No. 7 Wisconsin is getting its leading scorer back after 7-footer Frank Kaminsky was cleared to return to practice on Tuesday following a concussion. Kaminsky didn’t play in the Badgers upset loss at Rutgers. Kaminsky took an elbow to the head in the first half of last week’s 62-55 win over Purdue.
While Kaminsky returns, Traevon Jackson is scheduled to have surgery for a right foot injury that will likely sideline the starting point guard for most of the rest of the regular season. Jackson is expected to begin rehab in two or three weeks. Sophomore Bronson Koenig will take over the point for the Badgers.
The Huskers (10-6, 2-2 Big Ten) got back to .500 in Big Ten play with a 53-43 win over Illinois Sunday evening. NU, which was playing its third game in seven days, showed its mettle on the defensive end, holding Illinois to 27.3 percent shooting. That marked the Huskers’ best defensive field goal percent against a conference opponent since 2006.
Combined with the 49 points allowed to Rutgers on Thursday, it was the first time since 1963 that Nebraska held consecutive conference opponents under 50 points. Nebraska has been stout on defense all season, ranking second in the Big Ten in field goal defense (37.7 percent) and have held seven of the last eight opponents under 40 percent shooting.
Offensively, All-America candidate Terran Petteway had 13 of his 18 points in the second half against Illinois, and the junior guard is second in the Big Ten in scoring at 18.9 points per game, while also averaging career highs in rebounding (5.4) and assists (2.8). Junior forward Shavon Shields is fifth in the Big Ten in scoring at 17.1 points per game while topping the Big Red and ranking sixth in the Big Ten with 6.9 rebounds per game.
The Huskers will need big efforts from their all-conference performers Thursday night, as Wisconsin comes into the matchup with a 15-2 record after falling at Rutgers, 67-62 on Sunday.
The Badgers, who are 9-1 at home, rank sixth nationally in scoring defense, allowing 54.1 points per game.