Big Life. Big Stage. Big Ten.
The No. 10 Wisconsin Badgers (24-5, 15-4 B1G) win an instant classic over the No. 8 Purdue Boilermakers (24-6, 13-6 B1G) inside the Kohl Center, 70-67, on this Tuesday night!
WHAT. A. GAME.
Great teams show up in big moments. This Wisconsin Badgers men’s basketball team has showed up all year. Couldn’t be happier for this team and staff. Give them the damn 1-seed, NCAA committee!
Greg Gard didn’t call a timeout after Purdue tied the game with 8.9 seconds remaining, which I personally was a HUGE fan of not calling a timeout, and Chucky Hepburn banked in a 3-pointer with 1.5 seconds remaining to give the Badgers the win. And for the 20th time in program history, and for the second time under Greg Gard, the Wisconsin Badgers are champions of the Big Ten Conference!
“In that situation, I just decided to let him go. Put the ball in your playmaker’s hands and let them make a play,” Greg Gard said when asked about not calling a timeout and letting Hepburn go on the final possession.
Wisconsin is now 15-1 in games decided by six points or less. Incredible.
I am just so happy for this Wisconsin Badgers team. I could go on and on about them, but I am just so happy for them. This is their moment. An incredible group of people that represent the best school in the world in an amazing way.
WE DID IT!
I haven’t seen the Kohl Center like it was tonight since the 2014-15 season.
Picked 10th to win the Big Ten. This team deserves the Big Ten AND National Coach of the Year, both B1G and National Player of the Year (Johnny Davis), and Chucky Hepburn B1G freshman of the year.
I couldn’t imagine being anything but a Badger. This team deserves all the praise. No matter what the situation this team effing grinds. Well earned!
Wisconsin is a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament and if you don’t agree you are either Juwan Howard or Jordan Bohannon.
Wisconsin Athletic Director Chris McIntosh postgame said: “We got the best damn fans in the league. We got the best damn coaches in the league. And I know one thing, we got the best damn team in the league!”
Greg Gard postgame said: “This group doesn’t have a bad practice. They just embrace being with each other. You don’t win a championship if you’re not connected and together. That’s what I will take with me as much as any of the wins we’ve accumulated.”
The Badgers got so many really good performances tonight.
Tyler Wahl, who will need an ice bath tonight after leaving everything on the court, led UW with a much needed 19 points, and grabbed five steals, two rebounds, two blocks and two assists in 33 minutes.
Chucky Hepburn had a big first half, and of course a big final shot, and finished with 17 points, two assists and a steal in 32 big minutes. He does need to invest in a wheel barrel for those stones!
Johnny Davis, who’s No. 1 on everyone’s defensive game plan, finished with 16 points, eight rebounds and an assist. He is the Player of the Year.
Brad Davison finished with just seven points tonight on three field goals, but they were all timely buckets. Davison also steadied the team when Chucky Hepburn went to the bench with his fourth personal foul. Davison also grabbed four big rebounds.
I thought Chris Vogt and Jahcobi Neath were fantastic off the bench for UW tonight.
Vogt on Williams, Neath on Ivey.
Both gave Wisconsin great minutes defensively.
Ben Carlson also had some huge rebounds for UW that looked like they might go Purdue’s way as well.
Wisconsin made 26-of-61 (42.6%) from the field, 7-of-22 (31.8%) from 3-point range and 11-for-12 (91.7%) at the free throw line. UW finished with just nine assists, would like that number to be a little higher, but did commit just six turnovers which is a great number.
Johnny Davis might be the best player. Davison might be the best leader. Hepburn might be the steadiest. Etc. But you could make the argument that Tyler Wahl is the most valuable…just does so many things that lead to victory.
Wahl won’t win any All-B1G honors due to the depth of the conference and the abundance of big time players with big time stats, but he is one of the 15 best players in the conference if you want to win games.
Fans that wanted Greg Gard fired said he “can’t coach,” or “can’t recruit,” or “can’t develop players.”
The Badgers have won two Big Ten Titles in the last three seasons. One with seven scholarship players. This one after losing five scholarship seniors from the previous season and were projected to finish 10th.
Greg Gard haters, you may retire now. Everyone else, distance yourself from the haters.
The Wisconsin Badgers will conclude the regular season against the Nebraska Cornhuskers (9-21, 3-16 B1G) on Sunday, March 6th from the Kohl Center. Tipoff is scheduled for 1:00 PM (Central Time) and will be televised on the Big Ten Network (BTN).
With a win, the Badgers will be outright Big Ten Champions. With a loss and with two Illinois wins this week, they’ll be co-champs.