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Numbers Don't Lie

Numbers Don't Lie

Brian Lucas (Assistant Director of Athletic Communications)

In the first of a 10-part series reviewing the historic 2006-07 men’s basketball season, assistant director of athletic communications Brian Lucas takes a look at some of the records that were broken this season.

I’m a numbers guy. I got into the job I have today partly because of my love of statistics. I could read a major league baseball boxscore before I ever delved into anything Beverly Cleary wrote.

That was one of the many reasons working with this year’s men’s basketball team was so special. It seemed as though after every game I would be looking something up and finding out it was the first time since the early 1900’s that the Badgers did whatever. And eventually, the “since” part dropped out and it just became “the first time.”

The best example of that, in my opinion, is the bottom line, 30 wins. Coming into the season, UW had never won more than 25 games (in 2003-04 and 2004-05). There were a couple three-year stretches when the Badgers didn’t reach 30 victories. In the 103-year history of the Big Ten Conference, only 13 teams have ever won at least 30 games.

As the wins kept piling up, the records kept falling. The Badgers’ 21-1 start was the best in school history (in the interest of full disclosure, the 1911-12 and 1913-14 Badgers both finished the season 15-0 so their only downfall was not playing more games … same with the 1915-16 squad that finished 20-1).

The biggest reason for the great start was the school-record 17-game winning streak. The previous single-season school mark was 15 games set in the two years UW went 15-0 and tied again during the national championship season of 1940-41 when the Badgers won their final 15 games.

With the victories came national recognition and a steady ascent in the polls. Wisconsin had not been ranked in the single digits since 1962 and its highest ranking ever (No. 6) came on Dec. 4 of that season. On Dec. 18, 2006, following a convincing home win over then-No. 2 Pitt, UW moved into fourth in the Associated Press poll, officially entering rarified air.

After spending just six weeks in the A.P. Top 10 in school history entering this season, the Badgers were ranked in the top 10 for 17 weeks, including 12 straight weeks in the top five. The high point came on Feb. 19 when UW earned its first-ever No. 1 ranking. In the history of the Associated Press poll, dating back to 1948-49, only 52 schools have earned the No. 1 ranking.

There were so many other records and because I don’t want this to read like a Bill Simmons column it may seem like I’m glossing over them. But they are all impressive. 13 Big Ten Conference victories. Team records for games played, points scored, field goals, free throws and free throw attempts.

Alando Tucker practically re-wrote the record book by himself. Single-season records for points scored, field goals, field goal attempts and free throw attempts. He would have set the record for minutes played but his teammate, Kammron Taylor, beat him by one minute. Tucker, Taylor, Jason Chappell and Michael Flowers became the first UW players to start 36 games in a season.

Then there are Alando’s career records. Points scored, field goals, free throws, free throw attempts, offensive rebounds, games played and started and minutes played. Kam is also on the career lists for 3-pointers made and attempted, free throw percentage and games played. To view the complete list of records from this season, click on the “This Year’s Records” link on the men’s basketball season review page.

This being the first of a 10-part series (I know, very ambitious, but I’m just trying to get back in the good graces of those who expressed their displeasure at the lack of blogs this season) there is plenty more to cover than dry numbers. But I wanted to make sure everyone was starting off on the right foot. That any way you shake it, this season was historically one of the best in school history.

Be sure to check out the 2006-07 men’s basketball season review page here for daily updates and links to final statistics, records, honors and much more.

Appears in Men's Basketball Blog

Tagged with NCAA, Men's Basketball Blog

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