The I-94 rivalry has been played since 1917 where Wisconsin took down Marquette 15-14. Safe to say the game has changed quite a bit since then. Both teams were overlooked by the “experts” coming into this season, and both have continued to exceed expectations in this young season. Wisconsin recently cracked the top 25 and Marquette was making their way there. Wisconsin got the better of Marquette today 89-76. Here’s three things we learned.
During this hot start for the Badgers, the offense wasn’t the thing winning them games. Outside of a couple of Davison and Davis outbursts, the Badgers had struggled from the three point line and long scoring droughts. Today, Wisconsin easily had their best offensive performance of the season.
Finally being home at the Kohl Center helped out but with only a 3 point lead at half, the Badgers erupted in the second half scoring 53 points and going 19/27 from the field. As a team, the Badgers shot 50% from the field and 41% from 3. Four different Badgers scored in double figures including a career high for Chucky Hepburn.
Johnny Davis NBA?
Johnny Davis had another impressive performance this afternoon. The sophomore guard continues to dazzle badger fans and is putting college basketball on notice. Grad transfer from Maryland, Darryl Morsell had the task of guarding Davis. Morsell, who saw Davis last season in a limited capacity, is a great defender. Davis had no issues with the lockdown defender.
Davis was able to get anywhere he wanted on the floor, and once again showed off his shotmaking. Highlighted by a nasty step back jumper, Davis himself had to mean mug on his way down the court. Floaters, mid range, attacking the hoop, and 1/1 from 3. Davis has shown all year, different ways he can dominate a game. Whether it be from 3, in the paint, midrange, or even defense. When his offense was struggling at Georgia Tech, he came up with a huge block on Devoe late in the game.
Former Badger Sam Dekker said it best on Twitter. Let’s simply enjoy Davis while he is wearing the red and white. Whether it be the NBA next year or if he stays all four. Let’s celebrate this special young kid. If Davis continues this all season, there is no question he will jump up NBA draft boards. Not to mention, having an in-state recruit come to Wisconsin and then to the NBA is great for the program!
During this hot start, Wisconsin has relied on many stars to carry the load. Other guys have really taken strides and gained major confidence. One example for the Badgers has been Steven Crowl. A lanky big man who has good skill, struggled early in the season with double teams and finding his shot. A lot of credit for his growth can be given to Brad Davison. Davison has multiple times this season directed traffic allowing for a one on one post up for Crowl. When Crowl gets the opportunities he has shown some great footwork and touch around the hoop. We know he can step out and hit a 3, but the more he established a post presence the better for Wisconsin’s offense. Frank Kaminsky, Ethan Happ, Micah Potter, Nigel Hayes and Nate Reuvers. Wisconsin has been dominant when they have a good post presence they can throw the ball to.
Let’s not forget the growing confidence we see from freshman guard, Chucky Hepburn. He is proving to be a complete menace on defense. He will be harassing Big Ten guards for years to come. Notching his career high today, he knows exactly when to take his shots on offense and has done a great job running this offense.
This Wisconsin team is such a pleasure to watch every game. A huge roster turnaround, many counted out the Badgers this season. Once again the Badgers find ways to win. Through not fouling, good defense, and now some serious offensive weapons. Wisconsin is going to shock a lot of people.