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Wisconsin vs. Nicholls: how to watch, game preview and open thread [UPDATE: Johnny Davis out]

The Badgers are back in action with a non-conference game at the Kohl Center.

2021 Maui Invitational Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

The Wisconsin Badgers men’s basketball is back in action on Wednesday night! After splitting a pair of conference games last week, and dropping out of the AP Poll (by one spot), Wisconsin (8-2 overall, 1-1 Big Ten) welcomes the Nicholls Colonels (7-3 overall, 0-0 Southland) to the Kohl Center. It is the first of three straight home, non-conference games before Big Ten play really gets started at the beginning of January.

While their record may look decent, a brief look at the Colonels’ schedule shows that four of their wins have come against non-D1 competition. Their best win of the season is a road dub over Northern Iowa, but they’ve been blown out by Baylor and TCU so winning against a Power 5 team might not be in the cards this year.

Nicholls is an average shooting team (although terrible from the free throw line) and plays at breakneck pace. They also don’t possess much height outside of the 6-foot-11 Ryghe Lyons and will probably struggle on the boards and scoring around the basket. Point guard Ty Gordon is the conductor of the offense and has active hands on defense. Should be a fun matchup between he and Chucky Hepburn.

The Badgers should win this one comfortably, and it’s a nice chance to bounce back after a tough loss to Ohio State over the weekend.

How to watch/listen

TV: BTN, 7:00 p.m. CT, Kevin Kugler, Andy Katz

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 -19
(Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.)

KenPom Wisconsin win percentage: 96%
Torvik Wisconsin win percentage: 96%

Fun facts (according to the media guides)

  • UW has started the season with a record of 8-2 for the second consecutive year and the third time in the last four seasons.
  • UW already has two second-half, double-digit comebacks this season. The last time UW did that multiple times in one season was in 2002 - Bo Ryan and Greg Gard’s first season at UW.
  • The Badgers won the first, and so far only, meeting with Nicholls, 86-43, on Dec. 13, 2014 in Madison.
  • The Badgers had five players score in double figures, led by Sam Dekker, who had led UW with 17 points, five rebounds, three assists and two blocks.
  • UW is 9-0 all time against members of the Southland Conference, winning those games by an average of 22.7 ppg. The most recent meeting with a member of the Southland was an 83-63 victory over McNeese State on Nov. 13, 2019.
  • UW leads the Big Ten in scoring defense, allowing just 60.5 ppg; UW ranks No. 13 in the nation in defensive efficiency.
  • UW ranks second in the Big Ten shooting 78.7% (140-178) at the foul line. The Badgers have made nearly as many FTs (140) than their opponents have attempted (143).
  • The Badgers are averaging just 8.5 turnovers per game, which ranks third in the Big Ten and is tied for fourth overall in the NCAA. UW’s 12.8 turnover percentage ranks sixth in the NCAA.
  • Only two of UW’s nine opponents have finished better than 1.0 points per possession, and no team has surpassed 1.05 PPP.
  • Brad Davison has now climbed up to No. 11 on Wisconsin’s all-time scoring list and needs 23 points to pass Mike Wilkinson and Jordan Taylor and move into ninth place.
  • Johnny Davis leads Wisconsin averaging 20.9 ppg and 6.1 rpg. He also leads UW in assists (21) and steals (14). He is playing at an All-America level right now and it has been a joy to watch.
  • He has scored at least 20 points in six of the last seven games he’s played this season.
  • Davis draws a team-high 5.3 fouls per game and is shooting 82.6% from the charity stripe.
  • With 16 blocks this season, Tyler Wahl leads UW and ranks sixth in the Big Ten averaging 1.6 blocks per game.
  • Lastly, if you are able to donate, Chris Vogt has set up a GoFundMe to help his hometown of Mayfield, Kentucky which was devastated by the tornadoes that tore through the western part of the state recently.

Potential Starters

Wisconsin

  • Johnny Davis, 6-foot-5, sophomore, guard, No. 1
  • Jahcobi Neath, 6-foot-4, junior, guard, No. 0
  • Tyler Wahl, 6-foot-9, junior, forward, No. 5
  • 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

Nicholls

  • Ty Gordon, 6-foot-1, senior, guard, No. 0
  • Pierce Spencer, 6-foot-3, sophomore, guard, No. 5
  • Latrell Jones, 6-foot-5, senior, forward, No. 11
  • Devante Carter, 6-foot-3, senior, guard, No. 14
  • Ryghe Lyons, 6-foot-11, senior, forward, No. 35

UPDATE: Johnny Davis is out with a non-COVID illness