Davidson-Wisconsin: Stephen Curry Leads Wildcats to Elite Eight

Scott MilesSenior Analyst IMarch 28, 2008

Can anybody tell me if Joe Krabbenhoft has landed yet, or is he still flying past Stephen Curry?

In the defining moment of Davidson’s blasting of Big 10 champ Wisconsin tonight, Curry caught a pass in the corner, patiently waited until Krabbenhoft cleared the runway, and sank a 3-pointer that everyone in the country knew was going down.

It’s hard to believe that the Badgers trailed by only three points with about 14 minutes remaining, because Davidson absolutely blitzed them down the stretch and led by as many as 21. Much of that courtesy of Mr. Curry, of course.

In case you live under a rock – or simply started your Friday night festivities a little early – Curry finished with 33 points, making 11-of-22 shots, including six 3-pointers. For good measure, he dished out four assists and grabbed four rebounds, too.

(I can not believe nobody in the ACC snatched him up out of high school. Was his pedigree not good enough? Sheesh.)

This tournament run has perhaps turned Curry into the pre-eminent figure in NCAA basketball this season. We caught a glimpse of him last year, dropping 30 on Maryland, and heard whispers of him throughout this year.

But a trip to the Elite 8, when all he’s done is average 34.3 points per game against a good Gonzaga team and two of the country’s best defensive teams in Georgetown and Wisconsin, has made him a legend.

I talked to my buddy Stu, who was at the game, and he said the stadium buzzed every time Curry had the ball and cheered every time he scored. Curry, with his baby face and sweet stroke, is the darling of the tournament.

I’m not surprised that Davidson won this game, because the Wildcats knocked off two quality opponents to reach the Sweet 16. What I am surprised about is how Davidson won, or rather, how the Badgers rolled over and died in the final 10 minutes. Out of all the teams left in the tourney, I thought Wisconsin was the least prone to get blown out and the most likely to compete to the end of every game.

Of their four defeats entering the tourney, they lost by four points twice and five points once. Duke hammered them by 24 back in November – I’m as big of a Duke fan as any, and I barely remember that game, it might as well have been played three years ago – but with how the Badgers usually play, solid, fundamentally sound, I just couldn’t believe they’d get blown out.

But they played absolutely miserable on the offensive end in the second half. Too much dribbling, too much perimeter play, not even dribbling the ball inside the 3-point line until there were fewer than five seconds on the shot clock, committing terrible turnovers, ignoring the obvious size advantage in the post – I mean, I am clueless as to what the Badgers were doing out there. Absolutely clueless.

Defensively, a team that hadn’t allowed 70 points in a game since Feb. 9, was consistently out of position, missed rotations, and most importantly, didn’t have two players draped all over Curry at all times. Davidson did a great job using screens to get him free, but come on Wisconsin – you are a tough, physical team. Knock him down a little bit. Get in his face. Don’t let him be the reason you lose.

Regardless, big props to the Davidson program. They earned this trip to the Elite 8. And America gets at least one more chance to watch Stephen Curry in a college uniform.