Brad Davison’s career game helps Wisconsin take care of Nebraska

For the first time in more than a month Wisconsin has won on the road.

The Badgers went to Lincoln and took care of Nebraska 81-64 Saturday afternoon. It was their first win away from Madison since Jan. 11 at Penn State.

After hitting a school record 18 3-pointers against the Cornhuskers last month, Wisconsin was hot from beyond the arc again. The club combined to hit 15 of 31 shots from deep. That included a school-record tying eight from guard Brad Davison. He went 8-for-11, finishing with 30 points, which tied a career-high. For perspective, Davison had 30 points combined in his last five games.

His backcourt mate, D’Mitrik Trice, did his part, too, going 5-for-6 from distance and ending up with 15 points.

The game, like it was in Madison, saw the Badgers lead 39-38 at halftime. Playing without forward Nate Reuvers for much of the first 20 minutes, forward Micah Potter took advantage of an undersized Nebraska front. He had 11 of his 15 points and four of his seven rebounds before the break.

In the second half, Wisconsin managed to pull away thanks to a 20-2 run that was fueled by Davison and Trice. The duo either scored or assisted on every basket in the run. Trice finished with five assists for the game and not a single turnover.

The win pushed the Badgers to 15-10 on the year and 8-6 in Big Ten play. It also gave them back-to-back wins for the first time since beating Penn State and Maryland last month.

Wisconsin will come home to face Rutgers on Tuesday at the Kohl Center.

Wisconsin Basketball Roundtable: Feb. 14, 2020

On this week’s Wisconsin Basketball Roundtable, our former Badgers — Josh Gasser, Brian Butch and Mike Bruesewitz — talk about the win over Ohio State, the Badgers road woes and the Erik Helland situation. BadgerBlitz.com’s Jon McNamara also joins the show to discuss whether there is any fallout on the recruiting trail as a result of Helland’s resignation. 

With a month before Selection Sunday, Wisconsin in good position for NCAA tourney berth

Wisconsin’s up-and-down season has it sitting at 14-10 overall and 7-6 in Big Ten play. In most years, that kind of resume would have the Badgers firmly on the bubble of the NCAA Tournament. But this is not most years in college basketball.

The ACC, long thought to be the most dominant conference in the nation, is having a down campaign. Several conferences will likely benefit greatly from the fallout, but none more than the Big Ten. Wisconsin (33) is one of 11 teams in the top 40 of the NET Rankings, an important tool used by the tournament selection committee. No other conference has more than five.

That presence has carried over to the various mock brackets being put out as we sit 33 days out from Selection Sunday. In his latest Bracketology, ESPN’s Joe Lunardi has 11 Big Ten teams making it. If that happened, it would tie the record for the most teams in the tournament from a single conference, matching the number the Big East had in 2011. That was when the conference had 16 teams.

As for Wisconsin’s tournament prospects, most believe the Badgers are in good shape to make it even with the departure of guard Kobe King in late January. With seven games to play in the regular season, T-Ranketology gives coach Greg Gard’s club a 96.7 percent chance to earn an at-large bid. That’s powered by seven Quadrant 1 wins, tied for the fourth-most in the country. They’ll likely have a chance to add to that with road games at Michigan and Indiana, while home games against Purdue and Rutgers could also end up in that column.

All of that is to say that despite the rollercoaster of a season the Badgers have had, a trip to the tourney for the 21st time in 22 seasons appears within reach.

Here’s a look at the latest bracket projections for Wisconsin from several different sites:

ESPN: No. 8 seed vs Rhode Island (Omaha)
CBSSports.com: No. 10 seed vs USC (Greensboro)
Bracketville: No. 8 seed vs Oklahoma (Sacramento)
The Bracketeer: No. 8 seed vs Oklahoma (Sacramento)
SBNation: No. 7 seed

If you’re looking for even more mock brackets, visit BracketMatrix.com. That site tracks every known bracket and is updated daily.

Wisconsin 70, Ohio State 57: Last word

MADISON — Wisconsin continued its trend of playing well at home Sunday, taking down Ohio State 70-57 to claim a regular season sweep of the Buckeyes for the first time since 2005.

Player of the Game: Brevin Pritzl

The senior went off, scoring a season-high 19 points. It included a pair of 3-pointers and two assists in a 16-0 run to end the first half that gave the Badgers an 18-point lead at the break. When Ohio State got within 11 to open the second half, Pritzl responded with a layup and a 3-pointer. He finished the game with five 3-pointers, one off his career-high. Wisconsin is now 8-0 when Pritzl scores in double figures.

The good: Aleem Ford

When Ford is aggressive and is willing to bang down low, he’s at his best. On Sunday, he was and he produced a solid game on both ends of the floor. He had 10 points and a career-high nine rebounds, including four on the offensive end. He shot a season-high eight times but also dished out three assists and, after getting turned around a couple times in the first half, more than held his own on the defensive end.

The not so good: Outside shooting

If you take Pritzl out of the equation, the rest of the Badgers were 7-for-26 (26.9 percent) from beyond the arc.

Stat of the Game: 24

That was Wisconsin’s biggest lead of the game. The Badgers have now led or trailed by at least 18 points in six of their last seven games.

Best Video:

What they said:

Trevor Anderson on what they took from the 2000 Final Four team that was honored during halftime.

“Everything we’ve learned from them is just about playing for the W on the front of your jersey. They said there were like (12-11) at one point in the season. It just shows that anything can happen when you buy in and play for each other, so that’s a good message for us.”

