Preview: No.1 Ohio State at No.13 Wisconsin

After surviving its gut check at Iowa City Wednesday, No.13 Wisconsin looks to knock off a top-ranked Ohio State team for the first time since 1962 Saturday.

No.1 Ohio State (24-0, 11-0 Big Ten) vs. No.13 Wisconsin (18-5, 8-3 Big Ten)

Date/Time - Saturday, February 12, at 1 p.m. Central

Arena – Kohl Center (17,230)

Television - ESPN (Dave O'Brien, Dick Vitale & Jill Montgomery)

National Radio - Compass Media Networks (Matt Smith & Tim Hardaway)

Radio - Wisconsin Radio Network (Matt Lepay and Mike Lucas)

Series – Ohio State leads 81-64 (UW leads 42-28 in Madison)

Last Meeting - Wisconsin loss, 60-51, on Jan. 16, 2010 in Columbus

Wisconsin Probable Starters

11 Jordan Taylor (Junior Guard, 17.7 ppg)

21 Josh Gasser (Freshman Guard, 5.3 ppg)

24 Tim Jarmusz (Senior Forward, 4.2 ppg)

30 Jon Leuer (Senior Forward, 19.4 ppg)

52 Keaton Nankivil (Senior Forward, 9.6 ppg)

Off the Bench

2 Wquinton Smith (Senior Guard, 0.5 ppg)

5 Ryan Evans (Sophomore Forward, 3.0 ppg)

15 Brett Valentyn (Senior Guard, 1.5 ppg)

31 Mike Bruesewitz (Sophomore Forward, 4.4 ppg)

40 Jared Berggren (Sophomore Forward, 2.9 ppg)

Ohio State Probable Starters

0 Jared Sullinger (Freshman Forward, 18.0 ppg)

23 David Lighty (Senior Guard, 12.5 ppg)

33 Jon Diebler (Senior Forward, 11.2 ppg)

44 William Buford (Junior Guard, 13.6 ppg)

52 Dallas Lauderdale (Senior Center, 4.7 ppg)

Off the Bench

1 Deshaun Thomas (Freshman Forward 8.8 ppg)

4 Aaron Craft (Freshman Guard, 6.8 ppg)

Last Time Out

Sometimes, stealing one in crunch time is better than blowing one team out of the water, a bit of relief the Badgers experienced against a young, yet scrappy Iowa squad that UW scraped past with a 62-59 overtime victory Wednesday night.

It was a gut check for all 45 minutes for Wisconsin (18-5, 8-3 Big Ten), which experienced the whole spectrum of emotions. UW went from being unable to throw a basketball into the ocean to taking control to seeing a game-winning shot from Iowa touch three-quarters of the rim before trickling to the court at the end of regulation.

While it wasn't as pretty as dominate 30-point performance Sunday, the Badgers would be in a different place without Taylor's grinding effort. The junior guard's 6-for-18 points wasn't aesthetically pleasing, but the timeliness in his 16-point production was crucial.

"He's not Superman, he can't do everything but sometimes, you think he is," Leuer said

With Wisconsin down 53-51 late in regulation, Taylor hit a pull-up jumper at the top of the key with 29 seconds left, and then contesting Bryce Cartwright's step-back jump shot, having enough of an impact to see it teeter off the rim with one second remaining in regulation.

The last time Taylor stepped foot in Iowa City, the then-freshman hit a three from near midcourt that sent the game to overtime, only to see his team run out of steam in the extra session. This time, Taylor had enough in the tank to help UW commit only two turnovers in the final 25 minutes while he dished out eight assists.

Last Meeting

Junior guard David Lighty picked up the slack with Evan Turner on the bench with foul trouble, scoring 12 of his team-high 18 points in the first half to help Ohio State not only tread water, but pull away from No.13 Wisconsin in a 60-51 victory Saturday night in front of 18,402 at Value City Arena.

The look on the faces of the Badgers (14-4, 4-2 Big Ten) as they slowly jogged to the locker room said it all. They looked like a team that got only two points from their front court, watched the Buckeyes (13-5, 3-3) shoot 59.1 percent (13-of-22) with Turner spending most of it as a spectator and registered one assist to nine turnovers.

"I felt like we were fighting an uphill battle right out of the gate," said Nankivil (nine points). "It's hard to do that, especially on the road. It's never fun to play a game when you never feel like you have full control of any of it."

After committing only five turnovers in its Wednesday win over Northwestern, the Badgers finished with a 7-to-14 assist to turnover ratio, leading to 11 Ohio State points.

