With just 3 teams left, we can officially see the light at the end of the tunnel for this Big Ten Preview. Bo Ryan has quietly built one of the nation's top programs but no one's picking the Badgers this year after losing Big Ten Player of the Year Alando Tucker and Chris Rock-look-alike Kammron Taylor.

2006-07 Record: 30-6 (13-3)
Projected Finish: 4th
Returning Starters: 3
Head Coach: Bo Ryan
Best Player: Trevon Hughes (18.2 PPG)

3 Reasons for Optimism:

1) Bo Ryan appears like just another old fart, but he might be the craziest mofo in the country as evidenced by his Soulja Boy dance and Hambone demonstration. We gotta admit, we thought UW was crazy when they hired Ryan. He was 3 years removed from coaching D-III hoops and was just 30-27 in his two years at Wisconsin-Milwaukee. We were wrong (marinate on that for awhile, you won't read it again for a long time).

2) Is Brian Butch finally living up to the hype? People don't seem to remember how highly-touted Butch was in high school. In 2003, He was ranked #11 by Scout.com and named to the McDonald's All-USA team along with Luol Deng, Mustafa Shakur and... wait for it... LeBron James. After redshirting, he went down freshman year with mono. Sophomore year Doug Gottlieb called him "the most overrated player in the Big Ten." And right when he was starting to bust out last year, this happened - look out below! Now Butch is nearly averaging a double-double and put up 24 and 13 in his season premiere. We're still skeptical.

3) Completely overlooked sophomore Trevon Hughes has exploded out of the shadow of Taylor and averaged 18 PPG over his first six games. He's also a solid defender (15 steals), as you would expect from Wisconsin.

3 Reasons for Pessimism:

1) Their trip to Cameron Indoor Stadium was very Michigan-esque. The Badgers only lost by 24 points, but were behind 48-25 at the half after shooting just 30-percent from the field.

2) Senior big man Greg Stiemsma is simply pathetic. Starting every game for the Badgers, Stiemsma is averaging 3 points per game, up from 2 PPG last year. This guy has got to go.

3) Michael Flowers mysteriously left the program for a couple weeks in October and has struggled since coming back (17 assists, 15 turnovers prior to last night).

This team just can't be as bad as they looked against Duke. Trevon Hughes is a big-time talent that is finally getting some playing time and Carl Landry and Brian Butch provide a lot of size and muscle in the paint. But with Greg Stiemsma and Joe Krabbenhoft in the starting lineup, there is 0 depth on this team. Expect the Badgers to struggle mightily as everyone focuses on Hughes and Butch.

But hey, this team always overachieves. They reached the Final Four with a goon squad (insert picture of Mark Vershaw here) and played a much more talented North Carolina team toe-to-toe in the Elite Eight two years ago.

Who knows, Bo Ryan might just be dancin' again come March:

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