Questions Still Remain

When will junior Rob Wilson return? How deep will the Badgers go in the rotation? Who is Bo Ryan's starting five? The exhibition season provided two lopsided victories, but the real questions start to get answered on Sunday.

MADISON – The exhibition season concluded with a predictable blowout against an overmatched Minnesota State team.

But now the games start to count, and there are some questions that still need to be answered.

Who will head coach Bo Ryan pick to start? Ryan generally picks a starting lineup and rides it throughout the season, but he started different lineups in the two exhibition games.

How deep will the regular playing rotation be?

Will a third consistent scorer emerge behind forward Jon Leuer and guard Jordan Taylor?

There are a lot of questions, but in the end the guy behind those questions has played a grand total of five minutes so far.

Without junior guard Rob Wilson, who has been slowed by a hamstring injury, it's hard to get a very good feel for what this Wisconsin team will end up looking like.

Wilson played all of five minutes in the exhibition opener against UW-La Crosse before being deemed unfit to play. After that game, Ryan said it had been a while since Wilson made it through a full practice.

It doesn't look like Wilson has gotten any better in the last few days, seeing as how he sat at the end of the bench in his warm-ups for the entire game.

"It's like anything else," Ryan said. "You just move on. The drum's still beating, and you can't change it. He's just rehabbing and trying to get himself back. It's more minutes for some other guys right now though."

The Badgers haven't needed Wilson so far, not with Jon Leuer and Jordan Taylor doing their thing. But the time will come when a team shuts down Taylor or Leuer and UW will need someone else to step up.

Chances are that will be Nov. 20 at UNLV. After missing most of the exhibition season, will Wilson be ready?

And what of the playing rotation? Right now, it appears as if minutes will be spread among up to 10 players. Without one of the top players makes it difficult to enter the season with much rhythm.

"When he gets back, we're going to welcome him back," Leuer said. "He's a key contributor for us this year. He's gotta be. So we're looking forward to when he gets healthy and we'll obviously be able to have him gel with the other guys pretty easily, I think."

But whether or not Wilson is ready when the season tips off Sunday, Ryan likes what he has.

"The guys are in a position where if they continue to make the effort to do the correct things, then we'll continue to be a better team like we have every year," Ryan said. "You can't change whether or not you're ready, so we're ready. How well we play will always be measured."

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