Despite what was essentially home court advantage, the higher seed, and the best player on the court, the Wisconsin Badgers fell in the second round of the 2022 NCAA Tournament to the Iowa State Cyclones 54-49 on a Sunday evening in Milwaukee.
Wisconsin started off looking better than they did to begin against Colgate in the first round, but they began to struggle shooting the ball and fell into a shooting funk they could not get out of.
The real game-changer and momentum killer for Wisconsin came with four minutes left in the first half when starting freshman guard Chucky Hepburn went down with an ankle injury. Coming out of halftime, Wisconsin announced that Hepburn would be out for the remainder of the game. He returned to the bench on crutches and in a walking boot.
Without Hepburn on the court, Wisconsin struggled on both sides of the ball, and that was further exposed in the second half. The Badgers were just 6-26 from the field in the second half and were 1-14 from beyond the arc.
Foul trouble came into play for a number of Badgers as the officials were whistle-happy for most of the game. But no matter the officiating, it's tough to win games shooting so poorly in the second half, turning the ball over 17 times, and going just 8-13 on layups.
Johnny Davis finished with 17 points, with nine of them coming from the free throw line. Davis shot just 1-10 from the field in the second half and 4-16 on the game.
Brad Davison finishes his Badgers career with a 12 point performance, including four rebounds, four assists, and four steals.
It's another disappointing tournament exit for the Badgers and it's one that shouldn't have happened if they played even average of their normal selves. The largely pro-Badgers crowd did everything they could to get Wisconsin back in it, but the shots just didn't fall.
Next season will look a lot different for the Badgers as fifth year senior Brad Davison will graduate and star guard Johnny Davis is likely headed to the NBA, although he hasn't made an official decision on that yet and said postgame "For right now, I just want to cherish these past two years I've had at Wisconsin and finish school this semester. I just want to stay in the moment for right now."