In the wake of Kobe King’s announcement to transfer from the University of Wisconsin, the basketball program was also informed by the Big Ten Conference office that shooting guard Brad Davison would be suspended for the Michigan State game this Saturday.
The two players have each averaged around 29 minutes per game this season, and the duo has accounted for nearly 19 points, seven rebounds and three assists per game combined. In an offense that has struggled at times to score, taking that away will be hard to overcome.
With that in mind, here is the impact that each players absence may have on the team.
In all likelihood, Tyler Wahl will continue to earn the starting nod in place of Kobe King. Wahl played admirably against Iowa in King’s shoes, with four points and seven rebounds. While those numbers are not the perfect recipe for replacing the second leading scorer, Wahl brings a lot to the team. But, we will touch on that later.
Brad Davison’s loss should force Brevin Pritzl into a starting role. The elder statesman of the team, Pritzl is a glue guy that will need to be more aggressive without both King and Davison to carry some of the scoring load. One of the best three-point shooters on the team, he must hunt his shot.
A reminder in case folks haven't been following our coverage: King didn't leave because of pace of play or lack of shots. He leads UW in scoring in B1G games (12.6 ppg) and has 92 FGAs, just behind team-leader Nate Reuvers (93). https://t.co/0KJHBLdrPp— Jeff Potrykus (@jaypo1961) January 30, 2020
So here is a preview of the assumed starting lineup:
- D’Mitrik Trice
- Brevin Pritzl
- Tyler Wahl
- Aleem Ford
- Nate Reuvers
In looking at the lineup, it is very big. Pritzl — at 6-foot-3 is a wing that has routinely spelled both Davison and King at times this year. He can be a spark at times off of the bench, but can also struggle at times on both ends of the court with quicker guards. Wahl is a Swiss army knife in terms of position versatility. At 6-foot-7, he has been the primary backup to Aleem Ford, but has also played small forward in place of King at times this year.
Wahl is still getting stronger, making defending the four a challenge for him at times, so his position in the starting lineup is probably a more natural location for him given his size and talents. Wahl always brings a great energy to the floor with him, but he will need to be more aggressive on the offensive end. With King’s departure, Wahl represents the best attacking threat, with the ability to get to the rim off the bounce, and he will need to be more willing to do so.
Good morning to only the enormous protective ball of bubble wrap that we assume is surrounding D'Mitrik Trice, the only starting guard left for Wisconsin, the rest of the week.— Bucky's 5th Quarter (@B5Q) January 30, 2020
Tyler Wahl has averaged only 17 minutes per game this season, but with his versatility, it would not be surprising to see his minutes balloon closer to 30. Pritzl on the other hand has already been playing 24 minutes per contest, I would expect that number to potentially only increase slightly. D’Mitrik Trice will most likely need a breathing mask after Saturday, as is the only guard on the roster equipped to guard Cassius Winston now, and he is also the only starting guard still available. He has led the team this season at over 30 minutes per game, it would not be shocking to see that even closer to 40 against Michigan State. Trice has played well over the past few games, and he will be called upon to a be not only a leader and distributor, but also a scorer the rest of the way this season.
The problem stands behind the starters though.
Wisconsin is very thin with scholarship bodies. Trevor Anderson will see increased minutes at both the point behind Trice, but also alongside Trice as a shooting guard. He has done some nice things this season coming off the bench, showing a willingness to drive, but also the ability to hit shots from outside. Anderson is still only a year removed from a knee injury, which primarily shows up on the defensive end when guarding quicker athletes. With King and Davison out for Saturday, Anderson will be called upon to expand his role, and he is capable.
Micah Potter usually takes turns with Nate Reuvers on the court, but given the lineup shuffle, it would not be surprising to see him garner more time at the four spot as well when Aleem Ford needs a breather. Both Potter and Reuvers will need to shoulder a much bigger load on offense moving forward this season. Trice will be stressed further on the defensive end, making it crucial for Wisconsin to feed their big men inside. The twin towers are the Badgers best remaining offensive weapons, and they will need to each heighten their games.
One other player who may see his minutes increase is Walt McGrory. The walk-on has shown glimpses at time this year to be a rotational player. Without the services of Davison this weekend, McGrory could see some action to spell the three main guards available.
Which player will need to step up most without King and Davison Saturday?
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