IU Basketball: Wisconsin Game Day Essentials

Game Day Essentials

Indiana (7-1, 1-0) at Wisconsin (7-1, 0-0)

Meet Wisconsin’s Greg Gard

A coaching veteran of 30-plus years, Greg Gard enters his seventh season leading the Wisconsin men’s basketball program in 2021-22.  He has proved himself as one of the best head coaches in the Big Ten. Gard was named 2020 Big Ten Coach of the Year after leading the Badgers to their most recent regular-season conference championship in 2019-20.

Wisconsin’s postseason success hasn’t wavered on Gard’s watch either, participating in the NCAA tournament in five of his first six seasons. Most recently in 2020-21, Gard led the Badgers to an NCAA tournament first-round win over North Carolina, advancing UW to the second round of the NCAA tournament for the fifth time in its last six trips to The Big Dance. In his first six seasons as head coach, Gard posted a record of 119-70, becoming the second-fastest (157 games) Wisconsin coach to 100 overall wins in the NCAA tournament era. He also guided the Badgers to a conference record of 69-45, and his .605 conference win percentage ranked eighth among Big Ten coaches of the last 40 years (since 1980).

Last Time Out – The Badgers at Marquette

Johnny Davis scored 25 points to lead four Wisconsin players in double figures as the No. 23 Badgers downed in-state rival Marquette 89-76 on Saturday. Davis, who averaged seven points a game last season coming off the bench, kept up his torrid start to the season for Wisconsin (7-1). He’s now averaging more than 20 points.

Marquette (7-2) regularly presses and forces opponents into 16 turnovers a game. But Wisconsin was largely unfazed by the full-court pressure. The Badgers finished with 11 turnovers, just two more than their season average.

Brad Davison scored 20 points for Wisconsin, while Steven Crowl and Chucky Hepburn each scored 15. Wisconsin was sluggish, hitting just 5 of 19 from the field (26%) in a game that started with 13 lead changes and six ties. But the Badgers began to take control in the second half, hitting 11 of 12 as they turned a one-point advantage into a 59-44 lead. Marquette cut the lead to single digits briefly. But the Badgers then ran away with the game.

Wisconsin’s Probable Starters

#1 Johnny Davis: Guard, 6-5, Sophomore

  • PPG: 20.1, RPG: 5.6, APG: 2.4, SPG: 1.6, 3FG:  40.7%

#5 Tyler Wahl: Forward, 6-9, Junior

  • PPG: 8.8, RPG: 4.8. BPG: 1.5.

#22 Steven Crowl: Forward, 7-0, Sophomore

  • PPG: 9.4, RPG: 5.4

#23 Chucky Hepburn: Guard, 6-2, Freshman

  • PPG: 7.4, RPG: 2.3, APG: 2.3

#34 Brad Davison: Guard, 6-4, Senior

  • PPG: 15.9, RPG: 4.4, APG: 1.8

Meet the Probable Starters for the Badgers

UW’s roster features 12 underclassmen, tied with Nebraska for most in the Big Ten. It marks UW’s largest group of underclassmen in at least 20 years.  The Badgers rely heavily on their starting five, with no one else averaging more than 12 minutes per game.

Freshman G Chucky Hepburn became the first true freshman to start in a season opener for Wisconsin since Devin Harris in 2001-02. He also became just the 5th UW freshman to score in double figures (13 points) in the season opener since 2000. Chucky Hepburn set career-highs with 15 points and 6 assists.

Sophomore G Johnny Davis, a starter for the first time in his career, leads UW with 20.1 ppg and 5.6 rpg, as well as steals (11). He has established himself as one of the best young guards in college basketball, highlighted by MVP honors at the Maui Invitational earlier this season.

Wahl had ESPN’s Jay Bilas singing his praises after an All-Tournament Team performance during the Maui Invitational in Las Vegas. “Tyler Wahl is one of the best defenders in the country. The box score doesn’t truly indicate his value.” – Jay Bilas, ESPN. In 3 games, Wahl averaged 11.0 points per game, including a career-high 18 points in the championship game against Saint Mary’s.

Steven Crowl enters his second season in the Wisconsin program after appearing in 12 games last year as a true freshman. The 7-foot forward from Eagan, Minnesota scored his first points as a Badger in UW’s season opener against Eastern Illinois, while also grabbing his first career rebound. Crowl is averaging 9.4 points and 5.4 rebounds per game this season.

Fifth-year senior Brad Davison returns as a key team leader for Wisconsin, not only vocally, but also in terms of production on the court. He has made over 130 career starts as a Badger, just the 12th player in school history to reach the 100 milestone. UW’s returning scoring leader, Davison averaged 10.0 points per game last year and shot a career-best 39.1 percent from 3-point range.

Noteworthy KenPom Numbers

  • Offensive efficiency:  No. 50; Defensive efficiency:  No. 16.
  • The adjusted tempo of a Wisconsin game is no surprise — slow.  They rank No. 301 in total possessions.
  • The Badgers are not shooting it well from the field, just 47.4 percent from two (No. 230) and 31.7 percent from three (No. 233).
  • As always UW doesn’t turn it over.  Their turnover rate is 13.8 percent (No. 10).
  • They make 79.5 percent of their free throws (No. 22).
  • A major diversion from past Wisconsin team, they assist on just 40.2 of their field goals (No. 331).  That is their lowest rate going back to 1997, and nine percentage points lower than the next lowest season.
  • Defensively teams are making just 43.3 percent of their two-point shots, good for No. 31.

The Daily Hoosier –“Where Indiana fans assemble when they’re not at Assembly”