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.
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Illinois suffered another blow in what has already turned out to be a brutal season.
Mike Thorne is expected to miss the rest of the season after tearing his meniscus. He reportedly underwent surgery on Monday to repair the injury.
Thorne, a transfer from Charlotte, was starting at center for the Illini and doing a good job of it as well. He was averaging 13.4 points and 8.4 boards, although Illinois has started off the season 3-4.
The reason for that slow start has mainly been those injuries. Tracy Abrams is already out for the season after tearing his achilles, and the Illini training room looked like a M.A.S.H. unit. Kendrick Nunn just returned two games ago from surgery to repair a torn thumb ligament. LeRon Black is still getting back to speed after offseason knee surgery. Jaylon Tate is back after dislocating a finger. Jalen Coleman-Lands was slowed by a stress fracture.
John Groce entered this season on the hot seat, and dealing with all of these injuries certainly isn’t helping his cause.
We talk about a lot of stuff of the podcast today, mainly because a lot of stuff happened since we last spoke with you all.
For starters, we need to discuss the ‘realness’ of Syracuse and Xavier. Are they both truly top 15 teams, or do they just have top 15 resumes? We also dive into Chris Mack’s epic troll-job of Dayton at the Advocare Invitational final.
Other topics we touched on: Whether or not Scott is ever going to apologize to Wayne Selden, Wichita State’s tournament hopes, Texas A&M and whether we’d take Ben Simmons, Kris Dunn or Denzel Valentine today.
As always, you can subscribe to the podcast in iTunes right here. It’s the quickest way to get access on your cell phone or tablet.