Wisconsin is rolling, winning three-straight, heading into the start of March, fighting for the top spot in the Big Ten trailing Indiana by a game.
A big part of that success has been the play of senior forward Ryan Evans, who left practice Thursday with a right knee injury. Evan has now been ruled questionable for Sunday’s game against Purdue, according to multiple reports. Sunday’s game also happens to be Senior Night.
Sam Dekker, who will likely replace Evans in the starting lineup if the 6-foo-6 senior is unavailable, believes Evan’s wont’ miss a chance to be on the floor for his final game at the Kohl Center.
“Ryan is a competitor,” Dekker told reporters on Friday. “He is going to be out there. It is senior night. I don’t have any doubt that he is going to be out there playing.
“He is the type of guy who is not going to miss games. He takes a lot of pride in his play.”
Evans is averaging 10.5 points — third on the team — and a team high 7.6 rebounds per game. Wisconsin and Michigan State are in a tie for second-place in conference standings with three games to play. The Badgers lost, at home, to the Spartans on Jan. 22, but get a chance to earn a critical late-season win against MSU on Mar. 7 in East Lansing.
The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported that Evans would not participate in Friday’s practice.
Terrence is also the lead writer at NEHoopNews.com and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne
Nic Moore scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half and added 11 assists as No. 16 SMU knocked off Gonzaga in Moody Coliseum on Saturday night, 69-60.
The Zags got 20 points and 16 boards from Domantas Sabonis, but Kyle Wiltjer scored just four points and shot 2-for-17 from the floor.
It wasn’t pretty.
And it may have been the end of Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament hopes.
Entering Saturday, the Zags had an RPI in the mid-60s, enough to keep them in the bubble conversation but not enough to make them anything more than a team that will be projected to end up on the cut-line.
The issue is a complete lack of quality wins on their résumé. Gonzaga beat UConn in the Bahamas. That’s a borderline top 50 win. They beat Washington, another borderline top 50 win. Beyond that? They swept Pepperdine, beat Tennessee and own a win over Montana. None of those are top 100 wins, and that’s why the SMU game was such a big deal. The Mustangs are a top 25 team. This was a road game. This win was the kind of thing that the Zags could pin at the top of their profile.
But Wiltjer didn’t show up, the Zags had no answer for Moore and they’ll head back to Spokane needing, in all likelihood, to win the WCC’s automatic bid if they want to dance.
Cal picked up a big win over Oregon State in Haas Pavilion on Saturday night, and the exclamation point was this emphatic dunk from Jaylen Brown: