The Wisconsin Badgers clinched a share of the Big Ten championship with their thrilling win over Purdue Tuesday night. With a win Sunday against last place Nebraska, the Badgers can win the Big Ten outright. While Johnny Davis and Brad Davison attract the attention of opposing teams (rightfully so), the unsung hero for the Badgers has been junior forward Tyler Wahl. Wisconisn is not in this position without him.
There Was A Plan For Wahl From Day One
He knew back then that he wanted to play for the Badgers, and even included it on his life goals.@BTNJourney spotlights the junior's path to Madison ⤵️.
— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) February 28, 2022
Hailing out of Lakeville, Minnesota, Tyler Wahl grew up wanting to play for the Badgers. In a recent story on Big Ten Network’s “The Journey”, Tyler Wahl’s oldest sister played basketball at UW-La Crosse. It mentions the men’s basketball team told Tyler he would play for the Badgers one day.
Wahl mentions in the piece he enjoyed watching the 2014 and 2015 final four teams. Greg Gard then mentions while giving Tyler his pitch, Wahl tells Gard he doesn’t have to go on because he’s committing.
As a freshman in the 2019-2020 season, Wahl was a part of the rotation and played 15.4 minutes per game. The scoring wasn’t there, but Badger fans knew they had something with Wahl. As a sophomore, he entered in the starting lineup in the middle of the season and averaged almost 25 minutes a game.
As a junior this year, Wahl is averaging a career high 30 minutes a game and scoring 11.5 points a game. This includes 19 points and five steals performance in the win Tuesday night.
The Hustle Plays
Wahl won’t score 20 points a game consistently and beat you on the scoreboard. However, he’s always been known to make the other plays that don’t make the highlights, but helps win games.
Steal + slam for Tyler Wahl‼️
No. 13 Wisconsin leads No. 16 Ohio State on ESPN 2. pic.twitter.com/V1Zuq99FeP
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 14, 2022
Most will remember this play as a basket, but Wahl never gives up on the play. Basketball is all about winning 50/50 plays. When you win those plays, you end up winning the game most of the time.
Tyler Wahl is going to absolutely WRECK people in the post at his local YMCA someday.
— Dillon Graff (@DillonGraff) February 20, 2022
#Badgers Tyler Wahl might want to think about teaching post play at some point. He can score with either hand. He is patient when looking to score. If he is doubled, he doesn't panic and almost always finds an open shooter.
— Jeff Potrykus (@jaypo1961) February 10, 2022
Wahl has added a lethal post game to his arsenal this year too. He has consistently beat top forwards in the country. It’s typically not a move the best players have, but again, he does the little things that no one appreciates until later on.
The Badgers Need Whal In Their Postseason Run
It’s a given that the Badgers need Johnny Davis and Brad Davison to have any sort of postseason success. The Badgers also need to be playing their best as well if they make a run.
If you haven’t realized yet, the Badgers need Tyler Wahl just as much. The Badgers will need a third scorer and he can provide that. You can’t teach hustle plays and winning 50/50 balls. More often than not, if Tyler Wahl is involved, he going to win that battle.
50/50 plays can either end your NCAA tournament run or earn you another 40 minutes. That’s the motto of postseason play. It doesn’t have to be pretty. Wisconsin has been great at that this season. Gritty not Pretty as they would say.
Tyler Wahl is valuable piece to the Wisconsin Badgers. He will score when he has to, he’ll rebound when he has to, and he’ll extend the possession when needed. His hustle and grit could make a difference in the Badgers seeing the second weekend or beyond in the NCAA Tournament.
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