan’s strategy. If Wisconsin was routinely churning out elite players like Dekker, it would probably be easier to keep them in-state. Convincing great players from out of state to head to Wisconsin over programs that might offer more NBA-focused development plans is a tough sell.

That means Wisconsin is back where it always was, a great second tier program that needs good luck to reach the top of the mountain. That happened over the past few years, between landing an elite prospect like Dekker and watching another bloom before our eyes like Kaminsky, but there’s a reason it took Ryan so long to put together this kind of team. It required the good fortune of Wisconsin’s best player in ages wanting to stay in state, as well as a decent player from a small Illinois town joining him in stardom.

Ryan built a special team over the past few years, and everyone involved deserves credit for taking Wisconsin basketball to such great heights. Getting the Badgers back to this spot won’t be easy, however.
Perhaps the rest of this pundit's knowledge is as good as his knowledge of Chicago's western suburbs.

Made for an enjoyable March.  Thanks, guys.

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