Johnny Davis started the 2021-22 basketball season with a bang. Through the first 13 games of the season, Davis averaged 22.3 points, 7.4 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 1.4 steals per game. During his impressive start, Davis shot 45% from the floor.
He was receiving praise from all over college basketball. He was being named a future All-American, All-Big Ten player, and a front-runner for the Naismith Player of the Year award. All of the recognition and accolades were well-earned.
But then, teams started to do everything in their power to stop Davis. They’d apply a ton of pressure to him, run a second defender to him and make his life very hard. In the next seven games, Davis just couldn’t seem to get comfortable. He was forcing a lot of shots that he wouldn’t take in the first part of the year. He was in a bit of a mid-season slump.
During that seven-game stretch, Davis was averaging 17.3 points, 10.0 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 1.0 steals per game. During that stretch, he shot just 35%, down 10% from previous in the season.
Luckily for Davis, the rest of the Wisconsin basketball team stepped up just enough to keep the Badgers winning games. In their win over Penn State, Davis scored just four points on 2-of-13 shooting. During his shoot slump, the Badgers went 5-2 with losses to Michigan State at home and Illinois on the road.
The Badgers had a chance to avenge their loss to Michigan State on Tuesday night when they traveled to East Lansing, a place the Badgers struggle to get a win. This game was going to be huge for the Badgers going forward. A win would keep them near the top of the conference a chance to be tied for first by the end of the night if Purdue beat Illinois.
If they were going to pull off the upset, they were going to have to get Johnny Davis going again.
Luckily for the Badgers, that is exactly what happened. Davis was back to his old self at the Breslin Center. He looked a lot more comfortable on the floor. He scored 25 points while going 8-of-11 from the floor, a stellar 73%. He went 2-of-4 from three and went 7-of-8 at the free throw line. 15 of his final 18 second-half points came in the final 10:22 of the game. He was the steady hand for the offense. That’s the Johnny Davis Wisconsin basketball fans knew from earlier in the season.
With his big performance, the Badgers improved to 19-4 on the season and are now tied at top of the conference with Illinois and Purdue after the Boilermakers knocked off the Illini at home last night. With just seven games left in the regular season, the Badgers are very much in the running for the conference championship.
Of course, if they are going to win it, they are going to need Johnny Davis to keep playing as he did Tuesday night. But after a performance like that, I think Davis has all of the confidence in the world.