2024-25 Big Ten Offseason at a Glance: Wisconsin Badgers – Inside the Hall

Welcome to “Big Ten Offseason at a Glance,” a team-by-team look at the conference in early summer. We examine the roster moves for each Big Ten roster and provide an early look at each Big Ten schedule for the 2024-2025 season.

earlier: Penn State, Minnesota, Illinois, Iowa, Oregon, Washington, Maryland, Nebraska

Today: Wisconsin (22-14 overall in 2023-24, 11-9 in Big Ten play)

Wisconsin won 22 games and reached the finals of the 2024 Big Ten Tournament before falling 72-61 to James Madison in the first round of the 2024 NCAA Tournament. Greg Gard is entering his tenth season at Wisconsin and has not reached the Sweet Sixteen since 2017.

Grid movement in Wisconsin

Players returning and still eligible: Kamari McGee, Max Klesmit, John Blackwell, Nolan Winter, Steven Crowl, Carter Gilmore, Markus Ilver

Players are leaving because they are no longer eligible:Tyler Wahl

Players who left via the transfer portal: Chucky Hepburn (to Louisville), Isaac Lindsey (to South Dakota State), AJ Storr (to Kansas), Connor Essegian (to Nebraska), Gus Yalden (to Seton Hall)

Players arriving via the transfer portal: Camren Hunter (from Central Arkansas), Xavier Amos (from Northern Illinois), John Tonje (from Missouri)

Players come through high school: Daniel Freitag, Jack Robison

The Badgers were decimated by the transfer portal when Hepburn and Storr made big deals to go to Louisville and Kansas, respectively. Wisconsin added three players from the portal, two high school recruits and has one scholarship currently open for next season.

What’s to like about Wisconsin?

Wisconsin returns Klesmit and Crowl, two starters, and Blackwell, a super sub. Blackwell was one of the best freshmen in the conference last season. Storr’s departure should move Blackwell into the starting lineup.

That still leaves holes to be filled at the point, Hepburn’s former position and the four, Wahl’s old spot. Gard appears to have found a capable replacement at point guard in Hunter, who averaged 16.9 points, five rebounds and 3.9 assists at Central Arkansas two seasons ago and sat out last season due to injury. Freitag, a freshman, should also get plenty of opportunities in the backcourt.

Up front, look for Armos, a transfer from Northern Illinois, to start at the four alongside Crowl. Amos certainly looks to be an impact player after averaging 13.8 points, 5.8 rebounds and shooting 38.5 percent on 3s last season for the Huskies. And Tonje arrives in Wisconsin after struggling at Missouri last season following a successful run at Colorado State. He averaged 14.6 points for the Rams during the 2022-2023 season.

What to ask with Wisconsin

No team was hurt more by the portal than Wisconsin, when Storr and Hepburn left Madison. Storr is a fringe NBA player, but was now easily the most talented offensive player on Wisconsin’s roster. He will now stand up for Bill Self in Lawrence.

The loss of Hepburn was more surprising considering he was a three-year starter for the Badgers and would have been the leader as a senior. But the lure of a big NIL package lured him away, leaving Wisconsin without a proven point guard at the Big Ten level.

There is talent in this selection, but the margin for error is small. The Badgers need Hunter to make a huge impact in the backcourt and for Blackwell to make a big leap forward on the wing.

Nebraska’s prospects for the 2024-2025 season

Here is Wisconsin’s Big Ten schedule for next season:

At home: Indiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio State, Oregon, Penn State, Washington
Away: Maryland, Michigan State, Northwestern, Purdue, Rutgers, UCLA, USC
Away from home: Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota

Wisconsin is ranked No. 37 in the latest Bart Torvik projections for next season and is the first team out in Joe Lunardi’s early Bracketology projections for the 2024 NCAA Tournament.

If things go well with newcomers like Hunter, Tonje, Freitag and Amos, the Badgers should be in the mix to finish in the top half of the expanded Big Ten. If not, questions about Gard’s job security could increase.

Posted in: 2024-25 Big Ten Preview, Wisconsin Badgers

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