Leading up to Midnight Madness this month, ESPN Insider's Countdown to Madness series is previewing the top five seeds in each of the four regions in Joe Lunardi's preseason 2013 NCAA bracket. To read about the key stats and freshman impact for each team as the previews are published, plus expert predictions from Jay Bilas, Fran Fraschilla and Lunardi, click here. This is the entry for the Wisconsin Badgers, No. 3 in the South (Arlington, Texas).
The key: Frontcourt versatility and depth
Stat to know: 42.5 percent
Whenever you have all three starters returning up front, you're in good shape. When you add a freshman who might ultimately be the best of the bunch, you're Bo Ryan.
Wisconsin's coach is rightfully excited about the ways he can mix and match inside. Seniors Mike Bruesewitz (6-foot-6, 223 pounds), Ryan Evans (6-6, 212) and Jared Berggren (6-10, 235) each started all 36 games last season. All averaged between 4.9 and 6.8 rebounds per game. All attempted at least 38 3-pointers. And, as seniors, they have an intimate understanding of how to make Wisconsin's system click.
That's especially important on the defensive end, where the Badgers were as efficient as ever in 2011-12. They ranked fifth in the country in adjusted efficiency (87.1 points per 100 possessions) and held opponents to a 42.5 effective field goal percentage, which was second in the nation. The Badgers rely on help and communication, and it's hard to argue against three seniors who have already excelled in that area.