Wisconsin took on Minnesota early this afternoon with the chance to tie the all time record between these two at 104-104. One of the oldest rivalries in college basketball hasn’t been tied in over fifty years. Wisconsin has dominated this since the 2000’s, especially at the Kohl Center. Today saw the Badgers with another win over the Gophers 66-60. Wisconsin once again in first place of the Big Ten, here’s three things from the game.
Rebounding was going to be a major emphasis in this game. The Gophers last time out against Ohio State gave up 20 offensive rebounds. It has also been well noted the Badgers struggles at times on the glass this season.
How do you dominate the rebound battle? How about your superstar and National Player of the Year candidate pulling down a career high 15 rebounds. When you see your superstar putting his body on the line to rebound the ball it inspires the rest of the team to step up. Wisconsin just edged out the Gophers on the glass 32 to 30. However, two rebounds that stand out were an offensive rebound by Johnny late in the game, followed by a huge defensive rebound on the other end.
Wisconsin has done a fantastic job recruiting in their rival state over the last decade. Four key Badger rotational players are all from Minnesota, including three starters. Brad Davison had another hot start, knocking down three triples in the first half. He finished with 14 points and for the second straight game ignited the Badgers offense. The Maple Grove native has a strong relationship with new Minnesota coach Ben Johnson, who has done a great job in his first season.
Don't know if Steven Crowl has gotten the love he's deserved this year. #Badgers
— Evan Flood (@Evan_Flood) January 30, 2022
Other notable Minnesotans for the Badgers today were Steven Crowl and Tyler Wahl. Crowl, who is from Eagan, does not get the credit he deserves. Crowl has really come along this season, showing off some very impressive post moves and finishes today. Tyler Wahl, who went to Lakeville North is another Badger who has really stepped up this season. He had 15 points today, and more importantly went 5-6 from the FT line. An area he has improved drastically in. I hope the Badgers continue to steal Minnesota talent because it has arguably been one of the better states in all of the Midwest. I hope the Badgers continue to recruit Minnesota talent because it has arguably been one of the best states in the Midwest.
Johnny Davis is the guy in the clutch for Wisconsin. Everyone knows it, and teams still can’t stop it. Davis has had so many clutch moments this season already. Think back to the Houston game, or at Purdue, and then again today. However, today wasn’t just about shot making. As noted earlier, Johnny had two massive rebounds with under a minute left in the game. Also in the last minute of the game, Davis had four points. The only four points in the final minute of the game by either team.
We are all witnesses. @JohnnyDavis // @BadgerMBB pic.twitter.com/NXrr2JGCue
— Wisconsin On BTN (@WisconsinOnBTN) January 30, 2022
Aside from the heroics of Johnny Davis. Freshman Chucky Hepburn stepped up to the challenge defensively in the closing moments of the game. Minnesota’s Payton Willis is one of the best scorers in the Big Ten. He got it going late in the game from three. When the Gophers needed a bucket, just like Davis the Badgers knew where it was going. The Defense from Hepburn was smothering. It took away time and didn’t allow Willis to get a clean look. The Badgers are now 10-1 in games decided by six points or less. 10-0 when Johnny Davis plays. Such an impressive stat for a young team, and shows the amazing job Greg Gard has done.
Although Minnesota’s record may not show it, this is a good team. First year coach Ben Johnson is turning this program around. This team plays hard, and when Willis is making shots they give a challenge to every Big Ten team. This is another good win for the Badgers who continue to pile those up. It also always feels good beating the Gophers no matter the sport.
A quick shout out to the student section at the Kohl Center who brought the energy today. Which include a “we want Caleb” chant with the rumors swirling around Caleb Williams and Wisconsin.
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