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Tale of the Tape: Johnny Davis vs. Keegan Murray

The top two scorers in the whole damn country are set to face off at the Kohl Center on Thursday night.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: FEB 18 Iowa at Wisconsin Photo by Lawrence Iles/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

On Thursday night, those of you lucky enough to have tickets to men’s basketball game at the Kohl Center are in for a real treat. The top-two leading scorers in the whole damn country are facing off with Iowa’s Keegan Murray taking the court against Wisconsin’s Johnny Davis.

NCAA Basketball: Wisconsin at Purdue Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

These guys have both been otherworldly so far this season and, as of Wednesday afternoon, sit at No. 4 (Murray) and No. 5 (Davis) in KenPom’s National Player of the Year ratings. What’s really funny (scary?) is that two of the three players in front of them in those rankings also play in the Big Ten. Ohio State’s E.J. Liddell is first and Illinois’ Kofi Cockburn is third. Sheesh.

But this isn’t about them!

Before we get any further into this tale of the tape, we should probably look at some stats, right? Here are the counting stats for both Murray and Davis.

Traditional Stat Comparison

Cateogry Johnny Davis Keegan Murray
Cateogry Johnny Davis Keegan Murray
PPG 22.3 24.5
RPG 7.3 8.2
APG 2.5 1.4
SPG 1.5 1.5
BPG 0.8 2.1
FG% 87-of-193 (45.1%) 122-of-206 (59.2%)
3P% 16-of-46 (34.8%) 21-of-59 (35.6%)
FT% 55-of-67 (82.1%) 54-of-66 (81.8%)

I’ll be honest with you guys, I went into this exercise thinking that these stats would be closer than they were. We have rightfully been gassing Davis up as one of the best players in the country, but, statistically, he’s only going to be second best player on the court Thursday night.

Murray has absolutely INSANE numbers. The man can score from all over the court and is wildly efficient. He also has an advantage over Davis because he stands three inches taller than him at 6-foot-8. According to Torvik, Murray has taken 123 shots “at the rim.” He has made 89 of them which comes out to shooting 72.4%!

Good God.

And it’s not like Davis is poor from that area! Davis is shooting 60.7% at the rim, albeit on half the attempts of Murray. Davis just takes a lot more mid-range shots than Murray, who subsists on a diet of mostly threes and layups.

Advanced Stat Comparison

Category Johnny Davis Keegan Murray
Category Johnny Davis Keegan Murray
ORtg 110.4 136.4
%Possesions 32.9 29.7
%Shots 34.2 33.8
eFG% 49.2 64.3
TS% 54.5 67.2
OR% 4.5 11.7
ARate 19.6 10.6
TORate 10.6 7
Blk% 2.6 7.8
Stl% 2.7 3
FD/40 6.2 5.7
FTRate 34.7 32

When you look at the advanced stats, it’s more of the same. Murray just has better numbers. He also requires fewer possessions and shots to get his stats than Davis does, which may speak to the quality of Iowa’s supporting cast compared to Wisconsin’s. The one area at which Davis is better than Murray is play-making.

Davis has a much higher assist rate and averages over one more assist per game than Murray does. That is, quite frankly, to be expected since Davis will have the ball in his hands more on the wings looking to create for others while Murray tends to be on the perimeter only to shoot (according to Torvik, 100% of Murray’s three pointers have been assisted).

It’ll be interesting to see how often Davis is matched up with Murray on defense. The Hawkeyes have three players that are either 6-foot-8 or 6-foot-9 in their assumed starting lineup so, with Tyler Wahl guarding one and Steven Crowl guarding another, it’ll be up to Davis to check either Murray or Patrick McCaffery. Davis is a dogged defender, but playing against Murray all game is a tall task for anyone, especially someone Wisconsin is counting out to lead the offense.

This game should be “can’t miss TV” for basketball fans all over the country and I, for one, can’t wait.