It didn’t take long on Sunday for word to reach the members of the University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team that Greg Gard had stepped out of character during his postgame news conference.
Following the 77-73 loss at Iowa, Gard passionately defended senior guard Brad Davison for what the coach feels is unfair treatment by Big Ten Conference officials and others.
The final straw for Gard was Davison being called for a Flagrant-1 hook-and-hold foul late in the game. Gard called it a “joke” and said the hook-and-hold call has become the “Brad Davison rule.”
Gard said Tuesday he spoke with officials in the Big Ten office a day earlier and voiced his concerns. If Gard was punished for his comments in any way, the conference has yet to announce it.
“They heard me out and got good dialogue back and forth with that and we were able to move on,” Gard said.
The Badgers (16-11), meanwhile, will move on to the Big Ten tournament this week and may have something to rally around as they make the transition from a disappointing regular season to the postseason. UW opens play at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on Thursday night against either Penn State or Nebraska.
Davison wasn’t made available to the media either after the Iowa game or on Tuesday, when an interview session included Gard, senior point guard D’Mitrik Trice and sophomore forward Tyler Wahl.
Trice was asked about Davison’s reaction to Gard’s comments.
“Brad was honestly ecstatic that Coach went above and beyond of what he expected Coach to do, and he’s continuing to fight for it now and Brad sees that,” Trice said. “He’s been smiling and happy. Even after the game, he gave a little talk to us even before Coach even said anything to the media. Brad’s attitude has been at an all-time high. He’s continued to be Brad, and that’s who he is: an uplifting, enthusiastic kind of guy.”
Trice said he was personally inspired by what Gard said in defense of Davison.
“I had to tell him personally that I really appreciated it and I thanked him for that because that really shows that he cares for the players, cares for this team and it really lit a fire under us even after the game,” Trice said. “We could have went out there and played Iowa again right after the game once Coach was talking about those things and we saw on social media the things that he was saying in the postgame conference.
“It just lit a fire under us and I think we’re excited. We came with a lot of passion (Tuesday) in practice and it was a really good day. We’re just going to continue to use that momentum to push us forward and continue to play for one another.”
Gard was not only upset with the officiating but also voiced his displeasure with a graphic shown during the ESPN broadcast of UW’s 77-62 home loss to the Hawkeyes on Feb. 18. While officials were reviewing whether Davison deserved a Flagrant-1 foul for elbowing Iowa’s CJ Fredrick in the face during a drive to the rim in the second half of that game — he escaped punishment that time — ESPN filled the time by showing some changes that had been made to Davison’s Wikipedia page.
Play-by-play Bob Wischusen laughed while reading that Davison’s position had been changed to “school threat” and a line had been inserted that said, “as a junior, he became the emotional leader on the team and averaged 2.3 dirty plays per game.”
Gard said UW received apologies from Wischusen, analyst Dick Vitale and an ESPN producer but added the damage already had been done.
Wischusen kicked off that segment by asking a question: Has Davison’s reputation preceded him?
Twice during his career, Davison has received Flagrant-1 fouls for making contact with the groin of an opponent while chasing the player he was guarding around a screen. The second incident — late in a close loss at Iowa last season — led to the Big Ten suspending Davison for one game for what it called “a pattern of similar behavior that has been previously established.”
UW senior center Micah Potter went to bat for Davison following the loss Sunday, calling him a “gold standard for a teammate.” Potter was glad to hear Gard had Davison’s back as well.
“From a player’s perspective, it feels good,” Potter said. “It’s great having a coach that has your back. There’s that mutual respect level where we’ll fight for him, he’ll fight for us regardless of the consequences.”
Trice was the only member of UW to crack the All-Big Ten awards.
Trice, who is averaging a team-high 13.7 points and 3.9 assists, was named to the third team by both the media and coaches.
Iowa senior center Luka Garza was named Big Ten Player of the Year for the second consecutive season.
He was joined on the media’s first team by Illinois junior guard Ayo Dosunmu, Illinois sophomore center Kofi Cockburn, Michigan freshman center Hunter Dickinson and Indiana sophomore forward Trayce Jackson-Davis.
The coaches’ first team included Garza, Dosunmu and Cockburn along with Ohio State sophomore forward E.J. Liddell and Purdue sophomore forward Trevion Williams.
Dickinson was named Freshman of the Year, and Michigan’s Juwan Howard was named Coach of the Year. The Defensive Player of the Year went to Maryland senior guard Darryl Morsell while Illinois freshman guard Andre Curbelo was named Sixth Man of the Year.
The All-Defensive team consisted of Morsell, Illinois guard Trent Frazier, Michigan State forward Aaron Henry, Penn State guard Jabari Wheeler and Rutgers center Myles Johnson.
Dickinson was joined on the All-Freshman Team by Curbelo, Iowa’s Keegan Murray and Purdue teammates Zach Edey and Jaden Ivey.
Badgers fans on Twitter join in criticizing refs after Iowa edges Wisconsin in regular-season finale
Father knows best
I’m sorry but Boroski is an absolute joke! And why not review Bohanon’s elbow against Anderson on the jump ball!— Travis Trice (@trice_travis) March 7, 2021
The list goes on
That call was also Boroski btw— Travis Trice (@trice_travis) March 7, 2021
On a second look ...
The one involving Anderson on the sidelines did get reviewed, if that's what you're referring to.— Jim Polzin (@JimPolzinWSJ) March 7, 2021
Breaking it down
Here are the numbers: 2-8 overall and 0-7 in Big Ten when he was in the crew; 14-3 overall and 7-3 in Big Ten when he wasn't in the crew. But ... six of those losses were to Michigan (2), Illinois (2), Ohio State and Iowa.— Jim Polzin (@JimPolzinWSJ) March 7, 2021
We want answers!
