After a 15-point road loss to No. 6 Illinois (13-5, 9-3 Big Ten), the No. 21 University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team (15-6, 9-5) kept their Big Ten regular-season championship hopes alive after defeating Nebraska (4-11, 0-8) 61–48 Wednesday night in Lincoln.
The Badgers looked lackadaisical at times during the first half, and the underdog Cornhuskers jumped out to a 20–14 lead after starting the game 8-for-12 from the field including four 3-pointers. The Badgers soon settled in after Nebraska’s blisteringly hot start, and Aleem Ford’s 3-pointer at the buzzer gave Wisconsin a narrow three-point halftime lead.
Wisconsin struggled from the field in the first half — shooting just 10-for-33 from the floor and 5-for-19 from deep.
With Wisconsin’s offense struggling early, freshman Jonathan Davis took command in the second half. Davis knocked down a 3-pointer from the corner then slashed through the lane for an and-one finish. Davis’ six-point burst gave Wisconsin a seven-point lead within the first four minutes of the second half.
Wisconsin extended their lead to double digits following senior guard Brad Davison’s 3-pointer with 9:50 to play. All of Davison’s baskets Wednesday were from long distance, and the senior finished with nine points on the night. Five players scored eight points or more for the Badgers as they snuck out a gritty 61–48 victory.
Wednesday’s matchup was a must-win for the Badgers as Head Coach Greg Gard’s team enters their most difficult stretch of the season. Five of Wisconsin’s six final games to end the season are against ranked opponents, and the gauntlet starts Sunday afternoon against No. 3 Michigan.
Highlighted by a mind-boggling 43–6 run, the Wolverines ran Wisconsin out of the gym in a Jan. 12 matchup en route to a 77–54 victory. Wisconsin could not find answers to Michigan’s balanced scoring attack as four Michigan players scored in double figures. The Badgers will need to neutralize Michigan’s balanced attack if they want any chance of pulling off the upset.
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It will be interesting to see if the talented Wolverines show any rust in Sunday’s matchup. Head Coach Juwan Howard’s squad hasn’t played since their Jan. 22 win over Purdue, postponing five games due to COVID-19 concerns. Wisconsin, fresh off their road win Wednesday, will look to capitalize on Michigan’s inaction and hope to get off to a hot start Sunday.
Tip-off for Sunday’s matchup is at noon, and fans can catch the game on CBS.