Jen Small / The Badger HeraldWhat is the measure of a great coach in college basketball? For Wisconsin’s Bo Ryan, it’s all about consistency. But does that make him great?His resume speaks for itself: 12 years with the Badgers, 12 NCAA tournament berths. No finish lower than fourth in the conference standings. One of the best winning percentages in conference play. Ever.Ryan has elevated Wisconsin men’s basketball to its highest level since 1941, when the team won its first and only NCAA tournament championship. What Stu Jackson and Dick Bennett started Ryan has continued, turning the Badgers program into a seemingly perennial lock for the NCAA tournament every year. For perspective, prior to Ryan’s arrival, the school had made just seven trips to the tournament since Wisconsin created a team in 1898.Still, it’s hard to be satisfied when the farthest Ryan has made it in his 12 seasons is the Elite 8. And that was just one time, with the Badgers falling to eventual champion North Carolina Tarheels in 2005-a team that featured four NBA First Round picks and six draftees overall that year.So, three Sweet 16’s and an Elite 8 appearance highlight Ryan’s success on college basketball’s biggest stage. You’d think after years of consistency Ryan would have had more success in the tournament. Maybe that year was 2007, when the Badgers were at one point ranked No. 1 in the country and had Alando Tucker, only to lose big man Brian Butch to a dislocated elbow late in the season during a road game with Ohio State. That team, widely considered far and away to be Ryan’s best, lost in the second round to UNLV with Butch watching on the bench.Lately, the talent level hasn’t been the same on Ryan’s teams. There hasn’t been that dominant player like a Tucker or even a post player as dominant as Butch, but there has been noticeable talent. Jordan Taylor and Jon Leuer were effective, but not at an unquestioned superstar level.That being said, the last few years of recruiting have been harsh on Wisconsin and Ryan. While the rest of the Big Ten powers have been building and garnering nationally recognized prep talent, the Badgers are on the outside looking in. The last McDonald’s All-American Wisconsin has successfully recruited was Brian Butch, the only one since 2000 and just the second since 1977.You can probably guess what programs have gotten the most of these high level recruits in the past 13 years. Duke, North Carolina and Kentucky make up the top three, while Big Ten schools Ohio State, Michigan State and Indiana all rank within the top 15.Look at the incoming 2013 recruiting classes around the Big Ten. Indiana, according to ESPN.com, will bring in one five star recruit and three four star recruits. The only two recruits for Ohio State are both four stars. Michigan State has only one commit, but a season ago they brought in five star recruit and Big Ten Rookie of the Year Gary Harris along with three other four star players. And don’t look now, but Michigan has been hauling in some major recruiting classes. When you watch the Wolverines play in the Final Four this weekend, look at who’s on the floor wearing maize and blue. Chances are you’ll see former five star recruit Glenn Robinson III and former four star recruits Mitch McGary and Nik Stauskas. Michigan’s 2013 recruiting class is made up of three four star recruits.The Badgers, in comparison, bring in just one four star player in Nigel Hayes and a much hyped about three star point guard in Bronson Koenig, who received offers from North Caroline and Duke. After that, it gets murky. Riley Dearring is another three star guy and Jordan Hill and Vitto Brown are both two stars.Let’s be clear, rankings don’t mean everything. Ryan is a coach who can squeeze almost everything out of players and develop them, but it doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be nice to have some players who come into Madison ready to play right after their arrival like Sam Dekker, a five star recruit and Wisconsin’s initial sole scholarship recruit in the 2012 class.Look at the last couple of years in terms of Wisconsin’s recruiting classes. Remember the Diamond Taylor and Jeremy Glover debacle when the two freshman recruits were kicked off the team for being charged with burglary in September of 2008? Then Wisconsin saw prized in-state recruit Vander Blue decommit and then commit to rival Marquette-thanks to heavy recruiting by then Golden Eagles freshman and past high school teammate Jeronne Maymon. Then Wisconsin lost one of their most touted underclassman last year, Jarrod Uthoff, a four star recruit from the 2011 class, when he elected to transfer to Iowa.To go along with past recruiting mishaps, Ryan let in-state recruits slip away this year. Four high school seniors who call Wisconsin home were ranked in the ESPN 100 this year, an index of the