Headed into the 2020-21 college basketball season, Wisconsin has its eyes on taking a step forward.
A late surge in February changed the nature of Wisconsin basketball in the 2019-20 season. With eight straight wins to close the year out, the Badgers took a share of the Big Ten regular-season title. The team also entered the Big Ten tournament as a one seed. If the NCAA Tournament would have been played, the team would have been a tough out for anyone unlucky enough to play them. It had all the makings of a title run team.
Looking towards this season, head coach Greg Guard has to find the formula to emulate the 2019-20 seasons’ success. Yet, finding that solution should be relatively easy as virtually all five of the Badgers starters are returning for another year under Guard.
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The projected starting five:
D’Mitrik Trice – senior
Trice is a reliable playmaker, and point guard, with an escrow of experience. He’s played for Wisconsin since the 2016-17 season. When he is on the floor, there is a comfort level that allows other players to settle into what they want to run offensively.
His shooting splits have continued to be a concern, but with his steady hand in operating the offense, he is primed for an important role this season. In 31 games played last season, Trice averaged 9.8 points per game and 4.3 assists. He is bringing stability and consistency to the forefront of Wisconsin’s attack.
Brad Davison – senior
Has a propensity for wild antics and clutch shots. And frankly, you either love him or you hate him. If you are a Wisconsin fan you live and die by his shot selection. The perfect shooting guard to pair alongside Trice.
The 2019-20 season saw him average 10 points per game and 4 rebounds. He is a confident outside shooter, hitting shots from behind the arc at a 35 percent clip. And Wisconsin is going to need him to make long-range shots in order to win important games this year.
Aleem Ford – senior
At 6’8” Ford offers Wisconsin versatility and length at the small forward position on the floor. In the 2019 campaign, he knocked down 34 percent of his threes. That will result in much-needed spacing on the floor for the Badgers this season.
He is also uber-athletic. Ford can get to the basket at will, and his explosive first step poses a real problem for defenders. The best aspect of his athleticism is that it translates to the defensive side of the ball. What he cant give Wisconsin on offense, he more than makes up for it in effort on the ugly end of the floor.
Micah Potter – senior
Potter is a 6’10” forward with a nice shooting stroke and lethal connection with Trice in the pick and roll. He is a bit of a wildcard for Wisconsin, and on a night-to-night basis, there is no certainty with what you will get offensively.
He also offers the ability to slide to the center sport and play a small ball role for Gaurd, if need be. And at the center sport, he doesn’t give up effort on the glass–last season he grabbed 6.2 rebounds per game.
Nate Reuvers – senior
Reuvers saw great improvement from his sophomore to junior season. His scoring average jumped from 7.9 per game to 13.1 points per game. He effectively became Wisconsin’s leading scorer overnight. He is a dominant force both in the paint and on the perimeter, something that is important for any even roster in the 2020 season.
The best part about his game now is that he added a face-up element to his post-up touches. He can take opposing centers off the bounce and create his own offense when need be. He will be an integral part of this season’s Badger team.
Trevor Anderson – senior
Anderson is a gamer. He plays harder than anyone else on the floor. His heart and tenacity will be what gets him crucial minutes for Wisconsin this season.
He will never take over a game with his passing and or playmaking, but look for his poise and leadership on the floor when he plays.
Ben Carlson – freshman
Carlson will be a special player for Wisconsin. Coming in as a four-star freshman he gives the Badgers both athleticism and potential.
He is a 6’9” combo forward who has the ability to play either forward position on the floor. It may take Carlson time to develop into a true college basketball player, but there is no denying his natural talent and ability on the floor.
This year Big Ten looks top-heavy, but with the experience, Wisconsin has in its starting lineup a great season should be expected. At every position, there are playmakers who can create, shoot, and defend. Judging by the way the previous season ended, the sky is the limit for this senior-heavy bunch.
Look for Wisconsin to be a real threat, not only in the Big Ten but on a national stage.
I am a college basketball writer primarily based in Nashville, covering all mid-major activity along with Big Ten hoops.