The Wisconsin Badgers locker room was understandably dazed and confused during the week following Bo Ryan’s retirement.

Filled with mystery about the future of the young team and sporting an underachieving 7-5 record, only one word really came to mind: uncertainty.

The program knew a few things. Greg Gard, the long-time assistant to Ryan, was set to take over for the rest of the season. Athletic director Barry Alvarez would open up a national search at the end of the season, as he had mentioned during the summer. Gard could fill the now vacant assistant coaching position if he pleased.

Still, so many questions came to mind for fans, the media, the administration, and even the players. What was Wisconsin basketball without Bo Ryan? Who is Greg Gard? What about recruiting? Where does the team begin in putting the pieces back together?

You have probably read the story by now on how Badgers interim head coach Greg Gard had his team literally build a foundation with bricks. Each Wisconsin player, coach, and regular staff member put their name on a brick and put on there what responsibility or trait they would bring to the table to help build the foundation.

That was the same day the team was introduced to assistant coach Howard Moore, who came back as an assistant after a five-year stint at University of Illinois-Chicago and some time with the Big Ten Network.

“I thought that really set the tone about what Coach Gard wanted to get accomplished and the foundation that he was building,” Moore reflected on Monday. “We had to kinda reassess things, we had to kinda shuffle some things back in order, and I thought that was a great building block to start from.”

It may have taken a few extra expletives from Nigel Hayes after the Northwestern loss, but Moore firmly believes that the team’s success started his first day. The team needed to reevaluate the meaning of wearing the Wisconsin uniform. Players needed to start buying in. Truthfully, the team just needed to win to get something going.

“Since then, I think people have really taken that seriously,” Moore explained. “I think people have taken ownership, which is a big part of what has made this program successful. To each man, taking ownership for what his responsibilities are and what he can do.”

It is safe to say players have taken this ownership. Whether it is Bronson Koenig serving as the Badgers’ floor general, Nigel Hayes being the team’s fearless leader, or Vitto Brown knocking down jump shots, each player has embraced his role. Brown, a junior who has not made much of an impact until this season, has worked tirelessly all year long. He has notably been using the team’s shooting machine to get as many jumpshots in as possible. That extra work is paying off for Brown, one of the best examples of how Gard has gotten the most out of his players.

“Obviously all of our guys are contributing in different ways,” Brown said Monday. “I wanted to be able to add some as well not only on defensive rebounding, but scoring.”

Brown has been a successful product of the re-implementation of Bo Ryan’s swing offense, something Gard decided to do as soon as he took over. But, Badger players and coaches will tell you that maybe too much has been made of the “implementation of the swing offense.” Nigel Hayes and Ethan Happ both laughed at the question after the game Sunday night about the swing offense’s impact on the team’s success.

Yes, the Badgers put the swing back into play, but it has really been players executing on offense more than anything else. The swing can only do so much to get an offense going. In fact, some would even say it can cause offensive stagnancy. As Coach Moore said, what the swing “did was it put us on track offensively; it gave us responsibilities and purpose.”

There it is again. Responsibility. Purpose. Accountability. Ownership. They’re all part of the recipe of the Wisconsin standard that Gard has continued to grow, even if he had to rebuild the foundation.

On Friday, the Wisconsin Athletic Department posted the head coaching position online. According to Wisconsin state law, the position must be posted for at least one week. Applications are due on March 3rd, and the anticipated begin date is March 8th. Multiple candidates must be interviewed and the candidate must be approved by the UW Board of Regents.

After Sunday’s 68-57 win over Michigan, Gard was told the Badgers student section was cheering “We Want Gard!”. Gard commented that the phrase was quite a mouthful, but his answer was not about him.

“I have said from day one this is not about me,” Gard claimed. “I have told the team this is not an audition. I will coach them the same way whether I had three months to coach them or 10 years.”

At this point, all of the signs point to Greg Gard to be the next head coach of the Wisconsin Badgers.