It took a while for the 3-seeded Wisconsin Badgers to get started, but they eventually imposed their will on a 14-seeded Colgate Raiders team on Friday night and won 67-60 at the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee. All-American Johnny Davis captained the UW, scoring 17 of his 25 points in the second half and suffocating the defense of, well, everyone in Wisconsin uniform sealed the deal for the Badgers.
Let’s take a look at three things that stood out from Wisconsin’s win in the NCAA Tournament.
No. 1: defense in the second half of the second half
Everyone knew Colgate could shoot the stone. That was literally all I thought about all week. I just knew a stupid nerd who could not get into an ivy so went to a school that sounds like you were going to take a fucking flamethrower to the badger from the other side of the arch. And, yes, in the first four minutes of the second half, Tucker Richardson was that stupid nerd.
Richardson drilled three three-pointers in the first three and a half minutes after halftime, and then made a fourth just over a minute later from near to halfway to give the Raiders a three-point lead. Colgate started the second half and made six of their first seven long-range attempts and a classic Good Shooting Underdog gets Steph Curry Hot From Deep outrage.
After Colgate’s Stormtrooper Jeff Woodward made his and a free throw to give the Raiders a four-point lead with 10:40 left in the game, Wisconsin turned a switch. For the rest of the match, Colgate did not get a single second to breathe on the offensive but a UW player in his damn shirt.
Davis, Brad Davison, Chucky Hepburn and Tyler Wahl all flew around the defense, fighting through screens, questioning every shot attempt and driving Colgate’s shooters from the three-point line.
Although the Badgers attacks did not exactly hum like a well-tuned sports car, they still tore off a 10-0 race, aka a Kill Shot, which was covered by a Davis breakaway that sent the very biased crowd into hysteria. After the initial second half volley of threes from the Raiders, Colgate tried just three more and missed each of them.
No. 2: Ben Carlson on offensive glass
I do not know how loud I have been critical of Carlson’s online game, but every time he enters the game I mumble vulgarities to myself at home. I have not been impressed by him this season and I really hope he makes a big leap next year, but that’s not what this post is about.
This post is about his effort on the offensive glass during the first half of this match.
Carlson played 8:42 in the first half, scoring four points (2-of-3 shots) and taking three rebounds, all on the offensive side of the court. His first o-board led to a Wahl-hook shot that made it 9-6 in the beginning. His second also resulted in a Wahl shot, but this did not go in and his third offensive return ended in him only taking it back for two own points.
Wisconsin’s bench has been overwhelming all season, but if Carlson can give a little spark like he did against Colgate and give Wahl a break, it’s a big development for the Badgers.
No. 3: Johnny Davis during victory time
This was a strange match for Davis. He definitely started tense, like the whole team to be fair, and forced some bad shots before he finally made a 10:31 into the match. He never let his bad shooting get in the way of his rebounds and defense, but Wisconsin’s offense was, uh, not good in the first half against Colgate.
The second half was a completely different story. Davis scored 17 points while never coming off the field once. He added five rebounds, one assist and one steal for good action while making all five free-kick attempts and draining two three-pointers. His defense was also fantastic and he even burst into a smile after his breakaway.
Colgate vs. Wisconsin
Photo by Stacy Revere / Getty Images
Davis’ ankle may still be bothering him, and it looked like he adjusted it in the second half after a collision with a Colgate player, or the extra pressure to play a tournament match in front of your home fans bothered him, but when it was time to winning the basketball game, Davis was top and won.
Just: the badgers take on Iowa State No. 11 on Sunday in the round of 32. The tip-off is scheduled for 5:10 p.m. CT on TNT.