Wisconsin guard Jordan Taylor will try and do something no other Wisconsin player has ever done: win the Wooden Award. He is one of 50 finalists for the award and considered one of the top preseason candidates to win the award along with North Carolina's sophomore forward Harrison Barnes and Ohio State's sophomore forward/center Jared Sullinger. Alando Tucker came in second to Texas' Kevin Durant in 2007.
Taylor is also a preseason favorite for the Bob Cousy Award, given to the nation's best point guard. No Badgers player has ever won this award, either. Connecticut's Kemba Walker took home this award last year.
Last season, Taylor was left off the final 10 for the Cousy Award, but after his big game against No. 1 Ohio State, willing the Badgers to a 71-67 victory, Taylor was put back on as finalist No. 11. Taylor eventually made the final five for the award before losing the Walker.
Wisconsin's opponent in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, the North Carolina Tar Heels, have four members on the preseason Wooden award watch list. Along with Barnes, North Carolina also has junior forward John Henson, sophomore guard Kendall Marshall and senior forward Tyler Zeller.
Ohio State was also well represented, as three Buckeyes made the list. In addition to Sullinger, senior guard William Buford and sophomore guard Aaron Craft also made the Wooden Award Award watch list.
Most expect Taylor will go head-to-head for the Big Ten Player of the Year with Sullinger. Taylor averaged 18.1 points, 4.7 assists and 4.1 rebounds per game along with leading the nation in assist to turnover ratio. Sullinger averaged 17.2 points and 10.1 rebounds per game as a freshman last year, along with shooting 54 percent from the field.
Vanderbilt also has three players on the Wooden Award watch list too, center Festus Ezeli, forward Jeffery Taylor and guard John Jenkins.
Taylor made the Sporting News preseason All-American team behind guard Barnes, Sullinger, Jeremy Lamb from Connecticut, incoming freshman forward Anthony Davis and sophomore forward Perry Jones from Baylor.
Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook takes Taylor a step beyond, having him as a preseason first team All-American. Barnes, Sullinger, Kentucky forward Terrance Jones and Syracuse forward Kris Joseph rounds out the five first team predictions.
ESPN's Jay Bilas also has Taylor in his preseason All-America first team. Joining Taylor are Barnes, Sullinger, Lamb and Davis.
Dick Vitale made his preseason top 40 list and has the Badgers slotted at No. 13 because of Taylor and their ability to hold serve at the Kohl Center. The only Big Ten team he has ahead of Wisconsin is Ohio State at No. 4.
In addition to having a preseason top 40, the Lee Corso of college basketball, Vitale also has Taylor on his preseason All-American team. Once again, Sullinger joins him as the Big Ten is the only conference with two players on his team. Barnes and Jones joins them once again, along with Pittsburgh guard Ashton Gibbs.
Wisconsin looks to win multiple awards and earn another trip in the Sweet 16 or make it even further as Wisconsin hasn't made the Elite 8 since 2005 and Final Four since 2000.More to come from Media Day.