Tubby Smith and his national title at UK? You can have him. Bruce Weber? Learn to keep the best Illinois talent in state. Thad Motta? He really misses the Thad 5 right about now. Matt Painter? Unproven; small sample size. Tom Crean? That one right there is the only one we’ll label as TBD. He’s got a shot.
We won’t even mention Iowa’s Todd Lickliter. Our Alma Mater doesn’t recognize hoops as a sport.
Typically, we don’t take a ton of sports knowledge from the old man but more sentimental favorites. However, from the day Bo Ryan took over at Wisconsin, we were on the bandwagon because of him. That, and every other image that comes up when you search “Bo Ryan” looks like that one. Let’s just label him as… intense.
During his tenure, Ryan has taken the Badgers to the Elite Eight and never missed the tournament. He’s won the Big Ten. He’s recruited top players. What impresses us most, is that he turned average players into excellent role players that play for the team and not themselves. No other coach in Wisconsin history has gotten the Badgers to #1 in the AP poll. He has a .767 career winning percentage. Among coaches with 500 career wins his percentage ranks second only to Roy Williams. Ryan also has a .707 winning percentage in Big Ten play. You know who has a better one among coaches with at least five years experience?
Nobody. Not even Bob Knight. If not for Tom Izzo and the Spartans, the Badgers may have had a Big Ten dynasty over the last decade.
Wisconsin’s Kohl Center might be the most feared venue in the Big Ten. It’s definitely better than MSU’s Izzone and Illinois’ Assembly Hall. All because Ryan has built a Wisconsin program from the ground up. If we had to put money on the next Big Ten team to make the Final Four, including MSU, we’ll take the Badgers.
He may fly under the radar, but we dare say he’s a top 15 coach in the country.
Ed.:We wrote this post while getting our haircut. Let our dedication to the interwebs, and more importantly, the site that bears Michelle Beadle’s name ever come into question. One false move and we could’ve lost an ear.