116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
MADISON, Wis. — Seven Wisconsin men’s basketball seniors aired a list of grievances to head coach Greg Gard last February during a two-hour team meeting the day after Iowa beat the Badgers in Kohl Center, 77-62.
It was one of three defeats the Hawkeyes handed the Badgers last season.
“I just feel like, coach, we don’t have a relationship,” four-year starter Nate Reuvers said in the meeting, which was secretly recorded and sent to the Wisconsin State Journal. “In my mind, it’s too late for that. I personally don’t think or feel like you care about our future aspirations.”
Ouch. Wisconsin finished last season 10-10 in the Big Ten and 18-13 overall, and you wondered if the program was heading south when you read the June story about the February meeting.
Nope. Wisconsin still is in the upper Midwest, and is again in the upper region of the Big Ten standings with Gard after a great week.
All those seniors from last season are gone except guard Brad Davison, who took his fifth season. He scored 18 points in No. 23 Wisconsin’s 87-78 win over Iowa here Thursday night.
The four first-year starters all scored at least 11 points, and sophomore sensation Johnny Davis of La Crosse had 26 to go with the 37 he scored in a 74-69 win at No. 3 Purdue three nights earlier.
The Badgers are 3-1 in the Big Ten, 12-2 overall. Iowa is 1-3 in the league, 11-4 total. The common thread in the four losses is this: The Hawkeyes have gotten killed in rebounding.
Wisconsin had a 43-26 advantage, with 15 offensive boards to Iowa’s six. The Hawkeyes have been out-rebounded by an average of 19 in their four losses, to Purdue, Illinois, Iowa State and Wisconsin. In other words, the four best teams they’ve faced.
“It’s disappointing,” Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery said.
“You have to develop a mindset where you relentlessly go after every miss. Now, you need your guards back, but your 3, 4, 5 have to go. That takes a lot of conditioning. That takes a lot of tenacity. We need to be better in that area, frankly.”
“We know we’re a smaller team,” said Hawkeye forward Patrick McCaffery, who had a team-high seven rebounds. “We don’t have like a really big 5-man. So I think we’re all trying to block out. I think it comes down to pursuing the ball and knowing when to break out of your block-out.”
“We can’t have these mistakes, rebounding-wise, continuing,” said Iowa forward Keegan Murray.
Murray, the nation’s leading scorer at 24.7 points per game, outscored Davis, 27-26. Davis entered the day third in the nation, and now averages 22.6 points. FS1 announcers said 18 NBA scouts were present to watch the two, both presently projected as 2022 lottery picks.
Davis had scored all his points by the time Wisconsin had its largest lead, 76-53, with 7:08 left.
About the scoring rankings, Davis said “I don’t really care about that right now. He’s averaging more than me, but they lost.”
Murray played 35 minutes though he bruised a hip during the game and made a brief foray to the Hawkeyes’ locker room.
“He was slowed down and he had 27,” Fran McCaffery said. “That’s a pretty darn good player there.
“He shot 10-of-16. You say, well, we lost the game. Maybe he should have shot 26 times. And if he had shot 36 times, I’d be OK with it. He’s just a very efficient, efficient guy.”
Iowa doesn’t play again until next Thursday when it hosts Indiana.
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