The hype around Johnny Davis keeps growing and the La Crosse native might need another spectacular game Friday if the the University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team is going to continue its win streak.
The Badgers are riding high, having won seven consecutive games, but their opponent could be looking to take out some aggression.
Michigan State (14-3), ranked 14th in the country, heads into the 8 p.m. game at the Kohl Center, coming off a 64-62 home loss to Northwestern (9-6).
Before that, the Spartans had won nine consecutive games, though only one of their wins this season is to a ranked team — 64-60 to No. 22 UConn on Nov. 25. The Huskies (13-5) are now ranked 25th. Their other two losses have come to No. 6 Baylor (75-58) and No. 3 Kansas (87-74) to start the season.
Meanwhile, Davis is getting buzz to win the Naismith Trophy for men’s player of the year, coming off a 27-point, eight-rebound effort Tuesday in a win over Northwestern. Two weeks prior, the 6-foot-5 guard put on a 37-point performance in beating No. 3 Purdue. And, the sophomore’s whole campaign seriously debuted when he dropped 30 to earn the Maui Tournament MVP in a win against 12th-ranked Houston.
This isn’t just about Davis anymore, however. The eighth-ranked Badgers (15-2), have proved, now, they can win without Davis’ best, as they showed last week in a 78-68 home win against No. 16 Ohio State. Davis had 14 points, shooting 4 of 18 from the field, along with four turnovers.
The game before that, Wisconsin also edged Maryland on the road 70-69 with Davis going 7-for-19, including 1 of 7 from deep in scoring 19.
Wisconsin is 2-7 against Michigan State in the past five years — though three of those losses came in 2017-2018 when the Spartans finished the regular season No. 2 in the country.
The Badgers beat Michigan State last season and the teams split in 2019-2020.