Wisconsin Ranked Ninth to Begin Season

Ranking only increases the high expectations facing the 2006-06 Wisconsin basketball team.

The Wisconsin men's basketball team was ranked ninth in the preseason ESPN/USA Today coaches poll released Friday. That is the highest preseason ranking in school history. Previously, the Badgers were ranked 10th in the preseason Associated Press poll heading into the 1962-63 season.

UW plays its first exhibition game of the season on Nov. 3 when it hosts UW-Stout at 7 p.m. at the Kohl Center. The regular season tips off on Nov. 12 against Mercer at 4 p.m. at the Kohl Center.

The Badgers return nine of their top 10 players from a team that went 19-12 last year and advanced to the NCAA tournament for the eighth consecutive year. Among those returnees is Alando Tucker, the lone returning first-team All-Big Ten selection from 2006. UW returns three other starters as well in seniors Kammron Taylor and Jason Chappell and junior Brian Butch.

Wisconsin was one of two Big Ten reams ranked in the top 10 as defending conference champion Ohio State was ranked fourth. Other Badger opponents appearing in the poll include Pittsburgh (fifth) and Marquette (17th). Illinois, Oklahoma State, Michigan, Michigan State, Florida State and Indiana were all among those receiving votes.

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