top college basketball recruits. Out of those four, not a single one will be joining Ryan and the Badgers next season. Some of these players didn’t even receive an offer from Wisconsin.Even though the talent in the state of Wisconsin has been thin the last few years, two Wisconsin high school players nationally ranked in the top 10 of recruits in Kevon Looney and Diamond Stone showcase a bright future of instate talent the Badgers should desperately focus on signing, no matter how slim their chances may be.And why are chances so slim to sign these highly ranked players? Well, Wisconsin basketball does not have a great image with the high school talent of today. The kind of offensive style the Badgers run would make most athletic, offensive minded players-players that UW is in desperate need of-run for the hills rather than Madison. And Ryan doesn’t exactly have a very great PR image after initially blocking all those schools during the Uthoff transfer controversy.I’ve often wondered how good a Ryan system team could be if they had top talent like a Duke or UNC. The only problem is, that’s a dream. Marquette is suddenly becoming a go-to destination for college basketball in Wisconsin rather than UW.There is no arguing Bo is a great coach. But in college basketball, to be successful at the highest level, you have to be a great coach and a great recruiter. Is Ryan a great recruiter? Time will tell, but as of now, Wisconsin still hasn’t been to the Final Four since 2000.Nick is a fifth year senior, sports editor of The Badger Herald and a law school hopeful. Besides writing, Nick also hosts “The Badger Herald Sports Hour” and is a member of the WBA award winning show the “The Student Section” on 91.7 WSUM.
UPDATED: May 11, 2018 at 9:48 p.m.On Tuesday, Gabriela Knutson said a first-round loss to No. 35 Wichita State would be “embarrassing.” Three days later, the Shockers upset No. 27 Syracuse (17-8, 8-6 Atlantic Coast) in dominating fashion, 4-1, at Palmer/Salloum Tennis Center in Oxford, Mississippi.After dropping the first point of the match, SU could not recover in singles. Knutson and Miranda Ramirez’s hopes of facing No. 6 Ole Miss in the second round of NCAA tournament never came to fruition even though SU was a favorite to win its first-round matchup. The Orange’s problems started with an early deficit. No. 8 Knutson and Ramirez opened their doubles match against WSU’s No. 72 Fatima Bizhukova and Marta Bellucco up 4-2. On the other side of the courts, SU was down in second and third doubles. With two victories needed to take the first point of the match, the Orange could not even muster one. After Masha Tritou and Dina Hegab dropped their third doubles match, 1-6, Knutson and Ramirez lost four straight games to clinch the doubles point for the Shockers. Down a point, SU needed to win four of its six singles matches to beat WSU. AdvertisementThis is placeholder textEarly on, SU’s best three players were overmatched by WSU’s top half of the lineup. Sofya Golubovskaya was blindsided by the play of No. 124 Sandra Honigova from the start. The SU freshman only won two of 14 games, and her loss gave the Shockers a two-point lead. Next to Golubovskaya, Ramirez struggled in second singles. Ramirez took the first game of the match after a pair of forehand winners, but her early lead erased quickly. Down 1-4, the sophomore started to get frustrated after floating a couple of shots past the endline. After a 2-6 first set defeat, Ramirez dealt with identical problems and dropped her second set in similar fashion. The 2-6, 2-6 loss meant the Orange’s chances of a victory were becoming bleak. The attention turned to No. 5 Knutson. SU’s first singles player, who hadn’t dropped a match to a player currently ranked outside of the top 10 all season, was overmatched from the start. Knutson’s opponent, WSU’s No. 72 Fatima Bizhukova, dominated with her serve early. By countering Knutson’s first serve, Bizhukova started to take early points and took a 4-0 lead. As Knutson fought back, she started to overhit her targets and couldn’t hold on in rallies resulting in a 2-6 first set loss. Knutson opened the second set with her forehand to put herself up early. As the score leveled at 2-2, Knutson started to slow down as Bizhukova began to exploit the middle of the court. As the end of the match neared, Knutson threw her hands up in the air and hit her racket to the ground as she missed an easy forehand winner that floated out of bounds at 3-5. In a day filled with missed opportunities from Syracuse, Knutson summed up the match with that one reaction: utter frustration. Knutson’s 2-6, 3-6 loss clinched the match for the Shockers and ended SU’s season.In a year where Syracuse more than doubled its win total, knocked off then-No. 3 Georgia Tech and boasted a winning conference record for the first time in five years, the Orange’s season ended to a team that didn’t have a top-35 win on the season, until Friday.CORRECTION: In a previous version of this article, Marta Bellucco was misnamed. The Daily Orange regrets this error. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on May 11, 2018 at 3:35 pm Contact KJ: firstname.lastname@example.org | @KJEdelman
