The Big Ten has an extensive history of getting its teeth kicked in when it comes to the ACC-Big Ten Challenge, which is going down this week on ESPN. The Big Ten lost this event for its first 10 — ten! — years. Last season, ACC teams won 11 of the 14 games. This is the 20th year of The Challenge, and the Big Ten has only won outright five times. You get the point.
So, how does the Big Ten actually make it a competition against the ACC this year? By getting back to its roots and playing some good ole fashioned Big Ten Basketball. And by that we mean taking a lot of charges.
Wisconsin's Brad Davison took FIVE charges against NC State.— ESPN (@espn) November 28, 2018
This is Wisconsin guard Brad Davison — and yes, this is a charge montage. Davison took somewhere between four and five charges against NC State on Tuesday (even his coach is confused by the exact number), none bigger than one in the final seconds with the game hanging in the balance to secure a 79-75 win for the Badgers.
We’re talking about a damn charge montage. It’s everything that makes college basketball beautiful and disgusting at the same time, a solemn ode to Aaron Craft and Tyler Hansbrough before him, effective yet unintentionally funny for all the wrong reasons.
This is gross. This is magnificent. This is definitive proof that flopping isn’t just for the pros. These are Davison’s charges, ranked by the egregiousness of his flopping.
Brad Davison’s charges, ranked by level of egregious flopping
4. This one was legit
The second charge Davison drew is the most legitimate of the bunch. NC State guard Devon Daniels extends his arm during a spin move as Davison falls to the floor.
You can’t do that, Wolfpack. Good call by the refs.
3. This one was pretty legit
It looks like NC State’s Torin Dorn does his best to avoid contact on this play. It doesn’t matter: Davison beats him to the spot and falls dramatically to the floor. This could have been best as a no-call, but on the scale of shameless flops, it isn’t that bad.
Props to Davison for getting where he needed to be and giving up his body.
2. Total flop
The first charge call set the tone for the rest of the game. Davison is still moving when Markell Johnson barreled into him, but he got the call anyway. This is the type of call Davison wasn’t getting in the Battle 4 Atlantis, when he picked up four fouls against Virginia in the Badgers’ loss in the championship game.
As soon as Davison knew he’d get this call, he kept going back to the well. Which sets us up for ...
1. Game-deciding flop
This is the worst one for so many reasons. Davison is clearly still moving. It decided the game, because it happened with NC State down two with under 10 seconds left. He also celebrated like he just hit a game-winning shot, or did something that required some actual skill, athleticism, or talent. It’s like a career achievement award for flopping, a flopper’s flop, flopping right into a victory for the Badgers.
This is how the Big Ten earns a win in the Challenge. Now it’s tied up 4-4 heading into the final night. Refs beware: the floppers are here.