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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Second Badger Named to Watch List

Trevon Hughes was among the 31 players recently nominated for the Bob Cousy Award*, which goes to the nation's top point guard. Honestly, that's quite an honor considering the struggles Hughes went through last year.

Committee members must have been watching the three gems Hughes delivered against IPFW, Illinois and at Minnesota (the exception being the four turnovers against the Gophers). Taking care of the ball was a central problems in Pop's sophomore season. If you notice, the games in which Hughes was able to limit his turnovers, he was also virtually non-existent offensively -- neither scoring nor assisting others.

Improving on last year's subpar 1.17:1 assist-to-turnover ratio will be the barometer for success with Hughes. If he can turn in more performances like he did last February versus Michigan State, and harness his explosiveness, Hughes will live up to and maybe even surpass the modest preseason hype he has received.

The good news for Hughes came on the heels of Marcus Landry's inclusion on the preseason Wooden Award watch list. Landry and the rest of the big, bad Badgers will take on "lowly" UW-Whitewater in their exhibition finale tonight at the Kohl Center. No one is expecting a stunner like the one UW-Platteville delivered to Bradley this past weekend, but the Warhawks are a legit D3 powerhouse. I guess it's not a bad time to be from Whitewater, eh Stanley?

*Ed. note: The deadline for schools to nominate players for the Cousy Award is Jan. 10, so you will see this list grow quite a bit. Marquette and Michigan State fans can back away from the ledge now ...

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Wednesday is national signing day, which means high school seniors Diamond Taylor and Mike Bruesewitz will officially pledge themselves to the Cardinal and White. Speaking of which, Rob Schultz of the Capital Times digs into the recruiting practices of Wisconsin under Bo Ryan. The article leaves you with an impression of an efficient coaching staff, especially when you see the fiscal comparisons that Schultz uncovered. Of the five Big Ten programs that responded, Ohio State, Indiana, Purdue and Iowa have all spent more than double the dollar amount that Wisconsin has in recruiting for men's basketball over the past two seasons.

With regards to recruiting, the bottom line when discussing the "Wisconsin way" is that Bo would probably rather be a distinguished turtle than a tainted rabbit. Slowly and steadily, Ryan has built the Badger program, avoiding the large character risks and maintaining program-wide morale and camaraderie. He does this by focusing--right away--on players who want to be Badgers; those who don't let their own agendas get in the way of the team's agenda. So while other programs can currently tout better tournament records and Final Fours on their resumes, I have faith that Bo is building for the long haul. Some day, UW will wind up on top of the whole heap, if only for one shining moment.

Cheesy right? Well, this is Wisconsin. Enough rah-rah for now ... I'll save it for tonight's game.

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