The border battle is one of the best rivalries in the Big Ten. Although Wisconsin has dominated the series as of late. Minnesota always seems to make the games very interesting. Last night was no different, as the Badgers squeaked out a 1 point win at The Barn 68-67. Here’s three things.
Next Man Up
For as long as I can remember, Wisconsin has always been a team built on the “next man up mentality”. This year however, they have been a little more reliant on their starters to carry the load.
Last night, the Badgers were without Lorne Bowman, (illness not covid related), and Jahcobi Neath who is surviving that one game suspension. This certainly didn’t help Wisconsin’s issues with bench production this season. A quiet night from Johnny, which included fouling out late in the game. Wisconsin needed a few guys to step up, and they did.
One of whom was Jordan Davis. Being twin brothers with the National Player of the Year, you can definitely fall in the shadows of him. Jordan has not played much at all this season, but we know behind the scenes he is putting in the work. There have been multiple times where we’ve seen Jordan out on the court hours after games.
Jordan seemed like he was waiting for this moment and he did not disappoint. 3/3 from the field and a +11 with him on the floor. Can’t forget the defensive play made on Jameson Battle late in the game.I think we will be seeing him more in the future.
Greg Gard on Jordan Davis:
"I was really happy for Jordan. I thought he had a little bounce. He knew this was coming. Just really happy for him. The kid works hard. The kid is a phenomenal teammate."#Badgers
— Evan Flood (@Evan_Flood) February 24, 2022
Tyler Wahl was another one who stepped up, he always seems to do so. He didn’t have a great half offensively in the second half, however he made all the winning plays. 10 huge rebounds which included six offensive rebounds. Highlighted by a tap out with 23 seconds left to essentially ice the game for Wisconsin. You should have heard the groans from Gopher fans every time he retrieved an offensive rebound.
Wisconsin has had its issues with foul trouble this season. For a disciplined team that doesn’t turn the ball over and emphasizes not fouling, this is very strange. Usually we see it with Crowl and Vogt, which is understandable due to the great bigs in this league.
Tonight was uncharted territory as Johnny Davis picked up his fourth and fifth fouls in back-to-back plays with 2:35 left in the game. You could see the frustration on Johnny’s face building throughout the night. Davis felt like he was getting a tough whistle all night, and to be honest I have to agree with him.
The Gophers were in double bonus early in the second half and Wisconsin is lucky that Minnesota only attempted 19 free throws. Crowl also was in foul trouble in the first half and Wahl had issues in the second half. To be fair, the officiating was awful for most of the second half on both sides. But, this has been an issue for Wisconsin all year and hopefully is something that is fixed.
Steven Crowl was one of the more interesting stories heading into this season. Not playing much at all last year, he was thrown into the starting role and has responded in a way I think no one expected.
Last night was an indication of that. Crowl was fantastic in the first half for Wisconsin. 20 points to go along with seven boards. He was one point shy of his career high, but this game was easily more impressive from the big man. Just imagine what another off-season in the weight room could do for Crowl. To go along with his great touch around the rim and outside the arch. He could be the next great big man for Wisconsin.
Give Steven Crowl another offseason in the weight room and my goodness he could be a force next fall for the Badgers.
— Benjamin Worgull (@TheBadgerNation) February 24, 2022
Another hard fought Big Ten road win. Never take for granted winning in the Big Ten. Especially for a team who was projected 10th that now is tied for first in the conference with three games left.
No time to celebrate though as the Badgers head to Rutgers on Saturday. A place that has not been friendly to Wisconsin in the past.
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