No one in the University of Wisconsin men’s basketball program disputes that Brad Davison committed a foul late in Monday night’s 68-62 loss at Iowa.
The Badgers also aren’t disputing that foul was ruled a Flagrant 1, which effectively ended their chances to come back against the Hawkeyes.
But UW coach Greg Gard strongly disagrees with the Big Ten Conference’s decision to suspend Davison, a junior guard, for Saturday’s game against No. 14 Michigan State at the Kohl Center.
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“I don’t agree with it. Was it a foul Monday night at Iowa? Yes. The rule was adjudicated appropriately, it was assessed a Flagrant 1. I feel at that point in time it should’ve ended and dropped. Obviously, it didn’t,” Gard said Thursday.
“My problem with this is where are we going with the Flagrant 1s now? Are they all subject to review and suspension? We’ve really painted with a very broad brush, opened Pandora’s box in terms of where this can go. It’s a very dangerous slope if we’re trying to legislate intent. Anytime there’s a legislature process that tries to dictate intent, it really bothers me when that crosses the line into an intention of malice or what he was trying to do.”
Davison was assessed a Flagrant 1 foul with 35.5 seconds remaining after he made contact with Iowa’s Connor McCaffery while chasing Joe Wieskamp around a screen. One replay appeared to show Davison wrapping his left arm around McCaffery’s thigh; another made it appear as if Davison made contact with McCaffery’s groin.
In the news release announcing Davison’s suspension, Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren said: “We will not tolerate behavior that compromises the health and safety of our student-athletes or crosses the line of aggressive, competitive play, especially when a pattern of similar behavior has been previously established.”
Gard learned the Big Ten was looking into the play and considering a suspension while the Badgers practiced Wednesday night. He was notified of the suspension about an hour before the release was made public, he said. Davison’s suspension comes during a troubling week for UW; redshirt sophomore Kobe King announced on Wednesday that he has left the program.
According to a UW official, Davison wanted to speak with the media but had class during Thursday’s availability.
UW cannot appeal Davison’s suspension because Warren has the authority to issue suspensions of up to two games without an appeal. He has already used that power this season, suspending Illinois’ Alan Griffin for two games after he stepped on an opponent against Purdue. Illinois coach Brad Underwood called that penalty “excessive.”
Gard said he didn’t agree with the conference’s statement about Davison’s pattern of behavior, which may have been a reference to a play during Davison’s freshman season against Marquette when he made contact with Joey Hauser’s groin area while working around a screen.
“I’ve known Brad Davison since he was in eighth grade,’’ Gard said. “I will vouch for his character until the day I die, just like I will for anybody else, my guys in my locker room. I will go to bat for them, I’ve got their back completely. I do not agree with this punishment that was handed down.”
“That’s a dangerous slope that we navigate on. Whenever there was any question that came up, I talked to the conference office. … They were all viewed as there was not any suspension or any penalty that should be handed down. So for him to be made an example in this regard, that’s where I say that’s a very dangerous slope for college basketball and our league. Where’s this going? That’s the question I asked last night and I didn’t get answers for.”
Without Davison and King against Michigan State, a team UW lost to 67-55 earlier this month, those minutes will likely be distributed between senior Brevin Pritzl and redshirt juniors D’Mitrik Trice and Trevor Anderson in the backcourt. Pritzl said Davison ran the scout team during Thursday’s practice.
“No one has greater pride in representing this university and putting on that uniform,” Gard said of Davison, who battled through a hip injury to play against Iowa.
“His passion for this place and his passion to put on that uniform and represent that ‘W,’ just like those guys in that locker room, is second to none. He’s hurt. I think we all are. He cherishes every opportunity to compete and to be with his teammates and to wear that ‘W.’ He takes great pride in that. So it’s hurtful.”
<&rdpStrong>Fans react on Twitter after the Badgers’ collapse against Iowa</&rdpStrong>
Fans flock to Twitter to weigh in on Wisconsin Badgers' second-half collapse against Iowa Hawkeyes
Hopefully sooner than later
At some point late game offense needs to be addressed as well as late game management in general. Timeouts during a 21-4 run would be helpful.— Ryan Peterson (@ryan_peterson07) January 28, 2020
Need to figure it out
Truly pathetic. How they couldn't figure out a way to score in 7 minutes is beyond me. So so bad— WSRanter (@WSRanter) January 28, 2020
Here we go
Gard man, dudes gotta go— Zachary (@ZSJ1981) January 28, 2020
So, what you're really trying to say is...
