Bleach: Looking for the Sequel

Wisconsin has been there and done that against a top-ranked Ohio State team this season. Saturday, the Badgers basketball team has a good chance to add another chapter and follow the path of the Badgers football team.

MADISON — Hearken back to October.

For the entire week leading up to Wisconsin football's clash with No. 1 Ohio State, an electricity filled Madison that was contagious with players, coaches and fans alike. ESPN's Game Day was on campus. The game would take place under the lights with a 7 p.m. start. The potential for a historic Wisconsin season hung on the outcome.

From David Gilreath's kickoff return touchdown to the students rushing the field, the night was marked with the indelible air of an unforgettable memory living before your eyes.

Tears, laughter, screaming, prayer, whatever. Emotion was spilt in a way that simply cannot be questioned for authenticity.

"This is the best win I have ever experienced," Fifth-year senior and captain John Moffitt said after the win. "It is really something special. And it took everybody. You could really see that, everybody had a game, everybody stepped up and it doesn't happen a lot. I will never forget this."

And the Badgers have a chance to do it again. Against the exact same opponent.

No. 1 and undefeated Ohio State comes to town Saturday, giving Wisconsin a chance to knock down two No. 1 teams from the same school, in two different sports in the same season.

How ironic that it has only happen once in major sports and it happened in 2007 when Florida did it to who? Ohio State of course.

For a basketball comparison, the game should have the collective spirit of Duke coming to town last season — a contest that ended with Jon Leuer being lifted onto fellow students shoulders, arms and fingers pointed straight out, his mouth split with an unwavering grin.

So what chances does it have of actually happening?

Well, Wisconsin has won 16 straight games at the Kohl Center, and almost by magic it seems, shoots the ball twice as well at home as on the road (See: Michigan State and Iowa splits). And as Jon Leuer said after the ugly win at Iowa: "You can't do worse than that."

More importantly, however, the Badgers are physically best equipped to combat Ohio State of any opponent yet. Ranking as the No. 1 most efficient offense in the nation by points per possession, UW will give the best test to Ohio State's No.7 ranked scoring defense (57.3 ppg) it has seen this season.

Specifically, the combination of Leuer and Keaton Nankivil might provide the best defense for Jared Sullinger ... by making Sullinger work on the defensive end. Assuming the Buckeyes use Dallas Lauderdale to body up Leuer, Sullinger will have to spend his time chasing Nankivil on the perimeter or let the No. 1 three-point shooter in the Big Ten get open looks. For a guy who looks unstoppable in the post, tiring him out on offense could be the best defense.

The alternative of course if the Buckeyes go to a zone, and UW has had plenty of experience (See: Northwestern) carving up zones this year.

But really, perhaps the No. 1 factor that will give UW a chance is the strength of the crowd. With Gilreath scoring off the opening kick in football, UW was able to ride the emotion of the crowd for four quarters.

Against Duke, Leuer was able to match forward Kyle Singler bucket-for-bucket at the start of the game, keeping the crowd screaming on their feet.

Now I know every road game Ohio State goes on they get a sold-out crowd, but really, how many teams have a realistic shot of beating the Buckeyes and keep the crowd in the game for 40 minutes?

By virtue of UW's talent and slowest pace of play in the nation — ensuring no lead ever gets to big — the Kohl Center should be shaking Saturday night.

And the best part of it all is, Ohio State coach Thad Matta already laid a jinx upon his team.

"I have not spoken with coach Tressel this week," Matta said Thursday during a teleconference. "To me, that's like if a frog had wings he wouldn't bump his (butt) all the time...

"It's irrelevant. This is basketball. We're not going to change any of that. It is what it is.

"A frog's not going to get wings."

Tongue firmly in cheek, an enterprising fan may want to write that down on a sign for Saturday — just to remind Matta at the game's conclusion.

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