The Wisconsin Badgers late season stumble reached its zenith on Sunday afternoon at Iowa, losing to the Hawkeyes, 77-73. The loss is the Badgers’ third straight and fifth in their last six games, all to ranked opponents.
Wisconsin (16-11, 10-10 Big Ten) kept pace with the No. 8 Hawkeyes (20-7, 14-6 Big Ten) for most of the game, despite trailing 35-26 at halftime. But late mistakes and questionable officiating doomed the Badgers by the time the final horn sounded.
With just 46 seconds left to play, tied at 71-71, Aleem Ford's failure to corral a defensive rebound on a missed free throw, followed by D'Mitrik Trice fouling Iowa’s Jordan Bohannon, and finally Brad Davison being called for a Flagrant 1 foul – combined to hand Iowa the victory.
It was the final act of those three deadly sins that got the ire of the normally reserved Badgers coach Greg Gard after the final horn sounded.
“The area I really want to address,” Gard began, “maybe people have questions about, is the mockery that has been made of the hook-and-hold. It appears to have become a Brad Davison rule, where it has become, quite frankly, a joke. Any time there is a foul or a question, the opponents are yelling at the officials to go to the monitor.”
Gard was just getting warmed up.
“I saw the play,” he continued. “If college basketball is headed in this direction, we’re in big trouble. It sickens me that we have games decided like this. That rule was not put in place for that. That was for safety, for post play. Those things happen on every single possession of the game, specifically in the post.
“I think it has really turned into a joke. I feel bad for Brad Davison. The kid is a great kid, plays his ass off. But he continues to get screwed by this…it has become sickening.”
Regardless, Wisconsin heads into the Big Ten Tournament as the No. 6 seed, and will play either Penn State or Nebraska Thursday night at approximately 8 p.m.