🪑Gard— Connor (@drake_sucks) January 28, 2020
Certainly didn't help matters
For once, I can’t put much blame on this team. Refs controlled this one. Not much you can do when they won’t let you play defense.— Jackie (@jlhalvy) January 28, 2020
Taking control again
Refs didn’t go 5 minutes without scoring. Something has to change. So sick of this time after time.— EJ Temme (@ej_temme) January 28, 2020
Quite a collapse. This looks like a demoralized team right now.— Joseph Britt (@Zathras3) January 28, 2020
Plenty of blame to go around
Badgers clearly collapsed, but the refs took over the game at the end, which is too bad. Can’t say refs caused the loss, but the made the story about the refs not the players.— Peter Healy (@PeterRHealy) January 28, 2020
Making outrageous demands
Can we take a timeout sometime during Iowa’s run to collect ourselves and regroup our players....aka coach a little. Too much to ask?— Paul Konkol (@prkonkol) January 28, 2020
It's so frustrating!
I am also "frustrated with the direction of the team this season".— Christopher Dalton (@_Chipz) January 28, 2020
Is it trending yet?
It starts at the top
Straight to the point
Collapse— Joey Disch (@J_Disch) January 28, 2020
Thanks for elaborating
unacceptable collapse— Erick Morelos (@emorelos17) January 28, 2020
Leaving a bad taste
Robbed. Horrible home cooking.— Aaron W Rivard (@awrivard) January 28, 2020
Don't we all
I miss Bo Ryan.— Shannon (@mummsh) January 28, 2020
Nothing you could do?
Outrageous reffing. Felt like the second half of the national championship against Duke. Nothing you can really do when the reffing is that uneven, and the teams are pretty evenly matched.— Pete Henningsen (@NewKneePete) January 28, 2020
Just own it
Some bad calls for sure, but you can’t be outscored by like 20 points in the final 7 mins of a game and expect to win. Offense got way to stagnant at the end— DRich (@drich318318) January 28, 2020
In search of accountability
At some point, someone is to blame with these losses. Who do you point the finger to? Terrible down the stretch tonight. Just hasn’t seemed like Wisconsin basketball since Gard took over, although I’ve tried to keep an open mind these last few years— Colin Most (@ColinMost) January 28, 2020
Recipe for failure
They were up 57-45 with a little over 7 minutes left. Went 5+ minutes without scoring a single point. Scored only 5 points in the final 7+ minutes to lose by 6. Yeah, the refs stunk it up but the Badgers were the main reason for this choke job. Utterly disgusting.— Bazooka DHB (@BazookaDhb) January 28, 2020
Collapsing under pressure
It looked like they had never seen a press before and it’s not like it was a high pressure one either— Sam Peterson (@BadgerNut42) January 28, 2020
It starts with the basics
Fans can blame the officials, Kobe King, or whoever. Bottom line is they cannot continue to get manhandled on the offensive glass. And prior to the 3-point play that gave Iowa the lead for the first time, McCaffrey clanked a 3 in which Trice could not corral the rebound— Jake Nelson (@Jake_Nelson10) January 28, 2020
Now you see 'em...
So True— Travis Trice (@trice_travis) January 28, 2020
Working with what he's got
Tough to put all the blame on Gard after every loss. Puts a team full of second rate B1G talent in position to win a lot of games.— Evan Diece (@evandiece) January 28, 2020
Letting one slip away
Can’t let a 12 point lead slip. They had them on the ropes. Just complete breakdown the last 5 minutes or so of the game.— Brad Affeldt (@BA_14) January 28, 2020
Not what you'd expect
How these guys aren’t getting better under Gard either means they simply aren’t that good as players or Gard simply can’t coach them up. Either way, to have a team of 3 and 4 year system guys and this is the result is frustrating— Andrew Zimdars (@andrew_zimdars) January 28, 2020
Keeping it going
Trice is still dribbling back and forth, somewhere...— Chris (@clutchiness) January 28, 2020
One can hope
I've seen enough. Boring basketball. Maybe some day we can get a guard who break down a defense.— David Floyd (@62_floyd) January 28, 2020
Hard to beat 6 people on the floor. Those calls were horrible, and I am never one to complain about officiating— Ted Wentz (@TedWentz) January 28, 2020
In need of a backup plan
I saw some good effort from guys who were short-handed and hamstrung by whistles down the stretch. But same old terrible offense remains an issue. If threes fall they have a chance. If not, there’s no plan B.— Russ Evansen (@waunaruss) January 28, 2020
Stuck in their ways
I thought gard said he was going to pick the pace up with these guys...nope...let’s break a press, have a 3 on 2 advantage every time and then pull it back out. How many transition baskets did we get?? Rebounds??? We work way to hard to get points...— aarondentz (@aarondentz) January 28, 2020
Putting on the vanishing act
Idk how you put up with all the trolls that have seemed to come out of nowhere this season.— CITYBOYROY (@machinegunroy) January 28, 2020
Ford and Davison. Rinse and repeat. 23-5 run to close. Terrible. Collapsed. No answers for Iowa’s athleticism down the stretch.— Joe Klauer (@Jklauer21) January 28, 2020