A perfectly captivating end to a terrific college basketball game RUINED by predictably mediocre officiating orchestrated by THE worst @BigTen ref since TV Teddy.— Rob Hernandez (@RobHernandezGLF) March 7, 2021
This is where the game went off the rails and the league needs to explain this nonsense: https://t.co/IqwRnfvY1h
What the boss said
A great Big Ten rivalry game completely ruined by incredibly awful and inconsistent officiating. Ref crew should be embarrassed. Appalling.— Jason Adrians (@adrians_jason) March 7, 2021
Costly second chance
I agree 💯 Jessica. We have to secure that rebound especially with a 56% ft shooter at the line.— Travis Trice (@trice_travis) March 7, 2021
Stolen in plain sight
The "officials" robbed us of letting a good game playing out at the end.— DAM444 (@DieselAndMe) March 7, 2021
Well, he's not wrong
For a basketball school, we've got one hell of a hockey team. Actually, two.— Corey Otis (@CoreyWOtis) March 7, 2021
Look for yourself
Refs screwed them over. Pretty obvious— ethan13 (@ethan_goethel) March 7, 2021
Reputation precedes him
I really don't think he's a dirty player. He's a scrappy player and yes, he used to flop because it worked. Having said that, I think your point is true.— PackFanatic (@PackFanatic1) March 7, 2021
Stealing the limelight
Loved the fight UW showed. Hated the refs. B10 needs to address in the off-season. No one turns in to watch them blow their whistle over-and-over and watch TV. Iowa CLEARLY missed Wieskamp but UW gave a great team a tough game on the road. Kudos.— Mark Wolfgram (@markwwolfgram) March 7, 2021
Take the hint
If Brad Davison was even thinking about coming back next year, the Big Ten officials have sent him a season-long message that he should not.— John Goodell (@JJGoodell) March 7, 2021
Bolstering the opposition
Bo Boroski is the 6th starter for every team WI plays against, he needs to be fired immediately or forced to get eye surgery, this guy took the game away from us, unless you are asking every Iowa fan— Melbs (@DMBFan2) March 7, 2021
I’m in— Travis Trice (@trice_travis) March 7, 2021
More of the same
Great effort by the guys to comeback, make a game of it. Story of the season: a few tough missed opportunities down the stretch( Ford missing the rebound was a killer ) cost them, plus horrific officiating. Deserved a better result.— Paul Bergum (@paul_bergum) March 7, 2021
There must be a reason
Most of the time teams don’t lose because of officials, but 0-8 vs Boroski is impossible to ignore. Did he get denied admission to Wisconsin? Phantom call to DQ Trice and decide the game should be a fire-able offense. LOVE the fact Gard went after them in postgame! #OnWisconsin— Mark Larson (@MLarsonSports) March 7, 2021
I watch college basketball for the players, not the officials. The last 2 or 3 minutes the refs basically were the stars of the show and ruined what could have been an exciting finish if they had allowed the players decide the outcome.— Ryan Wilson (@Thee_SamMalone) March 7, 2021
Credit where credit's due
Best bucky's looked in a while. Frustrating to NOT see the officiating review Trice's last foul, and then go review the next one. It is what it is, and was a great game.— skunky (@discoskunk) March 7, 2021
In need of a closer
Ford has to get that missed free throw rebound. I know there are many other things, but that was crucial. If you leave it up to @bigten officials they’ll screw you every time. @BadgerMBB needed someone to step up and make a game winning play, but it didn’t happen, again— EdotJ (@AlArtPlaBall) March 7, 2021
Hard to resist
I hate blaming the refs but I’m gonna blame the refs 😂— jeremy (@JDGosse) March 7, 2021
Don't give up
And it could change— Travis Trice (@trice_travis) March 7, 2021
A jumping off point?
Best half of basketball they have played in weeks, maybe months. Gotta ride Potter, Davis and Trice the rest of the year. No one can create their own shot. Officiating was abhorrent, and I rarely bemoan the officials.— Matt Selje (@ColoTexFloWisky) March 7, 2021
Worst of the worst
Worst officiated game I’ve seen in a college basketball game. Ruined what was a great college basketball game today. Big Ten officials are an embarrassment. Double Technical?! Terrible call! I don’t put on the game to watch Big 10 officials. I wanted to watch Wisconsin vs Iowa!— Michael Herfel⚓️💙🤍 (@MichaelHerfel7) March 7, 2021
Strong performance by Potter, decent overall effort, one of few 2d half sustained comebacks. Over-officiated. Refs determined the outcome. Did not see what the refs called for Trice’s fifth foul.— Sheri Swokowski (@sswoko) March 7, 2021
Free and clear
Thank you Seniors. Trice was robbed and Bo Borowski needs to fired and arrested— Aaron W Rivard (@awrivard) March 7, 2021
All eyes on Brad
OMG! How in the blue blazes does Brad Davison get a "hook and hold" call while he's going to the basket as an offensive player?— Johnny Winston, Jr. (@johnnywinstonjr) March 7, 2021
Bucky really struggled to overcome the 8-on-5 zone today— Ben Bromley (@ben_bromley) March 7, 2021
It's not over yet!
Strange season but it's not over. Wouldn't be surprised by anything from here on out. Clearly on a losing streak but I'm not counting them out— Drew (@DreHolliday2) March 7, 2021