In Case You Missed It

— Wisconsin honored the 2000 Final Four team with a halftime ceremony. A healthy contingent of the team returned to Madison, but the biggest cheers came for coach Dick Bennett.

— Playing in his second game against his former team, Micah Potter made his first start with the Badgers. He finished with 9 points and 5 rebounds in 23 minutes.

— D’Mitrik Trice continued his strong play of late with a career-high 8 assists. He’s now had at least five assists in five of the last six games.

| A large collection of future recruits were in the crowd. That included 2020 signees Johnny and Jordan Davis, Steven Crowl and Carter Gilmore. 2021 commit Chris Hodges also was in attendance.

What’s next?

Wisconsin (14-10, 7-6) will travel to Nebraska (7-16, 2-10) on Saturday to take on the Huskers.

Wisconsin, Notre Dame to play under the lights at Lambeau Field

Wisconsin will play at least two night games in 2020.

The program announced Friday that its game against Notre Dame at Lambeau Field on Oct. 3 will kickoff at 6:30 p.m.

https://twitter.com/BadgerFootball/status/1225844534464143365

It was already announced the Badgers season opener against Indiana will be a night game on Sept. 4.

The matchup with the Fighting Irish is the first of two games between the schools, with the other taking place in 2021 at Solider Field in Chicago. The game this fall will see the two teams play for the first time since 1964. Notre Dame leads the all-time series 8-6-2.

For Wisconsin, this will be the second time it has played at the home of the Green Bay Packers. The Badgers opened the 2016 season at the historic venue and beat No. 5 LSU 16-14.

Badgers blown out in Minnesota

Wisconsin’s early season road woes have returned at an inopportune time.

After blowout losses at Michigan State and Purdue in January, the Badgers got pummeled once again, this time falling at Minnesota 70-52.

Coach Greg Gard’s club gave up a season-high 45 points in the first half and trailed by 13 at the break. Things got worse after halftime, with the Gophers building their lead by as many as 22. After shooting 42.0 percent from the field this season — ranked 262nd in the country — the Badgers allowed Minnesota to hit on 54.5 percent of its shots in the first half, including 50 percent from beyond the arc.

Defense wasn’t the only issue. Wisconsin shot just 28.4 percent from the field, which was a season low and the lowest by the school since hitting on just 23.5 of its shots in a loss to Oklahoma in 2015.

Wisconsin started the year 0-5 away from the Kohl Center before winning three-straight, including two at ranked teams. But in the last four trips on the road — at Michigan State, Purdue, Iowa and Minnesota — the Badgers have trailed by at least 20 points in three of them.

The Gophers were led by 21 points from Peyton Willis, while Daniel Oturu had 17 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks.

Wisconsin got 14 points from Nate Reuvers and 11 points and 15 rebounds from Micah Potter.

The loss dropped the Badgers (13-10, 6-6) into a three-way tie with Minnesota for seventh in the Big Ten. They’ll return home on Saturday to take on Ohio State.

Wisconsin S&C coach Erik Helland resigns

Wisconsin announced Thursday afternoon that head strength and conditioning coach Erik Helland had resigned his position.

According to the school, Helland used a racial epithet while recounting a story from his days working in the NBA.

“UW Athletics administration was informed last weekend that Helland, while recounting a story from earlier in his NBA career, had used a racial epithet in the presence of multiple Wisconsin men’s basketball student-athletes. UW Athletics confirmed that assertion on Sunday. UW Athletics works to promote a safe and welcoming environment for its student-athletes and staff and the aforementioned language used does not align with the values of the athletic department, men’s basketball program or the university.”

Helland, who had been with Wisconsin since 2013 after spending 25 years working in the NBA, did not travel with the team to its game at Minnesota.

A report from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Wednesday night stated the UW was looking into the use of a racial slur made to former Badgers guard Kobe King. In its statement on Thursday, Wisconsin said that wasn’t the case.

“Multiple public reports have indicated that UW Athletics has been investigating the alleged use of racially insensitive language directed at one student-athlete. That allegation is inaccurate. UW Athletics has no evidence — nor has it been alleged to the athletic department — that Helland directed racially insensitive language toward any member of the men’s basketball team.”

Wisconsin will host Ohio State on Sunday at the Kohl Center.

4-star RB Jalen Berger signs with Wisconsin

Wisconsin finished off its 2020 recruiting class Wednesday with the signature of running back Jalen Berger.

The 4-star recruit made it official during a signing ceremony at his high school, Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, N.J.).

Berger announced his commitment to the Badgers at the All-American Bowl in San Antonio in early January, picking them over offers from UCLA, LSU, Rutgers and others. But Greg Schiano, the new coach for the Scarlet Knights, and others didn’t give up, heavily pursuing the No. 15 running back in the country. But he never wavered, sticking with Wisconsin.

According to the 247Sports Composite, Berger is rated as the No. 3 player in the state of New Jersey. He is the second-highest rated running back (John Clay, 2007) the Badgers have landed in the recruiting rankings era.

Berger’s hometown of Ramsey, N.J., is about 150 miles north of Salem, N.J., the town that produced Wisconsin star Jonathan Taylor.

Before Taylor and Berger, the Badgers had also hit it big with several other players from the state, including Ron Dayne, Anthony Davis and Corey Clement.

The 6-foot, 205-pound Berger is the lone scholarship running back in Wisconsin’s 2020 class. It’s a class that now ranks No. 25 in the country. That would be the highest finish in the recruiting rankings era for the Badgers.

Here’s the full class of scholarship players: