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College Basketball Villains: An Analysis

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“I got here the same way the coin did.”

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NCAA Basketball: Wisconsin at Minnesota Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports

Adam Woodbury. Aaron Craft. Marshall Henderson. Grayson Allen. J.J. Redick. Christian Laettner. Basically anyone who has ever put on a Duke uniform.

These are History’s Greatest Monsters over the last few decades in college basketball. Some real reprehensible names on this list, yikes. Many of them crossed paths with the Badgers over the course of their careers, so I’m sorry to bring up any painful memories. But, we must move forward and see if Brad Davison should have his jersey raised to the rafters in Hell along with the rest of the aforementioned terrors.

You, being a learned, cultured, and most likely attractive person know that the quote below the title is from No Country For Old Men’s Anton Chigurh. Chigurh is a brutal and remorseless hitman who often flips a coin to decide his victim’s fate.

While he is, ostensibly, the villain of this film, he does live by a code, as every man should. His code is just, well, different than yours or mine.

As luck would have it, a coin flip is often how a charge/block call is decided! In Jesse Temple’s excellent piece on The Athletic yesterday morning, he quotes Davison saying as much.

“It’s obviously a 50-50 call,” Davison said. “I just try to control what I can control, trying to put my body in the right position, trying to take the contact right in the chest and get them to lower their shoulder. I think it kind of ebbs and flows this year on when I’ve got the calls and when I haven’t. But that’s something I can’t control, so I try not to think about it a lot.”

Davison lives by a code, too. And that code is: I just try to control what I can control. He can’t control which way the referee is going to call a play. He can’t control what you are going to say about him online. He can’t even control how many layups the Badgers are going to miss in a given game.

Obviously, opposing fans get worked up when a player takes charges and is scrappy. Davison is the perfect vessel for their ire since, well, he takes charges and is scrappy. After the Badgers’ win over the Gophers in Minneapolis, a tweet was sent out into the cesspool that is the internet.

It was a tweet that launched 1,000 takes (at least here in the upper Midwest). It is a slowed-down version of Jordan Murphy going up for a rebound and Davison being, well, on the screen at the same time as Murphy? You know what? Let’s just see what the allegedly aggrieved party has to say about all this. That should clear things up, right?

Oh. Well, I’ll be!

You’ll notice the disparity between “likes” and interactions on those two tweets as well, please. Now, normally I wouldn’t give any credence to what the StarTribune sports page has to say, because they follow me on Twitter and no real media organization should do that, but they have a point here. Just because you hope something is true doesn’t make it so.

I wrote a preposterously long comment here after the game and in it I mentioned that the Gopher fans were out for blood on Davison from the moment he set foot on the court. He was booed, harassed, cursed at, and generally given the business by the Gopher faithful. Like I said in that comment, he could have saved a puppy from a burning building and they wouldn’t have cheered. I wanted to ask the crowd: “How many of you have felt personally victimized by Brad Davison?”

I get it. He takes charges. He has a beautifully round face. He never tried to make “fetch” happen. He’s the total package and every other fanbase is jealous. Also, by the end of the movie, Regina George was cool and nice and everyone liked her.

For good measure, you should probably read what Davison had to say about the whole episode here:

Then ... there’s this. I can’t even begin to describe to you how loud I laughed when my brother-in-law sent me this tweet.

The logical conclusion to all of this is that any time Davison touches another player on the court, there will be calls to the B1G office to have him sent to Siberia. The foul call on this play, by the way, was Jon Teske setting an illegal screen. Which means he moved to get in Davison’s way after Davison was on a path to go around him. Sooooooooooooooooo?

As always, I think it’s important to note that everyone shouting about Davison trying to injure opposing players said nothing after the player he was trying to injure came out and said Davison wasn’t trying to injure him.

Oops, how did that last one slip in there? My bad, everyone.

Before we get to the conclusion, allow me one moment of thoughtful consideration about all of this. Much like the carnal desires of George Michael Bluth on Arrested Development, this is a tricky grey area. Brad Davison seems to find himself embroiled in these “controversies” more than other players on the team or, well, in the country, so there has to be something there, right? But, by all accounts, Davison is a stand-up guy who plays hard and yada yada yada. How can these two people possibly coexist in the same body? Well, it’s hard to say, but let’s try to anyways. Just move your feet a little more on defense, Brad, and stop sticking your legs in weird places and this should all be fine.

HOWEVER, I think we can all agree that the only reasonable comparison to Davison’s current situation is the end of Christopher Nolan’s wonderful 2008 film, The Dark Knight, featuring THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA as The Joker, Greg Gard as Commissioner Gordon, Josh Gasser as Harvey Dent, Tai Strickland as Gordon’s son, and, of course, Davison as the Dark Knight himself.

You either die a charge-taker or live long enough to see yourself become a flopper.