Tuesday’s Things To Know: Brad Davison’s legend grows, Isaiah Moss gets hot for Kansas, Villanova has DePaul’s number
Here’s everything else you need to know from around the country:
1. Brad Davison gets a little more unlikeable in the Big Ten
Every league has a guy that everyone just seems to despise. Everyone except his own team, of course. A player that just drives fans of opposing conference teams insane. Usually, he’s not the best player on a team, but certainly a very good one that impacts winning in annoyingly effective ways. Typically, he’s an upperclassmen, with familiarity breeding contempt. Maybe the best-known of these guys recently on a national level is Grayson Allen. Excellent player, loved by Duke and absolutely loathed by just about anyone else.
Wisconsin’s Brad Davison is absolutely one of those dudes, and he showed exactly why in helping the Badgers knock off No. 17 Maryland in Madison, 56-54.
It started with an absolutely God-awful offensive possession by the Badgers generally and Davison, specifically. Davison put the possession, with Wisconsin down one with under 20 seconds to play, in serious jeopardy when he picked up his dribble on the perimeter without a plan. A couple passes later, he got it back and had to heave an airball that resulted in a shot clock violation and putting Wisconsin in serious trouble.
That’s when Davison stepped in with a helluva couple plays that are sure to make him reviled in College Park, joining campuses across the conference in that club.
Maryland’s Darryl Morsell struggled to inbound the ball after the shot clock violation, and tried to put his pass in a small window. It got deflected back toward the baseline, where it hung up and Morsell stood watching. Davison came flying in and battled the ball at Morsell, who was, of course, standing out of bounds.
Wisconsin then inbounded the ball into the short corner to Davison, who promptly drilled an off-balanced 3-pointer to put the Badgers up two. Maryland couldn’t score on the ensuing possession, and certainly will be boarding the plane make east tonight muttering about how maddening Brad Davison is.
Davison takes a lot of heat for his, um, talent (?) for drawing charges, but the same basketball IQ, grittiness, and ruthlessness that it takes to draw all those offensive fouls are also what it takes to put together two back-to-back plays like this. The rest of the Big Ten might curse him, but they’d sure like to have him on their teams.
2. Kansas gets big contribution from Isaiah Moss
If you’re going to criticize Kansas and start finding reasons why the Jayhawks might not win the Big 12 or get to a Final Four, you could do worse than starting at their 3-point shooting. The Jayhawks shoot a good-but-not-great 36.1 percent from deep while only taking 32.7 percent of their shots from distance, which is 280th in the country.
Isaiah Moss looked like a real answer to that issue.
The Iowa transfer made 6 of 11 from distance to help the Jayhawks keep Oklahoma at bay, 66-52, in Norman and bounce back from Saturday’s home loss to No. 2 Baylor.
The Jayhawks were without Devon Dotson, who is ailing with a hip injury that Kansas is calling a hip pointer and a deep bruise. That made Moss’ emergence even more important.
Kansas has just three players that have attempted at least 50 3-pointers in Dotson (29.8 percent), Ochai Agbaji (38.6 percent) and Moss, who was shooting 33.9 percent before his outburst against the Sooners. Moss shot 42.1 percent from 3-point range as a junior in Iowa City, and came to Lawrence with the hope he could provide the boost that his shooting could provide - both on the scoreboard and from a spacing perspective with Udoka Azubuike needing all the relief he can get from double- and triple-teams.
Moss, who has been hampered by injury, hasn’t been fully able to do that for the Jayhawks, but if this performance is a sign of things to come and not a flash in the pan - and Moss’ historical numbers suggest this is something he’s capable of - than it could go a long way in making what is already a dynamic Kansas offense even better.
3. DePaul’s tumble continues
Think back to late November and early December, when DePaul was beating Iowa, Minnesota and Texas Tech. Could the Blue Demons, in Year 5 in the return of coach Dave Leitao, be on track for a return to the NCAA tournament? It sure looked like it.
Now, not quite as much.
DePaul lost its fourth-straight game to start Big East play with a 79-75 overtime loss to Villanova on the road. It was the Blue Demons’ 19th-straight loss to the Wildcats.
DePaul’s hot start to the season now seems awfully long ago with its offense seriously faltering and a defense that’s not much better. Those NCAA tournament dreams now seem to be fading fast.