The top seven in both polls remained unchanged from last week, and as such the Wisconsin Badgers (23-2, 11-1 Big Ten) sit at No. 5 in the AP Poll and No. 4 in the USA Today Coaches Poll. The Kentucky Wildcats (25-0, 12-0 SEC) are the unanimous No. 1 team in the country, except for one measly vote that the Gonzaga Bulldogs (26-1, 14-0 WCC) claimed in the Coaches Poll because some school's SID is a contrarian.
Wisconsin kept on rolling through the Big Ten, beating Nebraska on the road by 10 and Kaminskying Illinois at the Kohl Center by 19 points. The Badgers have now won eight straight games in conference play, their longest streak since 1940-41. Only Rosin -- who is immortal, I'm pretty sure -- remembers the last time the Badgers won a basketball national title, but it happened in 1941, which is a good omen for this year's team. Since the Badgers stayed in the top 10 for another week (15 consecutive), this is now the longest streak of consecutive weeks that Wisconsin has spent this highly ranked in program history.
There are only two other Big Ten teams ranked this week and again they are Maryland and Ohio State. The Terps (21-5, 9-4 Big Ten) escaped Indiana (18-8, 8-5 Big Ten) and Penn State (15-11, 3-10 Big Ten) by five points combined last week, while the Buckeyes (19-7, 8-5 Big Ten) pummeled the Nittany Lions and were done in by Denzel Valentine's (Day) magic and the Michigan State Spartans (17-8, 8-4 Big Ten). The Spartans and Indiana are both receiving votes in both polls, while the Iowa Hawkeyes are somehow still garnering votes in the Coaches Poll.
The Badgers travel to State College to take on Penn STate Wednesday night at 6 p.m. CT on Big Ten Network and welcome the Minnesota Golden Gophers (16-10, 5-8 Big Ten) to the Kohl Center on Saturday morning for a dreaded 11 a.m CT kicko... tip-off.
Since there was some Badger football news wasn't positive, let's remind ourselves how good we have it on the hardwood. National player of the year candidate Frank Kaminsky won his third Big Ten Player of the Week award this season after consecutive double-doubles against Illinois and Nebraska.
He shared the award with Dez Wells of Maryland, but we all know who was really the best.
There was more good news for Kaminsky this week, as he was named a finalist for the inaugural Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award, which is given to the nation's top center. Swingman Sam Dekker was named a finalist for the Julius Erving Award, which is also in its first year and given to the nation's top small forward. Here is the official press release from Wisconsin:
Dekker and Kaminsky each named candidates for respective positional awards
Kaminsky up for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award, Dekker up for Julius Erving Award
Feb. 18, 2015
MADISON, Wis. - A pair of Wisconsin men's basketball standouts have been nominated for national awards at their respective positions, as senior Frank Kaminsky was named to the watch list for the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award and junior Sam Dekker was named to the Julius Erving Award watch list, as announced by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame this week.
The Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award, in its inaugural year, recognizes the top centers in Division I men's college basketball. The Julius Erving Award, also in its inaugural year, recognizes the top small forwards in the men's game. Each watch list contains 15 candidates determined by a national committee comprised of top college basketball personnel.
"For many years the Basketball Hall of Fame has recognized the top collegiate point guards in the nation with the Bob Cousy Award. We are excited to expand upon these awards by now recognizing the top players at each position," said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Basketball Hall of Fame. "When it comes to collegiate centers, none have accomplished more than Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and we are pleased to include him in this celebration of the best in the game today. Dr. J is one of the most gifted athletes to ever play the game of basketball. As a small forward, Julius Erving excelled at both the collegiate and professional level for nearly thirty years. It only seems right that this award would bear his name."
By early March, the current lists of 15 finalists for both the 2015 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award and 2015 Julius Erving Award will be narrowed down to five players. The final five players in contention for the award will then be presented to Mr. Abdul-Jabbar and Mr. Erving, along with the Hall of Fame's selection committee.
The winner of the 2015 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award and 2015 Julius Erving Award will each be presented at ESPN's new College Basketball Awards presented by Wendy's from Club Nokia in Los Angeles, California, on April 10. The awards show will be televised live on ESPN2 at 7 p.m. (CT).
Also a Wooden and Naismith Award candidate, Kaminsky leads the Badgers in scoring (17.6 ppg), rebounds (8.4 rpg), assists (59), blocks (38) and field goal percentage (.548).
Dekker is one of four players to rank in the Big Ten's top 10 in points and rebounds during conference play, averaging 14.1 points and 6.2 rebounds per game.
2015 Julius Erving Award Candidates
Sam Dekker, University of Wisconsin
Stanley Johnson, University of Arizona
Roosevelt Jones, Butler University
Justise Winslow, Duke University
Branden Dawson, Michigan State University
Denzel Valentine, Michigan State University
Terran Petteway, University of Nebraska
Pat Connaughton, University of Notre Dame
Le'Bryan Nash, Oklahoma State University
LaDontae Henton, Providence College
Anthony Brown, Stanford University
Jonathan Holmes, University of Texas
Vince Hunter, University of Texas, El Paso
Treveon Graham, Virginia Commonwealth University
Justin Anderson, University of Virginia
2015 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award Candidates
Frank Kaminsky, University of Wisconsin
Bobby Portis, University of Arkansas
Alan Williams, University of California, Santa Barbara
Josh Scott, University of Colorado
Jahlil Okafor, Duke University
Joshua Smith, Georgetown University
Willie Cauley-Stein, University of Kentucky
Jarell Martin, Louisiana State University
Kennedy Meeks, University of North Carolina
Brad Waldow, Saint Mary's College
Stefan Nastic, Stanford University
Rakeem Christmas, Syracuse University
Jakob Poeltl, University of Utah
Damian Jones, Vanderbilt University
Daniel Ochefu, Villanova University