The Wisconsin Badgers have turned me into a true believer.
Their most recent 78-68 victory over Ohio State convinced me they are for real. And, for all practical purposes, they did it without Johnny Davis.
That’s certainly no dig on Davis. He’s been a one-man show much of the season. He is a shining star with a brighter future beyond his college career… whenever that ends.
Despite an uncharacteristic game by his own standards Thursday, Johnny may not realize he actually contributed to the victory in more ways than he could imagine. His biggest contribution is the fact that it was a collective victory, a team triumph, one that was sorely needed for the young Badgers roster rather than another “Johnny Davis Show,” with help from senior “Grampa” Brad Davison a few games.
Davis, playing much older than his college sophomore standing, scored 14 points and pulled down 9 rebounds. That’s solid numbers by anyone’s standards, and yes, he still leads the 13th-ranked Badgers with a 21.7 average. However, it was a “clunker” of a game for him considering his rapid rise to NBA status by national media from what he’s shown so far.
Yet, this game proved to me more than anything else that Johnny’s teammates got a big boost of inner confidence knowing they can be just as huge contributing to victories, and that’s the key going forward. After all, No. 16 Ohio State defeated Wisconsin earlier in the season, so this was a larger than usual victory in so many ways.
What has been, “The Badgers go as Johnny goes,” proved otherwise. That was indeed a breath of fresh air.
Johnny’s final stat line against the Buckeyes was 4 of 18 field goals made, 1 of 5 from 3-point range, 5 of 6 free throws, 9 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 blocked shots.
Davison took charge and led the Badgers with 25 points, while junior Tyler Wahl added 20 and freshman Steven Crowl 9. UW”s young bench also contributed 14 points.
Now I'm convinced the Badgers are a “TEAM” to be reckoned with for the rest of the season.
Johnny may be the engine, but the load is getting lighter on the Bucky train.