It doesn’t always end up pretty, but a win is a win and the Wisconsin Badgers ( are on a two-game win streak thanks to a 72-60 win over Illinois earlier this week.
The Badgers continue the Illinois theme as they head home to take on Northwestern on Saturday afternoon at 1:15pm CT on BTN.
Northwestern is also riding a two-game win streak that includes a major win over Indiana.
With both teams coming in hot, what things should we know heading in to the first of two matchups over the next month? Let’s take a look at exactly that.
5: Davison is shooting over 50 percent over last 9 games
There’s little doubt that D’Mitrik Trice has cooled off a bit as of late, but part of that is because fellow guard Brad Davison is taking a bigger scoring role.
In fact, Davison is shooting 57.1 percent (20-25) from the field in the last 9 games to be specific. That includes 26 points against Western Kentucky and 24 points against Savannah State.
He’s also averaging 13.0 points per game over those nine games, including double digit efforts in four of the Badgers six Big Ten games in the new year.
Getting in to a flow offensively, especially beyond the arc is going to be something to watch…and more on that later.
4: Happ is 4th in the NCAA with 12 double doubles
Wisconsin’s biggest star name has flown down the double double charts as of late. At one point he was tied for first with 11 double doubles, however the last few weeks have been interesting for the senior.
Big Ten play has slowed down the double double machine, as he has failed to record a double double in four of six conference games since the start of the new year.
In fact, last time out Happ’s foul trouble kept him from scoring in double figures for the first time all season. He put up good overall numbers though with 9 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists.
Still, on the season Happ is averaging 19.2 points, 10.3 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game and is the only player in the country doing that. In fact, over the last 20 years, LSU’s First-Team AllAmerican Ben Simmons (19.2 ppg, 11.8 rpg, 4.8 apg in 2015-16) is the NCAA’s only player to do that.
Happ being able to control this game is going to be important thanks to his individual matchup with Northwestern’s quality big man — Derek Pardon.
3: Both teams have three players averaging double figures
Neither team is focused on one player to get them over the finish line, with the Badgers featured star Ethan Happ (19.2) but a quality supporting cast in D’Mitrik Trice (14.0) and Brad Davison (10.3). Northwestern is led by Vic Law (16.3), Derek Pardon (14.2) and Ryan Taylor (12.3).
It’s almost like looking in a mirror, with a quality big man and two players who can shoot from beyond the paint.
Perhaps the most intriguing and telling matchup will be the one between two high-scoring and athletic big men in Happ and Pardon. Northwestern’s big man comes in shooting 61 percent from the field and grabbing over 7 rebounds per game. Meanwhile Happ is averaging a double double and is shooting 56.8 percent from the field to go along with 4.8 assists per game too.
Whichever big man can get going on offense earlier could be the game-changing moment.
2: Nate Reuvers has notched career highs in 2 of last 3 games
After trying to figure out his role, sophomore forward Nate Reuvers has found it and then some as of late. He has hit new career highs in two of the last three games, including an 18-point performance at Maryland and a double double with 22 points and 10 rebounds in the win at Illinois.
It isn’t just those two games either, Reuvers has been in double figures in seven of the last 11 games overall and is averaging 10.8 points per game in that stretch.
Reuvers gives the Badgers a floor-stretching presence on offense and has become a quality shot blocking option on defense as well. His pairing with Happ has been a big help to making teams have to cover inside and out with forwards.
1: Northwestern is 1st in the Big Ten in 3-point shooting defense
While everyone wants to focus on the big matchup between the two big men, it could be the perimeter that will matter the most. In fact, it will be a clash between the Badgers Big Ten-leading 3-point shooting offense and Northwestern’s Big Ten-best perimeter defense.
The Badgers come in shooting a healthy 39.5 percent from beyond the arc for the season. Northwestern is allowing opponents to only shoot 27.7 percent from beyond the arc.
How are the Wildcats able to do it? It’s part how they play on offense, but also the fact that the lineup is long and athletic overall and that makes it difficult for shorter guards to get quality looks beyond the arc.
On the flip side, the Badgers guards have been great at spacing the floor and getting in positions to receive passes from in the post as well as creating looks off of picks.
Something will have to give and it could be the difference maker.
Badgers basketball land Davis twins
After missing out on the Hauser brothers late last month, the Wisconsin Badgers added a different pair of siblings on Saturday night.
Following an offer to the brother of 4-star shooting guard Johnny Davis and an appearance at a team camp this weekend, the Davis brothers announced their pledge to the Badgers according to Badger247.
It took less than a week after head coach Greg Gard gave the O.K. to offer Jordan for the pair to commit to Wisconsin.
Johnny held offers from Marquette, West Virginia, Iowa, Minnesota, DePaul, UNLV and others.
Jordan had offers from UW-Milwaukee and Green Bay, while also becoming a sought after recruit on the football field as well. Once he became serious about wanting to play basketball first, it seemed like a matter of time before Wisconsin offered.
That time came after seeing Jordan play in a camp last weekend.
It also came because it was time to figure out if Johnny was serious about the Badgers or not.
With the July evaluation period coming up, Wisconsin’s coaching staff put the final chips in the middle with this recruitment and it appeared to pay off.
Johnny joins as the No. 141 ranked player in the country and the No. 14 ranked combo guard in the nation according to the 247Sports composite rankings.
The twins will join Detroit, Mich. native Lorne Bowman in the 2020 class.
Wisconsin still has one scholarship available in the class as well, which is likely being held for 5-star and Wisconsin native Jalen Johnson.
After missing out on talented in-state players over and over again, this was a major win for Gard and his coaching staff considering how hard schools like West Virginia and Marquette were after Johnny’s commitment.
As for Jordan, it appears the coaching staff believes he is improving enough to get a scholarship and continue his improvement with this program.
Offers don’t come out just because it may win over a different recruit at Wisconsin. That wasn’t Bo Ryan’s style and it also isn’t Greg Gard’s style.
The trio of players put the Badgers at No. 8 in the country and No. 3 in the Big Ten in the 2020 class as of today.
Former Badgers get No. 2 seed in The Basketball Tournament Columbus regional
Who doesn’t want $2 million? That’s the prize at stake for winning The Basketball Tournament and a group of former Wisconsin Badgers want in.
On Tuesday it was officially announced that the Kohl Blooded team — spearheaded by former Badgers point guard Kam Taylor — will be the No. 2 seed in the Columbus regional.
They will take on No. 7 seed Mid-American Unity, which is making its second appearance in the TBT after a year off. That group represents teams from across the Mid-American conference.
As for the Badgers, the roster will be made up of some very strong names from the past. The headline names include members of the back-to-back Final Four teams in Nigel Hayes and Vitto Brown. Also joining will be Jordan Taylor, Ryan Evans, Trevon Hughes and recent grad Charles Thomas. You can see the full roster here.
The regionals will take place July 19-21 in Columbus with the winner of this regional meeting seven other winners in Chicago for championship week.
All games will be broadcast on the ESPN family of networks, so you should be able to find them either streaming or on cable television.
Kohl Blooded vs. Mid-American Unity will tip at 1pm ET on Friday, July 19.
The winner will take on the winner of Red Scare (Dayton alumni) and The Region (players from Northwest Indiana) in the regional semi-final the next day.
Badgers play final card in attempt to land 2020 G Johnny Davis
A week after losing out on Joey and Sam Hauser, the Wisconsin Badgers basketball program needs some positive momentum on the player acquisition front.
With three scholarships available in the 2020 class and two top in-state players in their sites, the Badgers coaching staff has been about as patient as possible.
On Wednesday, Badger247 reports that UW has offered Jordan Davis, the twin brother of top target Johnny Davis. It’s not a walk-on or grayshirt, but a full scholarship offer.
After two years of waiting for that offer to come, it finally did.
Jordan is an unranked player in basketball at this time, but I expect that to change once the scouting services catch wind of this offer. Johnny Davis is the No. 131 ranked player in the country, a 4-star rated prospect and the No. 3 ranked player in the state of Wisconsin in the 2020 class.
With the brothers set to make a weekend visit for team camp in two weeks, this is a move that undoubtably puts the pressure squarely on Johnny Davis at this point.
Simply put, the Badgers need to know if Davis is going to commit or if they need to move on.
Offering Jordan a full ride is about the only thing left in the Badgers quiver at this point. If getting the dream of playing basketball together at the same school and in-state no less doesn’t tip the scales, at least the Badgers know they can move on.
Is it a desperate move? In some ways one could see it as such. Clearly the Badgers want Johnny in a major way and they see offering Jordan as a critical move that could separate themselves from the competition.
However, this also isn’t a coaching staff willing to just throw away a scholarship in an effort to get a coveted player to play for them. That’s simply not Greg Gard’s style.
Jordan is also a player they see as a contributor, or he wasn’t getting an offer. Plain and simple.
There’s no doubt that this move ups the pressure, like I mentioned before. But, that’s not a bad thing, as UW needs to know where they stand heading in to July’s evaluation period.
If the Davis brothers can’t commit or at least internally give the coaching staff the information that will make them feel comfortable, they need to start getting offers out to other big time players whom they’ve been waiting to offer.
Consider UW is an underdog to land in-state five-star prospect Jalen Johnson, and you have to consider this move a smart one for the long term prospects of the 2020 class.
Will the Davis twins jump at the offer to play together at Wisconsin?
Some in the recruiting world believe this was the situation that was holding Wisconsin back all along. So, don’t be surprised to see this affect the recruitment of both players in a big way.
As for Jordan, his game has also caught the attention of Iowa and Minnesota and he did have scholarship offers from both Green Bay and Milwaukee prior to this one.
What may have really held the Badgers coaching staff and others back was the fact that Jordan is also a good player on the football side and wasn’t sure which sport he wanted to pick.
It seems like UW has gotten the clue that Jordan may be more receptive to a basketball future and pulled the trigger on the offer.
We’ll see how much longer the two stay uncommitted, but don’t be surprised to see something happen following July’s AAU season.
Letting that play out and getting all the offers out there on the table is just a smart move for the twins. From there, it’s up to them and clearly the Badgers have left no stone unturned in this situation.
Taylor Currie announces transfer from Badgers program
And then there was one.
The 2018 Wisconsin Badgers basketball recruiting class had three players, but in the span of a month there is but one member of that group remaining.
On Tuesday, it was announced that 6-8 forward Taylor Currie will transfer from the program after redshirting last season.
He joins point guard Tai Strickland in the leaving the program.
That also means that 7-foot center Joe Hedstrom, who took a grayshirt offer and will go on scholarship next season, as the lone member of the 2018 class still with the program.
It also means that the Badgers will be down to just nine scholarship players as of now for the upcoming season, leaving plenty of space for a big haul in the offseason if they want to.
Wisconsin already came in to the offseason looking to even out the scholarship situation between the 2019 and 2020 class. Now, it may be able to really accomplish adding good pieces in 2019 and saving room for 2020.
The Badgers may fill two of the unused scholarships with Joey and Same Hauser, who are transferring from Marquette.
A decision will be coming from the Stevens Point natives in the next few weeks as they are scheduled to visit both Michigan State and Virginia.
Neither of those schools currently have the room for both brothers to join up, something the Badgers clearly don’t have to worry about.
As for Currie, according to the Wisconsin State Journal, he’ll head back to his native Michigan and play and Mott Community College in Flint, where he will still have two years to play there should he chose to use those years.
Wisconsin isn’t likely to limit its looks at the transfer market to just the Hauser’s either. There is a glaring and immediate need for experience up front, so the Badgers could fill that with a graduate transfer.
That was something the coaching staff was kicking around prior to any transfer out of the program anyway. Now, the Badgers have the flexibility to add that extra one-year player to the mix.
Stay tuned for the next few weeks, as things could move fast on the transfer front.
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