Posted: Wednesday November 15, 2006 1:52PM; Updated: Wednesday November 15, 2006 6:16PM
By Luke Winn, SI.com
THE REAL-WORLD ARCHITECTURAL EQUIVALENT TO WISCONSIN
We asked Scott Schiamberg, a senior associate at HOK Sport, which designed such venues as Camden Yards and the new stadiums for the Yankees and Mets, to match up the Badgers' profile with a prominent, real-world architectural project:
The Badgers often play their big men on the perimeter in the swing offense -- and the Seagram Building was designed with an inside-out philosophy. It was part of the German Bauhaus movement to expose the actual structure, sans any frilly exterior, as ornament -- hence the I-beams on the outside of the building. Despite being built in the '50s, the Seagram has retained iconic popularity into the 21st century.
KEY BUILDING YEARS/LOCATIONS: Within the Wisconsin borders from 2003-05. Tucker (Lockport, Ill.) and Taylor (St. Paul, Minn.) were imports, but the Badgers built their supporting cast by locking down the state during a fruitful period for Dairyland high school talent. Ryan went on a streak of landing four-star frontcourt players: Brian Butch, a 6-11 McDonald's All-American, in '03; Greg Stiemsma, the second twin tower (at 6-11) in '04, and Marcus Landry, a 6-7 athlete from Milwaukee, in '05. "We had some great 'bigs' right here in the state," said Ryan, "and we wanted to make sure they didn't go somewhere else."
DESIGN QUIRKS: An abnormal distribution of a kenpom.com stat called Assist Rate, which is a result of the balance of the swing offense. A player's Assist Rate (or ARate) is the percentage of his teammates' field goals, made while he's on the floor, on which he records an assist. A more traditional team -- for example, Ohio State from '05-06, will have a point guard with an ARate over 25 percent (Jamar Butler, at 25.4) and a few forwards with much lower figures (such as Terence Dials at 4.4 and J.J. Sullinger at 9.8). Wisconsin, on the other hand, had all of its nine regulars finish with ARates between 11.9 and 17.1 percent last season. The Badger starter with the highest ARate was a power forward: Jason Chappell, at 16.9.
WHY IT COULD BE FINAL-FOUR FUNCTIONAL: UW, which had serious depth problems last season due to injures and academic ineligibility (in Landry and Stiemsma's case), now goes seven deep in the frontcourt. Tucker, Butch, Chappell, Landry, Stiemsma, Joe Krabbenhoft and Kevin Gullikson have all been game-tested. The cornerstone of the team, Tucker, is healthy after being hampered by injuries to his septum and knee as a junior. The Badgers are virtually invincible in the Kohl Center, and in a year when recent Big Ten powers, Illinois and Michigan State, are down, the title is there for the taking.