Johnny Davis Top Concern as Northwestern Hosts #8 Wisconsin


Wisconsin guard Johnny Davis is considered a front-runner for Big Ten Player of the Year, National Player of the Year awards and a NBA Draft Lottery prospect. He leads the top ten ranked Wisconsin Badgers into Evanston tonight to take on the up-and-down Northwestern Wildcats.

NU is coming off their massive upset victory at #10 Michigan State on Saturday. The Wildcats took down the Spartans despite missing Pete Nance, who is their leading scorer (17.7 points) and rebounder (7.7). Nance, a fringe NBA Draft prospect had a career-high 28 in the 2 OT loss against Maryland on Wednesday night.

#8 Wisconsin Badgers at Northwestern Wildcats FYIs

Tip: Tue, Jan 18, 8pm, BTN

Line:  Badgers -3, -140 on the Money Line, o/u 140

ESPN Matchup Predictor Wisconsin 51%-49%

Metrics:        AP    Coaches  KenPom  NET  Sagarin

Wisconsin      8          8            27         18        22

Northwestern  –          –           53          72        62

Northwestern Wildcats (9-6, 2-4) Preview

We don’t know yet if Nance will play tonight or not, but the Cats won at State by outhustling and out-defending Sparty. They beat big green at their own game- defense and rebounding. In splitting the season series, Northwestern out-rebounded MSU twice in the same season for the very first time.

“Northwestern to be very blunt and honest with you is big, they are very athletic on the wings. they are good,” Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said Saturday.

“That is not a bad team.”

After winning at Northwestern on Jan 2, Izzo said of Chris Collins and his squad:

“He’s got depth, they have a lot things. They’re gonna beat some people here, some people on the road, so I’ll just take the win and get out of here, steal it and go home. It is not something that will go down in Michigan State lore. We didn’t play our best basketball.”

Northwestern entered the trip to East Lansing on the heels of going 0-3 during a three game homestand. That has to change, and now, if they are to do anything this season.

The MSU road win was nice, but they won’t be making any kind of postseason unless they start holding serve on home court.

One of the biggest factors in determining the Big Ten title race this season will be covid-19, and who successfully avoids it.

“You still have that out there,” Collins said after the loss to Michigan State.

“As a coach you’re waking up everyday, hoping you have your team, hoping the phone doesn’t ring and it’s the doctor or the trainer telling you you have bad news.”

Johnny Davis and Wisconsin Badgers (14-2, 5-1) Preview

The 2021 Maui Invitational Tournament MVP, Davis has busted out into the national scene this year, due to his abilities as a very dynamic playmaking shooting guard.

He was one one of just 25 players named to the Wooden Award midseason watch list. He currently ranks third in the nation in scoring (22.3 points per game), and he also leads Wisconsin in rebounds (7.2 rpg), assists (2.6 apg) and steals (1.5 spg). He’s also second for Bucky with nine blocks.

The 6-5 wing/two guard from La Crosse, WI put in a 37-point, 14-rebound performance to lead UW to a big upset win at No. 3 Purdue earlier this season. He can shoot the three, get in among on the trees in the lane and bring the ball up too. He’s got a varied skill set, as he’s a pure scorer, not just a shooter.

Johnny Davis has seen his name rise among all the NBA Draft boards this season, as he’s enjoying a truly breakout campaign.

Now Davis, along with head coach Greg Gard, have Sconnie back where they used to be under Bo Ryan. A win here and they’ll be tied with Illinois for first place in the Big Ten. Ryan’s successor has now restored the glory in Madison.

Paul M. Banks is the owner/manager of The Bank (TheSportsBank.Net) and author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America,” as well as “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry.”

He has regularly appeared in WGNSports Illustrated and the Chicago Tribune, and co-hosts the After Extra Time podcastFollow him on Twitter and Instagram

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