Published on December 8, 2018 at 5:48 pm Contact Charlie: email@example.com | @charliedisturco Syracuse had relied on Battle heavily last season. If he didn’t score 20-plus points per game, it often would result in a loss. This season, when he struggled, other players were there to pick him up.He had just eight points in the season opener against Eastern Washington. Oshae Brissett carried the Orange with 20 points and eight rebounds. He had just two points against Northeastern. Again, Brissett, carried the burden, putting up 21 points and 14 rebounds.But this time, there was nobody to help out. If Battle didn’t come alive, Syracuse was dead in the water.“I’ve been doing it since I picked up a basketball,” Battle said. “I love last-second shots, pressure situations.”Alexandra Moreo | Senior Staff PhotographerWith 37 seconds left, that high-pressure opportunity came for Battle, a chance to give the Orange the lead. His jumper missed and Georgetown controlled possession.Nearly 25 seconds later, Jagan Mosely drove toward the hoop. He lowered his shoulder and trucked Marek Dolezaj. Offensive foul.Syracuse had another chance. Battle took it.Swish. Inside the Carrier Dome, it was silent. The crowd watched as Tyus Battle’s pull-up jumper made its way through the air and toward the hoop in the final seconds of the game with the Orange down one.Swish.The Carrier Dome erupted.The cheers wouldn’t subside until minutes after Georgetown’s last-second heave came up short. Somehow, Syracuse (7-2) erased a 15-point deficit to comeback and take down its former Big East rival Georgetown (7-2), winning its fifth straight, 72-71, on Saturday afternoon in front of 24,082 fans. It was a whirlwind of a game, one that saw SU shoot 7.1 percent from 3 in the first half. One that saw a 17-4 run quickly propel the Orange back into contention. One that was magically orchestrated by the hands of Battle.“He’s made a lot of big shots,” SU head coach Jim Boeheim said. “Probably as much or more than anybody we’ve ever had here in late-game situations.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textIt began early for Battle. In his freshman year, Battle nailed a corner 3 to upset Clemson. A year later, he tallied nine-straight points to stave off Maryland and drained the late 3 to pull SU within two in an eventual win over Georgetown in last year’s matchup between the two teams.The first half of this year’s matchup was one to forget for Syracuse. The Hoyas used a packed-in defense and forced the Orange to beat them via the long ball. It was a smart strategy, considering SU is among the worst 3-point shooting teams in the NCAA.“The first half, Georgetown was more physical,” Boeheim said. “They got up in us, we ended up shooting more difficult 3s.”Alexandra Moreo | Senior Staff PhotographerSyracuse shot 7.1 percent from 3 in the first frame. Battle himself, missed a pair from beyond the arc. He had just one basket — an offensive rebound and lay-up off a missed free throw — and shot 1-for-8.Then, in the locker room during halftime, with Syracuse trailing by double digits, Boeheim “challenged” him. He told Battle that the team cannot win with the way he was playing. He had to take over the game.“I can’t repeat all the stuff,” Battle said with a smile. “It woke me up and got me going. That’s why he’s a Hall of Famer.”Walking out of the tunnel, Battle changed his mindset, he said. Focus on transition buckets. Get to the free throw line more. Attack. Once he did that, the rest of his game would follow.Right away, Battle came out firing. First, it was a corner 3. Then it was a drive to the hoop, drawing a foul. He sunk both free throws. A quick stutter-step and drive to the basket, and Battle converted an and-1. He was even triple-teamed and nailed a baseline jumper.All of a sudden, the Orange propelled themselves into the game.Anything Georgetown threw at the junior, he had an answer for. Battle was unconscious. In the second half, he shot 7-for-10, including a 50-percent clip from 3.“A lot of people might fold in the position that he was in,” said freshman point guard Jalen Carey, who made a clutch 3 late in the game. “Lot of pressure on him. He didn’t play well in the first half, but it’s how you respond to the criticism and how you respond to what coach said.”More coverage:2nd half boost, hot shooting and more takeaways from Syracuse’s win over GeorgetownJalen Carey’s impact helps Syracuse in comeback against Georgetown Facebook Twitter Google+ Comments