Wisconsin took its biggest lead as soon as Turner headed to the bench, getting a driving lay-up from Taylor to make it 12-9. Wisconsin continued to stick with the Buckeyes late into the first half, trailing 23-20 with five minutes left, but could not account for Lighty. After shooting just 2-of-7 in the team's first meeting, Lighty scored nine points in the final 4:09 of the first half that give Ohio State the lift it needed with Turner on the bench.

Series Notes:

UW has won eight straight games vs. the Buckeyes in Madison and Ohio State has never beaten a Bo Ryan-coached team at the Kohl Center. Overall, UW is 12-6 against OSU under Ryan.

Bo Ryan (114-46, .714) and Thad Matta (80-33, .708) own the top two all-time winning percentages in Big Ten play.

Former Badger coach John Erickson (1960-68) will be in attendance and recognized during Saturday's game. Erickson was the head coach at Wisconsin when the Badgers defeated the No. 1 Ohio State in 1962.

As a ranked team, Ohio State is 19-9 in games vs. Wisconsin, including wins in two of the last three meetings as a ranked team. Ohio State's No. 1 ranking heading into the game Saturday is its highest vs. Wisconsin since March 11, 2007 when top-ranked Ohio State defeated the Badgers 66-49 at the Big Ten Tournament in Chicago. Wisconsin was ranked No. 3 in that game. When both teams are ranked in the series, Ohio State has a 4-1 record.

Ohio State Notes:

Since taking over the Ohio State program for the start of the 2004-05 season, Thad Matta has the Big Ten's best overall record with a winning percentage of nearly 77 percent. He also has directed the Buckeyes to the most regular-season conference wins with 80 (tied with Wisconsin).

The Buckeyes sit atop the rankings in college basketball for the second time under Matta, who directed the Buckeyes to a 35-4 record in 2006-07, a No. 1 ranking and a spot in the national title game. The Buckeyes are 65-4 when No. 1 in the AP Poll and 17-2 atop the coaches poll.

Diebler's career total of 328 made 3s and single season mark of 116 a year ago are Ohio State records. He has increased his shooting percentage during each of his three years at Ohio State from 29 percent as a freshman to 41.6 percent as a sophomore and 42 percent a season ago. He is currently shooting 48 percent from long range (68-142) and is at 40 percent for his career (328-815).

Wisconsin Notes:

UW's only win over the AP No. 1 team was a 86-67 win over Ohio State on March 3, 1962. The last time UW faced the nation's No. 1 team was a 66-49 loss to Ohio State at the Big Ten Tournament on March 11, 2007. UW is 1-18 all-time vs. the AP No. 1.

Bo Ryan's teams have hosted the No. 1 team at the Kohl Center just once in his 10 seasons, a 75-65 loss to Illinois on Jan. 25, 2005. Saturday's game will mark just the sixth time Wisconsin has had a home game against a No. 1 team. UW is 1-4 in the first five meetings.

Under Bo Ryan, UW is 24-7 against ranked teams at the Kohl Center, including 9 straight wins.

Prediction

On the heels of three straight wins, the Badgers now own the NCAA most-ef?cient offense, averaging 1.19 points per possession. That ?gure is tied with Ohio State, Pittsburgh and St. Mary's atop the NCAA.

According to Ken Pomeroy, the Badgers own three of the top ?ve performances this season in terms of ef?ciency (1.52 points per possession vs. Prairie View A&M, 1.55 ppp at Northwestern and 1.51 ppp vs. Michigan State). Don't expect those high figures against a team like the Buckeyes.

Ohio State is good, very good, especially freshman Jared Sullinger. According to UW associate head coach Greg Gard, teams have tried double teaming up, play him different ways, trap him from different angles and give him different looks. He's beaten them all thus far.

Still, Sullinger hasn't faced a defense quite like Wisconsin's. Excluding overtime games, Wisconsin hasn't allowed an opponent to score 70 or more points on its home floor in over two years. That covers a span of 37 games, which is tied for the longest active streak in the nation with, who else, Ohio State.

If that doesn't give UW some confidence, the fact that UW's top two players have had prior success against the Buckeyes should. Taylor has 10 assists and just 1 turnover in four career games vs. Ohio State and Leuer is averaging 10.3 points, 3.0 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game in three career games vs. the Buckeyes.

Ohio State has crept by on the road before – winning four road games in January by a combined 15 points – and many talking heads believe if the Buckeyes are going to lose in the regular season, this will be the game. I am one of those people, as a jacked-up crowd, a national audience and a team that plays so well at home will be all new things that will make it tough for Ohio State to combat.

The Badgers pull the upset, winning against the Buckeyes by a 3-point field goal.

Worgull's Record: 22-1

Points off Prediction: 159 (6.9 per game)


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