April 26, 2012
Watch the 2012 Sweet 16 Reception
MADISON, Wis. -- Perhaps we should have seen it coming early in the season when the Badgers went toe-to-toe with the Tar Heels in North Carolina, or a few weeks later when UW soundly beat NCAA tournament qualifier BYU on a neutral floor in Chicago. However, it wasn't until a Jan. 12 bus trip to Purdue that the Badgers' 2011-12 identity - and rallying cry - revealed itself.
Wisconsin was coming off three straight losses and traveling to a place where even some of the best teams in Badgers history didn't win - UW had won once there in the last 40 years to be exact.
What would unfold was UW jumping out to a 22-4 lead and pulling out a 67-62 win over the Boilermakers. After the game head coach Bo Ryan entered the locker room to give his post-game speech to the team. This is usually a one-sided conversation about the good and definitely the bad of the game that just transpired and what needs to be improved moving forward.
If you've ever spoken with Coach Ryan, you know to expect a short conversation as often as Keanu Reeves makes a good movie.
(Don't tell me you didn't like Speed.)
|Celebrating the Season
Watch the archived video of the 2012 Wisconsin Men's Basketball Sweet 16 Reception, featuring an introduction of the Badgers, thoughts from Matt Lepay, Patrick Herb's "Let's Get On The Bus" remarks and a season wrap-up from head coach Bo Ryan, as well as the team's season highlight video. | Watch the Reception
So deep in the bowels of Mackey Arena, Coach Ryan entered the locker room, which was still buzzing with excitement. Coach's presence led to immediate silence as the team braced for the smallest of details Coach Ryan might want to correct. Those same details that have helped him win 651 games in his career - more on that later.
Coach Ryan set down his stat sheet and slowly paced for a minute before breaking character and simply shouting, "Let's get on the bus!"
Hysteria ensued and a rallying cry was born. Coach Ryan would repeat his "Get on the Bus" line several more times as the Badgers embraced the "Road Warriors" identity. That us against the world, thrive on opposing fans' negative energy manifested itself in a 12-6 mark away from the Kohl Center, the school's second-best road mark in the last 60 years.
Not to say this year's team didn't play well at home. There are a lot of schools in our conference and nationwide who would be giddy with a 14-4 home record.
But it's in the spirit of UW's "Road Warriors" identity, that I bring you tonight's `By the Numbers.'
The Road Less Traveled - UW won at Purdue and at Illinois in same season for the first time since 1918.
Glory Road - Jordan Taylor became just the 2nd Badger to ever earn All-America recognition in two different seasons.
o He also earned first-team All-Big Ten for the second-straight season ... UW has had 10 1st-team all-Big Ten honors in last 11 years ... the most in the Big Ten
Road Race - With the win over Indiana in the Big Ten tournament, Bo Ryan raced past Bud Foster to become the all-time winningest coach in UW history. He has won 268 games in his Cardinal and White career... and counting.
Road Kill - UW's 26 wins rank as the third-highest single-season total in school history. The top 8 win totals in UW annals have all come in the last 10 seasons.
Road to Nowhere - The Badgers led the nation in scoring defense, holding opponents to an average of just 53.2 points per game. That is UW's lowest single-season mark since 1950.
Road Blocks - Jared Berggren became just the third player in UW history to block 60 shots in a season. As a team, the Badgers' 126 blocked shots ranks as the third-highest total in school history.
Rhodes Scholar - Wisconsin has now had 39 Academic All-Big Ten honors in 11 seasons under Bo Ryan ... Over the last two seasons, the team's cumulative GPA has been around 3.0 each year ... Over the last 4 seasons (including this year), 10 of the 14 seniors on the UW roster have graduated or will this May. The other four are all close but are playing professionally.
Fork in the Road - The threesome of Jared Berggren, Ryan Evans and Ben Brust combined to average just under 6 points per game last season ... this year, the trifecta took a different road and combined to average nearly 30 as a group.
Road House - Including this season, the Badgers have led Big Ten in attendance in 9 of last 10 years and have finished among NCAA's top 7 in each of last 12 years.
Road to Success - UW finished just one game out of first and among the Big Ten's top four teams for the 11th straight season. The last time a school finished at the top of the standings 11 years in a row? Purdue, 80 years ago.
The Badgers also rattled off their 14th consecutive NCAA appearance, which is the 7th-longest streak in NCAA history and 3rd-longest in Big Ten history
UW's 3rd Sweet 16 in last five years trails only Kansas, North Carolina, Michigan State and Xavier over that span. Those teams have made four Sweet 16s.
Career Road Map - Jordan Taylor wrapped up his career as one of most decorated players in UW history. He finished 7th on the school's scoring chart with 1,533 career points, 2nd with 464 career assists. But Taylor might be most known for teaching us all what assist-to-turnover ratio is. Most of us didn't even know what that stat meant before he set foot on campus. Now we know Jordan Taylor is the NCAA record holder with a career mark of 3.01.
Down the Road - The future is bright at Wisconsin. The Badgers return 4 starters and a lot of talent. UW will bring back 71% of its scoring, 84% of its rebounding, 61% of assists and 76% of the minutes played.
Makes me excited to get "On the Road Again."
UW Athletic Communications