The Badgers season-opening opponent (Kennesaw State) won just eight games last season, has yet to have finish above .500 since joining division 1 and has a new head coach that is still in the process of evaluating and installing a new system.
Still, it's hard to argue Wisconsin – which jumped one spot in the AP Poll to No.14 – isn't a productive unit. The Badgers knocked down 15-of-25 3-points in the season opener, the second-highest single-game total in school history, and allowed just 31 points, ranking as the school's fourth-lowest point total allowed in the modern era (since 1946).
"We shot it well, we shared the ball, defensively we picked up for each other, we had a challenge in guarding a guy that will probably lead the league in scoring (Markeith Cummings)," said UW coach Bo Ryan. "He could start for any team in the Big Ten or the ACC. I thought we did a pretty good job on him considering the number of times he tried to score."
Ryan didn't beat around the bush when he said the experience level of teams down the road is going to be greater than what the Badgers face in the opener because of the challenge Wisconsin will have Wednesday against Colgate.
The Raiders have a talented senior trio that led them to a four-point season-opening win at Binghamton. Senior guard Mike Venezia scored 22 points, going 6-for-6 from the foul line and 4-for-8 on 3-pointers, while senior forward Sterling Melville chipped in with 17. Colgate also had senior forward Yaw Gyawu, last season's leading scorer, in the mix.
Evans Steps Up
Having taken his game to another level each of the last two seasons, it's not a shock that junior Ryan Evans made an impact in the season opener, finishing with a career-best 13 points and added six rebounds, four assists, one block and one steal.
A spring signee in 2008 and recruited by former assistant Howard Moore, Evans had sports in his blood. His father, Greg, was a wrestler at Minnesota; uncle, David, wrestled at Wisconsin; cousin, Glenn Love, plays football at UCLA and cousin, Quinn Evans, plays football at Stanford.
"There was a connection, needless to say, to the Big Ten and to Wisconsin," Ryan said. "We weren't looking at him as a wrestler. He just seemed like a guy who was bright, wanted to be a player, wasn't discouraged easily, and he has to be that way because I do get on him a little bit because I think he has the potential to be a lot better.
"He wanted to be here. It's amazing how much fun those guys can have."
Kaminsky Wakes Up
Other than guard Traevon Jackson, forward Frank Kamisky was the other freshman to disregard the redshirt and play on Saturday, scoring five points in 10 minutes for Wisconsin.
Named first-team all-state by the Chicago Sun-Times and the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association and second-team all-state by the Associated Press after averaging 14.2 points, 8.7 rebounds, 4.2 blocks and 2.8 assists per game as a senior, Ryan warned fans not to let that sleep look in the freshman's eyes fool them.
"I saw him riding his moped a couple weeks ago and I was going to honk to wake him up," Ryan said. "It looked like he was sleeping. He said it's something about his eye. It's half closed a lot of times. I don't know exactly what it is, but it certainly doesn't keep him from finding people that are open, hitting shots, rebounding. He's a delightful young man."
On if Bo Ryan would ever go on Dancing with the Stars?
"There's a joke going around that I was asked and I had to turn (ESPN sideline host) Erin Andrews down. Would I consider that? I've got a day job. I'm going to stick to that right now. There is an old saying in life about how things happen that you want to go out dancing. I do a lot of dancing when nobody else is around. It certainly wouldn't be on national TV right now. I would have to polish up a lot of moves."
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