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Wisconsin vs. Providence: how to watch, game preview and open thread [UPDATE: Jonathan Davis OUT]

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The Badgers face-off with the Friars in the 2021 Gavitt Games on Monday night.

Syndication: The Providence Journal
Nate Watson is a load to handle down low.
Kris Craig/The Providence Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Wisconsin Badgers men’s basketball team (2-0 overall, 0-0 Big Ten) is off to a solid start with their new look lineup. While they haven’t played a team that has a similar talent level to them yet, Wisconsin has looked engaged on both ends of the court and that is something that can carry over regardless of competition.

On Monday night, the Providence Friars (2-0 overall, 0-0 Big East) come to town as part of the annual Gavitt Games between the Big Ten and the Big East, celebrating the contributions of Dave Gavitt, the founder of the Big East and former Providence head coach, to the game of basketball.

The distinctive series between the two conferences is named to honor the late Gavitt, who had a profound and lasting influence on the sport of basketball at the collegiate, professional and Olympic levels. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006.

Wisconsin has been playing stout defense in the early part of this year, giving up an average of 46 points in their first two games. They haven’t been forcing a ton of turnovers, but they are controlling the defensive glass and keeping opposing teams off the free throw line. Against the Friars, UW will need to keep their interior defense solid because Providence is shooting 67.2% (No. 10 in the nation) on two-pointers this year.

Individually, sophomore big man Steven Crowl (14.5 ppg, 7.5 rpg) and sophomore wing Jonathan Davis (15.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 3.5 apg) are leading the way on offense. Freshman point guard Chucky Hepburn leads the team with four steals and grad transfer big man Chris Vogt has three blocks, to lead the defense.

The Friars are a veteran team (their top six players have played in 552 combined games) that won’t be intimidated coming into the Kohl Center and are led by super senior center Nate Watson who is averaging 18.0 ppg, 8.0 rpg and 2.0 bpg while shooting 69.6% from the field. Former Indiana Hoosiers guard, Al Durham, is averaging 15 points per game too.

How to watch/listen

TV: FS1, 8 p.m. CT, Kevin Kugler, Bill Raftery (ONIONS!)

Streaming: FOX Sports app; FOX Sports

Radio/Satellite: WIBA 1310 AM, Sirius/XM 195; Matt Lepay and Mike Lucas

Live stats: Here!

Arena: Kohl Center, Madison, Wis.

DraftKings Line: Wisconsin -5
(Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.)

KenPom Wisconsin win percentage: 75%
Torvik Wisconsin win percentage: 67%

Fun facts (according to the media guides)

  • The Badgers are 1-2 all-time in the Gavitt‚ Games, most recently earning a 77-68 road win at Xavier in 2018. The Friars hold a 1-3 mark all-time in the Gavitt Games.
  • Providence leads the all-time series, 3-1, having won three straight. UW’s lone win against the Friars came in a 95-84 victory back in 1961 in New York City, N.Y.
  • Wisconsin is 100-90 all-time against teams in the BIG EAST Conference.
  • The Badgers have won 23 consecutive non-conference home games dating back to the 2017-18 season.
  • Through two games, UW is out-rebounding opponents 49.0 to 31.0, while averaging just 9.5 turnovers per game.
  • Defensively, the Badgers are limiting foes to 46.0 ppg and just 32.5% shooting (21.6% from deep).
  • UW has led the B1G in scoring defense four of the last six seasons under Gard (two straight years).
  • UW is also shooting 82.1% (32-39) from the FT line on the year.
  • UW’s roster features 12 underclassmen, tied with Nebraska for most in the Big Ten. It marks Wisconsin’s largest group of underclassmen in at least 20 years (going back to 2001-02).
  • The Friars’ roster, on the other hand, features five graduate students. It marks the first time ever the Friars have had five graduate students on the roster.
  • Scoring 15 points last Friday, Brad Davison passed Jon Leuer (2008-11) to climb to 18th on UW’s all-time scoring list. He is now 20 points outside of 17th place and 24 points out of 16th place.

Potential Starters

Wisconsin

  • Johnny Davis, 6-foot-5, sophomore, guard, No. 1
  • Tyler Wahl, 6-foot-9, junior, forward, No. 5
  • Ben Carlson, 6-foot-9, sophomore, forward, No. 20
  • Steven Crowl, 7-foot, sophomore, forward, No. 22
  • Chucky Hepburn, 6-foot-2, freshman, guard, No. 23
  • Brad Davison, 6-foot-4, super senior, guard, No. 34

Providence

  • Nate Watson, 6-foot-10, super senior, center, No. 0
  • Al Durham, 6-foot-4, super senior, guard, No. 1
  • Jared Bynum, 5-foot-10, RS junior, guard, No. 4
  • A.J. Reeves, 6-foot-6, senior, guard, No. 11
  • Noah Horchler, 6-foot-8, super senior, forward, No. 14