Notes: Looking for Numbers

With Wisconsin going eight to 10 players deep last season, Badgers Coach Bo Ryan is looking for similar numbers in 2010-11.

MADISON – If that was a record for the number of combinations that a team has ever had on the floor, Wisconsin men's basketball coach Bo Ryan may have close to setting a record.

Ryan didn't pull any tricks by using plenty of veterans Jon Leuer, Keaton Nankivil and Jordan Taylor in the Badgers' 84-59 win over UW-La Crosse in their exhibition opener at the Kohl Center.

Leuer and Nankivil each had 15 points and Taylor added 12 points to go with six assists as UW overwhelmed the NCAA Division III Eagles. Still, 15 of the 17 players on the roster logged minutes, including all four of UW's freshmen. Break it down even farther and seven players received more than 15 minutes on the court.

After the Badgers used between eight to 10 men in their rotation last season, No.24 Wisconsin is looking for something similar, depending on what happens in the drills, the players learning curve and what happens Wednesday when the Badgers play their final exhibition game against Division II Minnesota State.

"Those guys that keep showing progress are guys that will get more minutes," Ryan said. "I think any coach in America would tell you that. And it's never mattered to me whether or not they were scholarship players or non-scholarship players. They're all players. So whoever earns it will receive it."

One of the players Ryan is anxious to see more of is true freshman Josh Gasser, who played 20 minutes against UW-La Crosse, finished with nine points on 3-for-6 shooting, four rebounds, one assist and no turnovers.

"He can handle the ball, he can see the floor, he'll move his feet, he pays attention to everything that's said," Ryan said. "He can be a little chippy at times in competition, which you like."

Ryan even went so far as comparing Gasser to his ultimate chippy player, Madison-native Michael Flowers. Flowers was an all-defensive conference player from his ability to stay in the face of shooters and keep guys from staying in rhythm, and Ryan is hoping the same things come from the Port Washington guard.

"The offensive things, the instincts are there defensively … I want to see how far he can take it," Ryan said. "Every phase of the game, he's a gamer. And I hate that expression, but I use it. But his feel for the game is pretty good. And he has learned every day."

Anderson Still Debating

With all the talent in the front court, it would be a surprise if freshman Evan Anderson received a large piece of playing time. In Saturday's exhibition, Anderson played just three minutes, registering one rebound, one block, one turnover and one foul.

As is the case with all his players, Ryan leaves the final decision ultimately in the player's hands.

"We don't say one way or another," Ryan said. "When they ask for advice we say, 'OK, here you are. We've had X number of practices. Sometimes it's who's ahead of that person. Jared Berggren in practice has been playing really well, so there's a 6-foot-10 guy that can compete. J.P. Gavinksi has had some good practices defensively. Because of his length he makes it tough to score on him.

"So I think he'll have to decide whether or not, you know, he's ready to compete for minutes, or if he wants to help us in practice and develop. And that's their call."

Wilson injury update

Following the game Saturday night, Ryan made it clear that Rob Wilson was struggling with a hamstring injury that has been plaguing him throughout most of training camp.

When asked if he expects the junior to play more on Wednesday, Ryan was unclear.

"I don't know," Ryan said. "He probably isn't going to practice today (Monday) according to the latest report I just received."

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