The Wisconsin/Minnesota border battle rivalry is a fun one. Perhaps what has made it more fun as of late is how the Badgers have thoroughly dominated the Golden Gophers.
Wisconsin defeated Minnesota 68-67 Wednesday night at Williams Arena in the latest installment of this rivalry. With the win, the Badgers swept the 2021-22 season series, improving to 22-5 on the year, while Minnesota fell to 13-13.
The Golden Gophers are a familiar opponent of the Badgers; the rivals have faced off 209 times. With Wednesday’s win, the Badgers now lead the all-time series 105-104, the first time they’ve led since 1971. This comes as no surprise, as the Badgers have recently owned the Gophers. Since February of 2010, Wisconsin has gone 17-5 against Minnesota.
What’s even more impressive is the program’s recruiting in the state of Minnesota. Wisconsin has stolen a lot of talent from across the border over the years, including the likes of Badger greats John Leuer and Jordan Taylor.
Today, three of Wisconsin’s five starters are from the Land of 10,000 Lakes: Brad Davison, Tyler Wahl, and Steven Crowl. All have been pivotal parts of Wisconsin’s unexpected Big Ten title run season. All three received offers from Minnesota coming out of high school. However, they all chose Wisconsin over their home state university. In addition, Ben Carlson — who has been a valuable player off the bench for the Badgers this year — hails from Minnesota as well.
Special thanks to the state of Minnesota for the plethora of talented players you’ve helped funnel into the Wisconsin men’s basketball program over the years. #Badgers
— Dillon Graff (@DillonGraff) February 24, 2022
It’s clear that Minnesota’s top talent chose to leave their home state to play collegiate ball. Those recruits who don’t choose “blue blood” programs, but still want to compete for Big Ten titles and play in NCAA tournaments, look across the border to Wisconsin to do so. And who would blame them? Since 1999, the Gophers have made seven NCAA tournaments. The Badgers since 1999? 21 appearances in the big dance. Similarly, Wisconsin has won 19 Big Ten titles, while Minnesota has won eight, their most recent in 1982.
Sorry, Gopher fans. It’s not hard to see: Wisconsin owns Minnesota on the hard wood.
Follow me on Twitter @Mara__Allen and follow us @WiSportsHeroics for more great content! For the latest in Wisconsin sports, click here. Check out our merch store for some WSH merchandise!