Men’s basketball: No. 13 Badgers look for another road win in Minnesota

Johnny Davis will need to lead Badgers after Sunday's postgame scuffle

· Feb 23, 2022 Tweet

Abby Cima/The Badger Herald

With the dust starting to settle from the Michigan post-game incident, the No. 13 University of Wisconsin Badgers (21-5, 12-4 Big Ten) travel to Minnesota (13-12, 4-12) looking for a season sweep of the Golden Gophers.

The teams last played Jan. 30 in Madison, a 66-60 victory for UW was backed by 16 points and 15 rebounds from star sophomore Johnny Davis. Minnesota battled throughout in a game where neither team shot the lights out.

UW is coming off of two impressive wins in a row, on the road at Indiana followed by a 14 point victory over Michigan. With just three games left after this matchup and the Badgers fully in the race to win the Big Ten, head coach Greg Gard would take a victory by any means.

While every game in the Big Ten is a challenge, this is especially true on the road. Top teams always need to be a bit warier of an upset when away from home, and it seems like Gard’s team has understood that. UW’s only road losses on the season are at Illinois and Ohio State as they have continued to find a way to win in tough environments.

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Minnesota, led by sophomore Jamison Battle, is coming off of a 77-60 victory over Northwestern at home. The Gophers have had their ups and downs this season, going undefeated in non-conference games but failing to stay consistent against Big Ten teams.

Prior to their win over Northwestern, UM lost two straight games by 20 or more points, failing to score more than 46 points in either game. But the team has some capable players, including Battle who leads the team with 16.6 points a game and Payton Willis, who scored 17 points in the last matchup against the Badgers.

For UW, Davis is in the midst of one of his best stretches of the season, with 25 or more points in three of the last four games. The hopeful lottery pick has appeared to be more patient on the offensive end and let the game come to him, and it has paid off. Davis is this team’s closer, and in the very possible case of a close one Wednesday evening, UW will let their star dictate the game.

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Davis’ patience offensively has freed up others to get involved in the scoring. While senior Brad Davison has been struggling of late, Gard will continue to give him the green light from the 3-point range. The team has found a solid inside-out game, with freshman Chucky Hepburn facilitating and finding Tyler Wahl to work inside, or 7-foot Steven Crowl on the 3-point line.

The Badgers will be without Jahcobi Neath on Wednesday, who will be out serving a one-game suspension for his involvement in Sunday’s incident. With Neath off the bench, UW hopes to have Lorne Bowman back in the lineup after missing the Michigan game with an illness. Gard could also look to Ben Carlson or Jordan Davis for extra minutes off the bench.

Playing on the road in the Big Ten is never easy, but the Badgers have played with a little extra edge away from home this season. With Minnesota reeling 3-7 in their last ten games, UW has a good opportunity to earn its twenty-second victory of the season.


This article was published Feb 23, 2022 at 1:32 pm and last updated Feb 23, 2022 at 6:35 pm


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