The University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team is set to take on the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (6-3, 0-0 C-USA) Wednesday as they hope to keep their chance at an NCAA Tournament bid alive.
The Badgers (4-7, 1-1 Big Ten) are off to the worst start through 11 games since before Bo Ryan was head coach. What makes the situation even more dire is that two of their key contributors are now facing long term injuries.
Freshman Kobe King will be out for the remainder of the season after having surgery on his left knee Monday. King, a true freshman, can apply for a medical hardship waiver at the end of the season that would give him an additional year of eligibility due to the injury.
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The more impactful injury to the team this year, however, is starting point guard D’Mitrik Trice. Trice had surgery on his right foot Monday and will be out indefinitely with a chance to return late in the season. Now, the question remains for the Badgers: Who will take over for these players after the injuries?
While Wisconsin’s greatest area of depth before the injury was guard, they have significantly more players at the two position as opposed to the one. There are a few different possibilities of who can take over the point with Trice out, but freshman guard Brad Davison appears to be most attractive option.
In an early November interview with UW Athletics, Head Coach Greg Gard praised Davison’s versatility.
“[Brad] brings a tremendous toughness and competitive spirit to both ends of the floor,” Gard said. “He has the ability to play both the point guard as well as the off guard position. His experiences as a high school quarterback will serve him well as he makes the transition to a collegiate basketball”.
While Davison has played pretty much entirely off guard this season, Gard seems confident in his abilities to become the primary ball handler.
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Despite Davison’s potential for success at a new position, his youth and the team’s lack of depth could make Western Kentucky another challenging game for the ailing Badgers.
Western Kentucky has a diverse set of scorers, with six players averaging 10 or more points. On top of that, the Hilltoppers are shooting above 40 percent as a team from beyond the line — an area the Badgers have struggled defending this season.
Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. with live coverage available from the Kohl Center on Fox Sports 1.