While September through March is always filled with a lot of fun and excitement for Wisconsin Badger fans, the sports calendar from the end of the NCAA Tournament to the start of college football season is miserable. With no teams to cheer on, fans are left with nothing better to do to fulfill their Badger craving than watching Bronson Koenig hit the occasional three-pointer in NBA Summer League games and read mindless, time wasting offseason posts on your favorite Badger blog (hi).
But what if that didn’t have to be the case? The Basketball Tournament, or TBT, is a 64-team basketball tournament played in the dog days of the sport’s year. The teams consist of former high school, college, and NBA players, all competing to win their team a $2 Million prize. There are many college alumni teams in the tournament, including Pittsburgh, Colorado, Villanova, Syracuse, Texas Tech, VCU, Ole Miss, Iowa State, and Marquette (spoiler alert: Marquette won’t win).
Unfortunately, Wisconsin didn’t put together an alumni team this season. But they might give it a try in the near future. It would be a great opportunity to win some money for the players and it would give the fans something to watch and get excited about with football season still a month away. I put together a dream team of Wisconsin alumni. Teams consist of a celebrity booster to bring attention to the team, a coach, and 9-15 players (current NBA/NCAA players not allowed).
Team Name: The Buzzcuts (shoutout Mark Titus)
Booster: Aaron Rodgers
What better person to bring attention to the team than their biggest celebrity fan? He has also been involved in some legendary Badger shots.
Coach: Bo Ryan
Who else could it be? As a college basketball Hall of Famer (he should be in the Naismith HOF too), Ryan would instantly be the best coach in the tournament. There’s no doubt he misses coaching, and this would be a great way to keep doing what he loves. The only problem is that I doubt TBT refs get paid enough to have to deal with Bo Ryan.
A former All-American and a current professional for Hapoel Holon in Israel, Taylor is a no-brainer to run the point for the Badgers alumni team. It will be fun to see Taylor pull rabbits out of his hat with the shot clock winding down again.
Since Koenig is preoccupied with drilling triples for the Milwaukee Bucks, the team is going to need someone to take and make clutch shots. Jackson could definitely fill that role. Just ask Michigan State. And Penn State. And Minnesota. Actually, just ask all the teams in the Big Ten.
– Josh Gasser
The return of Captain America! Every team needs a glue guy, and there is nobody better at that role than him. I guarantee he sets the record for charges taken and loose balls grabbed in TBT history.
Remember what I said 30 seconds ago about Josh Gasser setting the record for charges taken? Nevermind. It’s going to be Showy. He can be the spark plug any team needs to make a deep run.
Just what this team needs! A scrappy white guard that can hit the three. Emphasis on the last part. Brust could, and likely still can, really shoot the three.
When talking about great Badger big men, Berggren often gets overlooked. But that says more about his company than him. Wisconsin’s last five centers have been Ethan Happ, Frank Kaminsky, Berggren, Jon Leuer, and Brian Butch. But he was a remarkably consistent rebounder and shot blocker, while also scoring double figure points.
Despite never playing a game in the NBA, the “Polar Bear” has had an excellent proffesional career both overseas and in the D-League. He’s currently playing in Japan, but he was a D-League All-Star just three years ago. He’d be an instant double-double in TBT.
Someone needs to hit that top of the key three-pointer.
– Mike Bruesewitz
A team can never have too many glue guys. It would also give me the opportunity to bring out my Bruesewitz wig.
– Greg Stiemsma
Although he was never that special as a Badger, Stiemsma is the only one on this list that cracked an NBA regular season roster. Stiemsma would be one of the best shot blockers in the tournament.
– Zach Morley
Although he’s 34 years old, Morley is still playing professional basketball for Alba Berlin.
– Joe Krabbenhoft
With his playing days in the rearview mirror, Krabbenhoft is now an assistant coach with the Badgers. But I bet he could still deliver a hard screen.
– Mike Wilkinson
As one of the original Bo Ryan Badgers, Wilkinson would be one of the oldest players on the team. But he’s only a few years removed from playing professional basketball, so I bet he could provide a few solid minutes per game.
All in all, this looks like a solid team. It may not be very talented but they are full of tough, gritty, blue collar, high IQ glue guys who bring their hard hats and lunch pails to the court every day. Just kidding, they have plenty of talent. In fact, with the amount of former professionals and college stars on the roster, they would likely be one of the favorites to win it all. It’s too late for this year, but hopefully we can see a team that looks something like this in the near future.