Wisconsin and Michigan both entered today winning three of their last four games. The Badgers also had the chance to once again be tied for the #1 spot in the Big Ten. Michigan has not had the season they envisioned so far, but a well coached team under Juwan Howard and a great player like Hunter Dickinson makes this a tough game. In what will be their only meeting of the regular season, a dominant second half propelled Wisconsin to a 77-63 win. Besides some after game poor sportsmanship, this was a great match. Here’s three things.
Battle in the Paint
Wisconsin has had its issues when it comes to guarding big men in the Big Ten. A couple weeks ago, Kofi Cockburn had a dominant 37 points. Last game, Trayce Jackson-Davis had 30 points on just 13 shots.
Today was no easier. Hunter Dickinson averages 18 points per game and is a very skilled seven-footer. Dickinson got off to a quick start scoring 10 of the Wolverines first 14 points. The first 24 points combined came from inside the paint. Aside from the heavy paint presence from Michigan, they were hitting the glass hard. Michigan had 12 offensive rebounds, but the Badgers were lucky as they couldn’t convert on second chances.
As Michigan continued to launch threes, the Badgers kept attacking. You blinked and all of the sudden Wisconsin was dominating in the paint, outscoring Michigan 44-34 in points below the basket. Dickinson only finished with 21 points, but I still am worried that if Wisconsin runs into big men who can score, they will continue to have an issue.
Consistent and Confident Chucky
A ton of praise goes to the Badgers “big three”: Davis, Davison, and Wahl. While this praise is deserved, it’s time to give some to freshman guard Chucky Hepburn. It’s been noted that Hepburn is the first freshman PG to start for the Badgers since Devin Harris. Chucky has received some love with the low turnovers and lockdown defense. It’s time to start seeing Hepburn as a scorer for this team.
— FOX College Hoops (@CBBonFOX) February 20, 2022
Chucky has had 3 turnovers in his last 4 games, and oftentimes has highlights of his hounding defense on opposing guards. The first half showed Chucky’s continued confidence on the offensive end. He’s really found his groove from the mid range, and around the hoop. With Davison in a slump, Chucky will have to continue to provide some offense. How about a step back 3 for the final nail in the coffin with under a minute left in the game. This 3 also made sure that all five Badger starters were in double figures.
I have no idea where this Badger team would be this season without Chucky Hepburn. A consistent solid presence at the PG position he continues to get better with each game. Chucky will be a nightmare for Big Ten teams for years to come.
Johnny Davis Takeover
We’ve seen Johnny take over in big games this season. But this afternoon might have been his most impressive. At one point in the second half, Johnny had 9 points in 2:20 of game time. Before a Brad 3, Davis had scored 11 straight Badger points. If not for one of the worst charge calls I’ve ever seen, Johnny would’ve had another and one.
— Wisconsin On BTN (@WisconsinOnBTN) February 20, 2022
On the other end, Wisconsin was playing some lockdown defense. The Wolverines had 1 field goal made in over 10 minutes of play. A 19-3 run while limiting Dickinson to 1 shot in over 13 minutes had Wisconsin rolling in the second half. Michigan as a team, at one point in the second half missed 15 of 16 shots from the field.
Johnny finished with 25 points while going just 0-1 from 3. It is so impressive in todays game of basketball to be super efficient without the 3 ball. If Johnny continues to improve his shot, look out. I sound like a broken record, but please Badger fans enjoy Johnny Davis. This could go down as one of the greatest Badger seasons from an individual player we’ve ever seen. Safe to say in the future we will see his jersey in the Kohl Center rafters.
Not to mention, this could be a huge turning point for Wisconsin in terms of recruiting. Wisconsin has never been regarded as an NBA factory. Johnny is proof that you can stay home and still achieve your professional dreams.
As I was writing this article, Carter Higginbottom lost his shoe which I assumed prompted a Greg Gard timeout. Not to mention. Michigan was putting on a pretty intense full court press while down 15 points. Juwan Howard was not happy at this timeout, and then decided to foul Wisconsin and make them shoot free throws.
As the handshake lines began, Juwan was not the first Michigan coach through the line. As he met up with Gard it looked as if Gard was trying to explain the timeout. Juwann Howard was not having any of that. As they got face to face, assistant coach Joe Krabbenhoft caught a mean right hand slap from Howard. Such a classless move after a game, but quite honestly doesn’t surprise me from Juwan Howard.
Juwan Howard strikes Wisconsin assistant Joe Krabbenhoft after Michigan-Wisconsin game pic.twitter.com/fbv0WKzbT6
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) February 20, 2022
Jahcobi Neath was also involved with some Wolverine players, hopefully he didn’t throw a punch and is not in trouble. I fully expect commissioner Kevin Warren to come down very hard on this. Personally, I have never seen a coach throw a punch after a game. Juwan Howard’s time in Michigan might be done.
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