Wisconsin basketball is a really interesting thing because they were not something that people thought of at all really until Bo Ryan turned up. Even on the free college basketball picks page at BetFirm, handicappers didn’t even really dive into their games. There was a time when a lot of people would forget that Wisconsin even had a basketball team, but that all changed when Bo Ryan stopped winning conference titles at UW-Milwaukee to come to Madison. He created a juggernaut that has even continued after his retirement. That is a very important thing to remember because he is one of the best coaches in the history of college basketball, and he created all the best Wisconsin basketball teams on his own.
The 2002-2003 team was the first one where Bo Ryan had the big success that everyone was expecting, and they were able to win and outright conference title for the first time in what seemed like forever. At the time it had been 56 years since they had done that, and that was something that completely changed the face of what Wisconsin basketball was. They were the team that now had to be reckoned with, and every team was going to have to bring their A game if they wanted to beat this team. It was not a team that had all this talent that you would be afraid of, but it was a team that was going to fight you right to the bitter end. That was not only a very good thing to see, but it set up the run of success that the team had that led them to going to two straight final fours in the near future.
The teams that played from 2013-2015 where featuring Frank Kaminsky, and they went to back to back final fours wit these two teams. Frank Kiaminsky became a lottery pick, and the team was lauded for being the team that did not have the talent advantage but played their brand of basketball. There were still a lot of people who did not know who Bo Ryan was, and they were only just hearing about all the things that he had done when he won all his titles at UW-Milwaukee. This was very important because it was something that meant that the team was now going to have even more exposure than it already had. It also meant that they were going to be on the minds of the people who were already watching basketball. Wisconsin became a much bigger deal. They were not just the team that was pretty good, but they were the team that was a contender for a title. Sadly, they lost the national semifinal in 2014, and then they were just on the cusp of being a contender. Everyone was watching them, and they were wondering if this scrappy team would be able to go even farther and maybe win a national title.
The next season was a very easy one for Wisconsin because they were going to go right to the Final Four, and they were destined to be great. Everyone had them as the sexy pick for the national title, and it was obvious that this team was going to be the one that people would want to see win. They had all the money on them, but they lost the national title to Duke. This is still probably the best team in school history because of all that it did with all the talent around it. They were not the traditional power, but they did amazing things.
Wisconsin basketball has been something that people are going to wonder if they can return to prominence. They are a great team with a great history, and anyone who has been able to watch them in the Bo Ryan era has been very lucky. Someone who started with a very small school winning four national titles in division III and coming up to the Big Ten to dominate in the way he did deserves a lot of praise. He created every good team in school history save a couple long ago, but it is something that people now expect. The culture changed with these great teams, and it makes people want to watch Wisconsin basketball to see what they will do next.