Saturday, January 29, 2022

College basketball rankings: Wisconsin’s Johnny Davis carries Badgers into top 10 after upset of Purdue

College basketball rankings: Wisconsin's Johnny Davis carries Badgers into top 10 after upset of Purdue

Wisconsin made a big jump in the CBS Sports Top 25 And 1 after taking down the Boilermakers

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We at CBS Sports published in October our annual list of the Top 100 And 1 college basketball players, which is more or less a list of the 101 players we expect to make the biggest impact in the sport in the upcoming season. It featured Indiana’s Trayce Jackson-Davis, SMU’s Kendric Davis, and Detroit’s Antoine Davis. But it did not include Wisconsin’s Johnny Davis.

That’s looking like a mistake.

Davis’ latest great performance — and his greatest to date by far — came Monday night, when he led Wisconsin to a 74-69 victory at Purdue. The sophomore guard took 24 shots, made 13 of them and finished with a career-high 37 points and a career-high 14 rebounds in a massive road win over a team that was ranked No. 1 in the Associated Press Top 25 poll just four weeks ago.

“I just went out and played my game,” Davis told reporters afterward. “My teammates did a really good job getting me the ball in the right spots.”

There are lots of things that make college basketball interesting — the rivalries, the incredible on-campus environments, so on and so forth. But one of my favorite things is how, just about every season, there’s a returning player who breaks out in a way literally nobody saw coming.

Davis is that guy this season.

The 6-foot-5 guard was ranked 164th in the Class of 2020, according to 247Sports, before averaging a modest 7.0 points and 4.1 rebounds in 24.3 minutes per game last season as a freshman. There was no obvious reason to think he was about to become a legitimate national player of the year candidate — but that’s precisely what he’s become. Davis is now averaging 22.3 points and 7.3 rebounds in 34.6 minutes per game. He’s the main reason the Badgers are off to an 11-2 start featuring wins over Purdue, Houston, Indiana, Saint Mary’s and Texas A&M — and, it should be noted, that one of Wisconsin’s two losses, last month’s loss to Providence, came while Davis was sidelined. So the Badgers have only lost once this season with their best player in the lineup.

Thanks to Monday night’s big win, Wisconsin is up to No. 10 in Tuesday morning’s updated CBS Sports Top 25 And 1 daily college basketball rankings. That jump, combined with Purdue dropping to No. 11 after another uneven performance, caused Houston, Texas Tech, Arizona, Ohio State, Tennessee, Providence, Texas, Colorado State, Villanova, Xavier, Seton Hall, Kentucky, Alabama and LSU to drop one spot each, no fault of their own.

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 Top 25 And 1 rankings

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