Wisconsin basketball opened up Big Ten play tonight at home versus Indiana. Indiana has not won in the Kohl Center since 1998. The Badgers would be without Lorne Bowman and Jahcobi Neath who both are battling an illness, (not covid related). After a miserable first half for Wisconsin, another second half surge has the Badgers 1-0 in the Big Ten following the 64-59 win. Here are three things from the game.
In the past, Wisconsin has not been known to be a team that comes from behind very often. Building their identity on controlling pace, not fouling, and shooting the three ball well. Wisconsin did none of those things well in the first half and found themselves behind quickly. However, the Badgers were able to battle back in the second half thanks to their defense, and this win marked the third time just this season that Wisconsin has come back from double digits to win. Tonight also tied the largest deficit overcome in program history at 22 points last done in 1976. It’s not something that Gard and the team want to become comfortable with, nonetheless it is impressive to see the fight and resilience with this group.
Greg Gard the Silent Assassin
If you know, you know. Players like Davison, Davis, and Wahl have been given much of the credit which they should. But, don’t overlook the job Greg Gard has done this year with this group. After the tumultuous offseason within the program. From leaked private conversations, to rumors of Gard not having control of the locker room. This season was going to be a testament to Gard’s ability to overachieve with a group that was predicted bottom in the Big Ten. Not to mention, people who questioned the ability to recruit from Gard and the staff don’t have much of an argument anymore. The Davis twins, Hepburn, and others have proven to be the perfect fit for this program.
One thing in particular that had me excited with Gard tonight was the rotations. I understand it is not solely on Gard, but in the second half he made some tough decisions that paid off. When Hepburn picked up an early third foul in the second half, Gard turned to Jordan Davis. This was partially due to missing Bowman and Neath. When Jordan provided a boost off the bench, Gard gave him some extra minutes. Same goes for Chris Vogt. Crowl also was in some foul trouble and when Vogt was making an impact on the game, Gard turned away from a starter and rode the hot hand. Vogt only had 7 points on the year coming into tonight, but finished with 9 points, 6 rebounds, with 4 of those being offensive rebounds. Vogt also played great defense, as Trayce Jackson-Davis didn’t have a field goal the final 15:20.
Johnny Davis All-American?
Johnny Davis added to his already impressive sophomore campaign with some major dunks and stone cold threes. Davis is a straight up walking highlight film. Every game he seems to top what he did the previous game. Tonight included two monster dunks over both Indiana big man defenders.
On top of that, how about a clutch three to give Wisconsin a one point lead with just over a minute remaining. At this point, Davis is making a serious case to be an All-American this year. If he continues at this pace, look out for National Player of the Year. As long as he continues to play like this, hes guaranteed a spot in my three things articles.
Wisconsin can’t celebrate this one too much. They head to Ohio State for a Saturday morning game. A top-25 matchup, the Buckeyes have a good team and usually are a tough team to beat at home.