The Big Ten/ACC challenge is such a great time in college basketball. We get to see some of the best out of conference games of the entire year. Not to mention it is a great way for certain teams to see how the fair versus another good conference early in the year. Wisconsin took on Georgia Tech in Atlanta tonight. The Badgers overcame a slow start, and an impressive performance from Michael Devoe. Wisconsin clinches the challenge for the Big Ten winning 70-66! Here are three things (bonus 4th one thanks to Brad), we learned from Wisconsin’s impressive win over last year’s ACC champs, the Yellow Jackets.
Big Ten Dominance
Coming into the Wisconsin and Georgia Tech matchup, the Big Ten was 7-3. With only needing 8 wins to clinch, the Big Ten was off to an impressive start over the ACC. Including an Ohio State win over number 1 Duke on Tuesday night. This gave the Badgers a good look at how grueling the Big Ten schedule will be this year. Although the ACC is not what it has been in past years, it still is a testament to the strength within the Big Ten. When Big Ten play starts, every night is going to require your A game. A young Badger team will be thrown in the fire as they will see Ohio State and Indiana next Wednesday and Saturday.
First True Road Test
This was the young Badgers first true test in a road environment. I have not seen many Georgia Tech games, but the place seemed to be rocking from the tip. It was interesting to see how the young players handled the adversity. Especially the young guards like Chucky Hepburn and Lorne Bowman. After a very slow start offensively, veteran super senior Brad Davison knocked in back-to-back threes. It’s no secret as to why Davison looked to be the most comfortable player out there. He has played in plenty of tough environments with fans that genuinely dislike him. He completely took over this game in the second half. A shoutout goes to Chris Vogt as well. Another experienced player, who came in and rebounded the ball well. Wisconsin was able to shoot well from the field in the second half, but Georgia Tech was not going out without a fight. In a tight game late, the crowd became a factor and it was impressive to see the young Badgers finish out the game.
Scoring Outside of Davis
Outside of Johnny Davis’ so far this season, offense has been quite the struggle for the Badgers at times. Tonight was no different as the Badgers had a field goal drought that lasted about 8 minutes in the first half. Defense and the shot making of Johnny Davis will have to carry the Badgers throughout the season, but a secondary scorer could really elevate this team.
I look to a guy like Lorne Bowman. Limited in minutes so far this season, when he shoots the ball with confidence he has provided a much needed boost off the bench. Brad Davison obviously knows how to shoot the ball well. He has done a fantastic job sometimes taking the backseat and allowing Johnny Davis and others to create. But, at times especially during droughts, you would like to see him be more aggressive. Not to mention Tyler Wahl showed impressive shot making at the Maui Invitational. A secondary scorer aside Davis will be necessary and maybe someone different every night.
Thank You Brad Davison
I had to add one more takeaway from the game because that is how good Brad was. He must have seen the three things I was beginning to write about and he gave me something else to think about. Brad earned a lot of criticism from Badger fans and NCAAB fans around the country when he decided to come back. A “super senior” as they call it, Brad is not as old as other seniors like last year. He has been so impressive this season. Whether it be mentoring the young guards, taking a back seat to the Johnny Davis’ show, or taking over the game offensively. Brad exploded in the second half. As chants rained down of “Brad, you suck.” Brad responded with 9 straight points and finished the game with 27 points. Davison was one of the worst shooters inside the arc last season percentage wise. This season, Brad is up to 57% on 28 attempts. He also passed Frank Kaminsky on the all-time scoring list for Wisconsin.