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Iowa Basketball: On Wisconsin, But Not Like That

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A terrific matchup that has many side stories

Bloody, gauze-nose Garza is my favorite Garza

“When you say Wi-Scon-Sin, you’ve said it all.” Ha ha. Whatever. Said all of what? Blaze orange camouflage for a wedding party? An athletic program built by Hawkeyes? Bratwurst? Ok, maybe tailgating and brats. But other than Lake Namekagon, I’m not a fan.

The Hawks and Bucky have some pretty solid history on the hardwood. Former Hawks and almost-Hawks Jarrod Uthoff and Ben Brust come to mind. Rat-faced Bo Ryan. Did I type that? I meant to just think it. My bad. Brad Davison, or should I say the talentless version of Grayson Allen? Jordan Bohannon holding his followthrough on a beautiful three ball dagger.

Splash-city. Gonna strike this pose for a while.
Getty Images

The list goes on and on. Throw in Dick Vitale and the National Player of the Year Luka Garza and we have some must-see TV, Hawk fans! Vitale has been doing games since 1999, but it’s hard to even remember the last Iowa game he has done. Whether you like Dickie V or hate him, he’s been an iconic part of college basketball for about as long as there has been dirt. Thankfully we are playing Wisconsin and not Duke.

Brad Davison is garbage, man

Punctuation is important. In basketball the term “garbage man” has always been a compliment. It’s a hard-nosed player who does all of the little things to help his or her team win. Set screens, rebound, dive on the floor, take charges, etc... Nope. Davison has not earned the respect of anyone outside of Madison (to be honest, I bet he doesn’t have a lot in Madison). How can you when you purposely try to injure other players on a regular basis? Davison’s “grabbing” of Connor McCaffery was... interesting. But here I’m talking about purposely trying to injure players. Davison is more hated in his home state of Minnesota than Aaron Rodgers and “Go Pack Go!” combined. And it’s not because he’s the local prep athlete to play across the border.

More recently Brad Davison caught Michigan’s Mike Smith with an elbow. It’s safe to say that Juwan Howard is a card-carrying member of the “No one likes Brad Davison” fan club. Let’s hope that Brad continues to flop, grab, trip, and whatever it is that he does and it continues to hurt his team.

Greg Gard is more likable than Bo Ryan (so is my shoe)

Don’t get me wrong, Bo Ryan was an incredible basketball coach. As a Hawkeye fan I’m sure there’s some jealousy in there that we didn’t have him and the success he had during his tenure as the Badgers’ coach. But, c’mon! That dude was always mad and he often got his way with the officials. Maybe I’m just bitter that Tom Izzo and Bo can do what they want and our own Frannie Mac makes national news every time he gets upset.

Not even a mother, unless she’s a rat, could love this mug
Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

The Badgers have had some terrific coaches over the last 30 years. Dick Bennett and his Blocker/Mover offense and Pack-line defense and Bo Ryan with his Swing offense have made Wisconsin a basketball power. The Badgers have been brought back to earth a little bit under Gard, but they are still an upper-echelon Big Ten opponent. Gard continues to recruit to his system, and there aren’t many programs that do that as well as Wisconsin. Gard is 5-3 against Fran. The Hawkeyes are hoping to make it two in a row.

Interesting Tidbits

  • The Badgers have 7 Minnesota kids on their roster. The Minnesota Gophers have 3.
  • Dean Oliver, an all-time Hawkeye, is an assistant coach for the Badgers. Come home soon, Dean.
  • Wisconsin continues to run Bo Ryan’s Swing Offense - This is basically a 4 out, 1 in (4 perimeter, 1 post) that back screens a player on the perimeter looking for a post up. If this isn’t there, the ball is reversed (swung to the other side of the court); at the same time, an offensive player sets a baseline screen for one of the other perimeter players to run off of (Flex) This player is often open for an easy layup. This pattern can then be repeated back-and-forth until a weakness is found in the defense. Here is an example of Wisconsin running this against Illinois.

It’s simple, old-school basketball. I’m a big fan of this type of movement and Bucky runs it very well.

  • Luka Garza has averaged 18.2 points and 7.8 rebounds over his last five games. And some people say he has been struggling. Others have talked about how Ayo Dosunmu is making a run for Big Ten Player of the Year. To that, Luka and I say the following:
Not happening, Ayo

If watching Luka for four years has taught us nothing else, it’s that telling Luka he can’t do something or doubting Luka will only get you a whole bunch of heartache. The only way Garza doesn’t go off against Bucky is if floppy-fish Brad Davison falls all over himself and the refs buy it. Also, note to Fran. Please don’t sit Luka for 12 minutes in the first half (see at Indiana).

It will be a tough game for the Hawks to go on the road and get a win against Wisconsin. The game does have the feel of a game in March. The Vibes of March (I’m going to say I coined this term, even if I didn’t) if you will. Let’s. Go. Hawks! Let’s. Go. Hawks!