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Midwestern Swing

Homegrown stars with moxie have UW aiming for title

Posted: Wednesday November 15, 2006 1:52PM; Updated: Wednesday November 15, 2006 6:16PM
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Healthy again, fifth-year senior Alando Tucker (19 ppg) will try to lift the Badgers to the Big Ten title and beyond.
Healthy again, fifth-year senior Alando Tucker (19 ppg) will try to lift the Badgers to the Big Ten title and beyond.
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FLORIDA: Agile big men have sights set on repeat
KANSAS: Talented guards ready for Jayhawk run
WISCONSIN: Homegrown stars aiming for title
HOFSTRA: Trio has Hofstra ready to contend
TEXAS A&M: Aggies' rapid rebuilding spells success

By Luke Winn, SI.com

How are college basketball's contenders built? SI.com's Luke Winn breaks down five different sets of Hoops Architectural plans.

PLAN NO. 3: Wisconsin


CHARACTERISTICS: Constructed from talent grown in Wisconsin and bordering states (Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois). Its practitioners, the Badgers, have become masters of inversion in coach Bo Ryan's swing offense. Their forwards spend as much time on the perimeter as they do in the post, and vice versa for the guards. The Swing Movement's success depends on veteran players (UW has five returning starters) with a knack for reading screens -- and making the correct cuts and passes -- within the system. Ryan uses a term from his Chester, Pa., youth to describe those displays of basketball IQ: "moxie."

DESIGN PHILOSOPHY: Said Ryan, "I'm always looking for 'versatility guys.' If you're a big man, can you only do one thing? Or are you multi-talented -- or at least have the potential to be? That's what I want."

PROJECT STATUS: Finished fourth in Big Ten in 2005-06, and lost in first round of NCAA tournament (as a No. 9 seed) to Arizona. Considered one of the conference favorites this season, along with Ohio State.

PRIMARY MATERIALS: Savvy swing vets Alando Tucker (19.0 ppg) and Kammron Taylor (14.2 ppg).

Tucker, a fifth-year senior who had 98 games of college experience entering this season, plays what could be described as a "point forward" role. He's an athletic inside player with a 38-inch vertical and the ability to create his own offense by luring defenders to the perimeter, then driving past them. Tucker is a unique character off the court, too: He's the most visible athlete at Playboy's No. 1 party school but doesn't drink (it's part of a longtime pact he has with his older brother). And despite being nearly finished with school, Tucker isn't pulling a Leinart: His fall-semester course schedule includes magazine writing.

Taylor, meanwhile, is the godfather of the Badgers' backcourt. He was a sophomore when UW made its Elite Eight run in 2004, and studied under similarly unheralded little guys such as Sharif Chambliss and Clayton Hanson. As a senior point guard -- he led the team in minutes played last season -- Taylor will have to help mentor stud freshmen Trevon Hughes, a backup point, and Jason Bohannon, an Iowa-bred sharpshooter.


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