Badgers' Johnny Davis expects to play this week despite 'dirty' hit

“The plan is to see how tomorrow goes and Friday goes, but the plan is to play and be there for my team,” the Big Ten player of the year said Wednesday.

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The 12th-ranked Badgers (24-6, 15-5 Big Ten) are the No. 2 seed in the tournament that started Wednesday in Indianapolis. They will face either No. 7 seed Michigan State (20-11, 11-9) or 10th-seeded Maryland (15-16, 7-13) on Friday in the quarterfinals.

Davis was stumbling as he drove into the lane early in the second half of a 74-73 loss to Nebraska (10-21, 4-16) on Sunday. Davis regained his footing as he arrived at the basket, but the right arm of Nebraska’s Trey McGowens hit him in the face, causing the 6-foot-5 guard to fall awkwardly and hurt an ankle.

McGowens received a flagrant-2 foul that resulted in an automatic ejection.

Wisconsin's Johnny Davis (1) is helped by teammates Tyler Wahl (5), Chris Vogt and Brad Davison, right, after Davis was found by Nebraska in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Sunday, March 6, 2022, in Madison, Wis. Nebraska's Trey McGowens was charged with a flagrant foul on the play. Nebraska won 74-73.

Wisconsin’s Johnny Davis (1) is helped by teammates Tyler Wahl (5), Chris Vogt and Brad Davison, right, after Davis was found by Nebraska in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Sunday, March 6, 2022, in Madison, Wis. Nebraska’s Trey McGowens was charged with a flagrant foul on the play. Nebraska won 74-73. (AP Photo/Andy Manis)

“At first I thought I tripped on my own feet,” Davis said. “Now I see McGowens came behind me and clipped my heel. I don’t know if that was intentional or not, but bringing the elbow down (on his face), that was a very dirty and uncalled-for play. When you play a team that’s got nothing to lose like that, that stuff tends to happen.

“I’m fine from it. It’s in the past. But like I said, it’s very uncalled for. There’s no need for that in the sport of basketball.”

After the game, Nebraska coach Fred Hoiberg said he hadn’t yet watched a replay of the play that knocked out Davis but added that “I can tell you this about Trey McGowens, he’s one of the greatest kids I’ve ever been around.”

Wisconsin coach Greg Gard said Wednesday that Davis has practiced on a limited basis this week.

“Knowing him, I think we know how competitive he is,” Gard said. “We’re optimistic he’ll be ready to go by Friday.”

Davis is averaging 20 points and 8.1 rebounds. The sophomore is regarded as a likely lottery pick if he chooses to turn pro after this season.

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