Wisconsin (10-13, 3-7 Big Ten) will play Northwestern (13-10, 4-6) in the Kohl Center Thursday night.
The Badgers have slid to a disappointing 3-7 in conference play after Monday’s heartbreaking defeat to Nebraska, in which they were outscored 30-8 in the final nine minutes, 59 seconds of play to blow an 11-point lead.
Unfortunately, Northwestern will be no easy obstacle following the difficult loss.
Chris Collins, son of former Philadelphia 76ers player/coach Doug Collins, coaches the Wildcats. Collins is in his fifth year at Northwestern and is already looking like the most successful basketball coach in school history.
Just last year, Collins made the program’s first ever NCAA tournament, winning his first game against Vanderbilt and then nearly upsetting No. 1 seed Gonzaga on a controversial goaltending no-call that may have cost Northwestern a Cinderella Sweet 16 birth.
While the team isn’t on pace to have quite the same success as last year, their roster is relatively similar, losing just one starter in Sanjay Lumpkin. Senior Bryan McIntosh still leads the team at point guard, notching an impressive 12.7 points and 5.5 assists to 2.7 turnovers per game.
Wisconsin’s own point guard D’Mitrik Trice is still out for the team. Though he has been at practice, the sophomore has yet to be medically cleared.
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Brad Davison, battling a left shoulder injury since early January, will still be in charge of commanding the Badger offense with Trice out. Following the injury, Davison has struggled this season with turnovers and shot. He took just four shots last week, which is less than half of his season average of 8.3.
But the freshman has maintained an incredible level of composure taking the reins as the primary ball handler. During Sunday’s practice, Davison explained how taking on such a heavy role as a freshman has matured him.
“I don’t really see myself as a freshman anymore now that we’ve played 22 games,” Davison said. “I feel like I have experience underneath my belt I don’t use that as an excuse I just go out there and play the best that I can.”
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Hopefully Davison and the Badgers can limit turnovers and execute tomorrow night against the Wildcats.
Tipoff begins at 7.30 p.m. from the Kohl Center with live coverage available on Fox Sports 1.