UPDATE, Thursday 12/23/21, 1:55 p.m. CT:
The game is cancelled. Here is the release from UW:
MADISON, Wis. – Tonight’s Wisconsin men’s basketball game against George Mason, scheduled for a 6 p.m. CT tip at the Kohl Center, has been called off and will not be played.
The decision was made by UW medical officials after positive COVID-19 tests were found within the Wisconsin program.
All ticket holders for tonight’s game will be notified via email with next steps.
The next scheduled game for the Badgers is Dec. 29 vs. Illinois State at the Kohl Center.
After having their game against Morgan State cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns, the No. 24 Wisconsin Badgers (9-2 overall, 1-1 Big Ten) were able to find a more than suitable replacement with the George Mason Patriots (7-5 overall, 0-0 Atlantic 10) coming to Madison instead.
You may remember Mason from their magical 2006 run to the Final Four, but the Patriots have been playing basketball since 1966 and have 13 20-win seasons in their history. This season, led by first-year coach Kim English, the Patriots have already beaten Maryland and Georgia on the road while also stomping Wisconsin’s previously scheduled opponent, Morgan State, by 37.
Holiday Hoops! It's GAME DAY‼️ pic.twitter.com/LJvMpAuOag— Wisconsin Basketball (@BadgerMBB) December 23, 2021
The Badgers will be looking to get the sour taste out of the mouth from their past two games, a blowout loss to Ohio State and a way-closer-than-it-should-have-been win over Nicholls, with a good performance against Mason. As far as we know, star guard Johnny Davis should be back for this game, after missing the contest against Nicholls, which should help improve the flow of UW’s offense.
As a team, Mason attempts a ton of threes and is making them at a 36.0% clip (No. 68 in the country) and is solid on the defensive glass despite not having a super-tall big man. 6-foot-9 and 235 pound forward Josh Oduro patrols the paint for the Patriots on defense, blocking 6.6% of the shots he sees (No. 112 in the country), and dominates on the block on offense, shooting 65.5% on two-point attempts, and over 78% on “close twos.”
Oduro is also adept at drawing fouls, so Steven Crowl and Chris Vogt are going to have to play solid defense without getting into foul trouble, which has proven difficult for both of them this season.
These two teams play at almost the exact same pace, but Mason has four starters that routinely play over 72.5% of their minutes so the bench is a little untested so far this season. The Badgers score plenty of points from the free throw line too, so there are multiple reasons for UW to try and get the Patriots in foul trouble.
How to watch/listen
TV: BTN, 6:00 p.m. CT, Telly Hughes, Brian Butch
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 -10.5
(Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.)
KenPom Wisconsin win percentage: 77%
Torvik Wisconsin win percentage: 79%
Fun facts (according to the media guides)
- The Badgers and Patriots have never met in men’s basketball before.
- I may be the only person (in the world???) who has attended a game at both the Kohl Center and the Patriot Center in their lifetime, so cheers to me.
- Wisconsin is 11-8 all-time against teams from the Atlantic 10 conference.
- Wisconsin has come back from three second-half double-digit deficits (Saint Mary’s, Indiana, Nicholls) this season. UW has three second-half comebacks of 10+ points for the first time in the same season since the 1999-2000 campaign.
- Last time out, head coach Greg Gard improved his overall record to 128- 72 (.640) in his seventh season at the helm, tying Steve Yoder for fourth on the school’s all-time wins list.
- Wisconsin has already tallied six wins over KenPom top-100 teams, tied with Alabama and Michigan State for the most in the nation.
- Wisconsin ranks second in the Big Ten allowing 61.2 ppg. UW is No. 24 in the NCAA in defensive efficiency according to KenPom. Only three opponents have averaged more than 1.0 PPP in a game against UW this season.
- UW ranks third in the Big Ten shooting 76.6% at the free throw line and has made more FTs (157) than its foes have attempted (151).
- The Badgers rank second in the Big Ten averaging just 8.5 turnovers per game and No. 3 in the country with a 12.7 turnover percentage.
- Brad Davison needs four points to move into ninth on UW’s all-time scoring list - 1,530 career points.
- Johnny Davis has scored at least 20 points in six of the last seven games he’s played this season, and ranks third in the Big Ten averaging 20.9 ppg.
- Davis also leads UW in rebounds (6.1 rpg), assists (21) and steals (14). His 1.6 steals per game ranks sixth in the Big Ten.
- The Patriots rank No. 38 nationally in effective FG% (.545), No. 39 in 2pt FG% (.550) and No. 66 in 3pt FG% (.360) this season.
- The Patriots rank No. 34 nationally with 9.8 3pt FG made/game, the most in school history by a sizable margin.
- Mason gets 40.2 percent of its points from 3pt range this season (No. 28 nationally) and 44.2 percent from 2pt range (No. 315 nationally).
- Mason shoots an average of 50 percent from the floor and 40.7 from three in wins this season, and 40 percent overall/30.1 percent from three in losses.
- Junior Josh Oduro ranks second in the A-10 and No. 33 nationally in field goal percentage (.596). He is one of just two players in the country this season to average 17 or more points, shoot 58 percent or better from the floor and tally at least 1.5 blocks per game.
- Mason has picked up two Power 5 road wins (Maryland, Georgia) this season for the first time in school history. The win against the Terps marked the program’s first ever road win over a top-25 foe. With a victory Thursday, it would mark the first time in program annals the Patriots would claim three Power 5 wins in a season.
- Mason is 6-24 all time against current members of the Big Ten conference.
- Mason’s trip to Madison marks the first time the Patriots have played a game in the Badger State. With the addition of America’s Dairyland, the Patriots will have now played in 40 of the 50 states, as well as two U.S. territories (Puerto Rico & Virgin Islands) and the District of Columbia.
- George Mason’s head coach, Kim English, is the third youngest coach in Division 1 at 33.
- Johnny Davis, 6-foot-5, sophomore, guard, No. 1
- 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
- DeVon Cooper, 6-foot-4, super senior, guard, No. 0
- Xavier Johnson, 6-foot-1, junior, guard, No. 2
- Davonte Gaines, 6-foot-7, junior, guard, No. 3
- Josh Oduro, 6-foot-9, junior, forward, No. 13
- D’Shawn Schwartz, 6-foot-7, super senior, guard, No. 15