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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Tuesday, June 18, 2024
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Brad Davison led the Badgers in scoring with 15 points, also adding seven assists to his total.

Wisconsin dismantles North Carolina to move forward in NCAA tournament

March Bradness was in full effect Friday night, as the senior dropped a season high 29 points to lead the 9-seed Wisconsin Badgers (18-12 overall) over the 9-seed North Carolina Tar Heels 85-62 to move on to the Round of 32.

It’s the most points Wisconsin has scored this season since the Dec. 25 game against Michigan State, and the best they’ve looked all year in my opinion.

Davison was at his absolute best against the Tar Heels, shooting an efficient 10-15 from the field and 5-7 from three point range, and grabbed five rebounds to complement his points. Trice put up 21 points with five rebounds and three assists behind Davison. It’s the first time this season Wisconsin has had two 20 point scorers in a game this season.

“North Carolina is the best offensive rebounding team in the country, but we got contributions from everyone to help us tonight,” head coach Greg Gard said. “We knew we’d have to score from the backcourt, and they were aggressive which we wanted. [Trice and Davison] were going to make sure we would take care of the game tonight.”

“It’s extremely special, you come to Wisconsin to have an opportunity to make a big run in March,” Davison said after the game. “But we know we didn’t come here to just win one game.”

Despite North Carolina’s height, and the fact they are the fifth best rebounding team in the country, Wisconsin was able to out rebound the Tar Heels 36-33, and tallied five more assists.

“It’s extremely special, you come to Wisconsin to have an opportunity to make a big run in March,” Davison said after the game. “But we know we didn’t come here to just win one game.”

Wisconsin’s big men also played extremely efficient basketball, staying out of foul trouble and running a doubling scheme on defense to perfection to limit the Tar Heels open looks inside. As a team North Carolina failed to shoot 40 percent from the field, and weren’t able to hit enough three’s to offset their play down low.

“There’s a lot of little things we’ve taken exponential steps forward in over the last few weeks so that we could come in here and make a statement,” Davison said. “We’re here to make an impact.”

Freshman Steven Crowl made a surprise entrance in the first half to help Wisconsin guard North Carolina’s big men, and was able to hold his own with a couple offensive rebounds and an assist.

Hopefully Wisconsin is able to keep this momentum going into Monday’s game against Baylor, the second best team in the country. 

Baylor boasts seven wins over the top 25, including a win over No. 5 Illinois. As a team the Bears average nearly 85 points a game, and have three guards who all score more than 14 points a game.

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“I try not to get caught up in the seeds, it determines which color shirt you wear on the court but we just need to prepare well and play,” Gard said. “The guys prepared and played well for the game tonight, and that’s what showed on the court.”

If the Badgers big men were important against the Tar Heels, good guard play will be key against Baylor. Davison and Trice are going to have to show out again, and hope either Potter or Reuvers can get it going offensively.

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