Preview: No.10 Wisconsin at No.1 Ohio State

Although the conference title is out of reach, No.10 Wisconsin has a chance to knock off No.1 Ohio State for a second time this season, when the Badgers head to Columbus with the hope of wrecking the Buckeyes' senior day.

No.10 Wisconsin (23-6, 12-5 Big Ten) vs. No.1 Ohio State (28-2, 15-2 Big Ten)

Date/Time - Sunday, March 6, at 3 p.m. Central

Arena – Value City Center (18,809)

Television - CBS (Gus Johnson and Dan Bonner)

Radio - Wisconsin Radio Network (Matt Lepay and Mike Lucas), Sirius 122, XM 143

Series – Ohio State leads 81-65 (OSU leads 51-21 in Columbus)

Last Meeting - Wisconsin won, 71-67, on Feb. 12, 2011 in Madison

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, 17.1 ppg)

23 David Lighty (Senior Guard, 12.3 ppg)

33 Jon Diebler (Senior Forward, 11.8 ppg)

44 William Buford (Junior Guard, 14.3 ppg)

52 Dallas Lauderdale (Senior Center, 4.5 ppg)

Off the Bench

1 Deshaun Thomas (Freshman Forward 8.1 ppg)

4 Aaron Craft (Freshman Guard, 7.1 ppg)

Last Time Out

Jordan Taylor saw everything slipping away. Three of his Wisconsin teammates were on the bench with three fouls, and Indiana was charging back from an eight-point deficit.

So he took over.

Taylor scored a career-high 39 points and almost single-handedly stopped Indiana's second-half charge, leading No. 10 Wisconsin to a 77-67 victory on Thursday night.

The junior guard accounted for all the Badgers' points in a decisive 14-4 run that turned a 46-45 lead into a 60-49 advantage midway through the second half.

''When the game started getting close, he just wasn't going to let us lose or get behind,'' Keaton Nankivil said.

Not a chance.

Taylor, who scored 30 earlier this season against Michigan State and keyed Wisconsin's rally against then-undefeated Ohio State, got the best of Indiana, too.

He went 11 for 19 from the field, including a 7 for 8 night from three-point range, and made all 10 of his free-throw attempts. He fell one point shy of the Assembly Hall record for an opposing player, set by Michigan State's Terry Furlow in 1976 and matched when the Spartans' Shawn Respert scored 40 in 1995.

Yet, Taylor still thought he could improve.

''I made some mistakes out there, too,'' he said, pointing to his lone turnover in 39 minutes.

The Badgers (23-6, 13-4 Big Ten) now have won eight straight against Indiana, their longest winning streak in the series since an 11-game run from 1912-19. They will carry a four-game stretch into Sunday's rematch at No. 1 Ohio State.

Indiana, meanwhile, is reeling. Verdell Jones scored 18 points and Jordan Hulls had 15, but the Hoosiers have lost seven straight overall, four in a row at home and dropped a Senior Night game for the second time in four years.

The difference Thursday was one player.

Last Meeting

As students rushed the Kohl Center court Saturday in a dizzying display of déjà vu, they managed to do what no Ohio State defender could handle: Taylor was finally stopped.

The Wisconsin point guard finished the game with a surreal stat line, putting up 27 points — on a crazy efficient 13 total shots — to go along with seven assists against one turnover as the Badgers handed No. 1 Ohio State its first loss of the season, 71-67.

But the point and assist totals provide just a shallow glimpse of the virtuoso performance Taylor put on.

With Wisconsin (19-5, 9-3 Big Ten) trailing by 15 with 13 minutes left, and the crowd just begging for a reason to get back in the game, Taylor drilled three jumpers (two threes) on consecutive possessions to raise the noise level to deafening and trim the lead to seven.

After Ohio State (24-1, 11-1) called a timeout to slow Taylor's roll, the junior point guard conducted Wisconsin's first and last fast break of the day, finding Bruesewitz under the basket to force a Buckeyes foul. Bruesewitz knocked down both the free throws, before Taylor scored on another runner and assisted on a Gasser 3-pointer on the next two possessions.

All told, and Taylor conducted a 15-point come back in three and a half minutes of game clock.

"I would like to be able to explain that, but it is hard, even for me and I see him every day," UW head coach Bo Ryan said. "Just good decision after good decision."

UW went 12-of-24 from 3-point range, while Ohio State made just 3-of-9. Josh Gasser continued his second-half of the season resurgence with 11 points on 3-of-3 shooting from beyond the arc. Bruesewitz chipped in 12 points as well, going 2-for-2 from three and 4 of 5 on the day.

Series Notes:

UW is 13-6 against OSU under Ryan and his teams are 4-3 at Value City Arena.

Ryan (120-47, .719) and Thad Matta (84-35, .706) own the top two all-time winning percentages in Big Ten play.

Taylor has 17 assists and just 2 turnovers in 5 career games vs. Ohio State. He scored 21 of game-high 27 points in 2nd half to lead UW's comeback win in season's ?rst meeting. In four career games vs. OSU, Leuer is averaging 10.8 ppg, 3.8 rpg and 2.8 apg.

UW is 2-18 all-time vs. the AP No. 1.

Ohio State Notes:

Ohio State clinched at least a share of its fourth Big Ten title in the last six years under the direction of Thad Matta. The Buckeyes have 19 Big Ten titles in history with 12 of those being outright titles. Ohio State has a chance to win the 2011 title outright with a win Sunday vs. Wisconsin.

Ohio State is 19-0 at home after its most recent win vs. Indiana Sunday. The win total sets the school record for home wins and ties the 2006-07 squad's Value City Arena record of 18 wins in a season. Ohio State was 17-1 a season ago and is currently on a 21-game home win streak, the fourth-longest home win streak in school history.

Eight Ohio State student-athletes and managers will be working and playing in their final home game today. Senior managers Chris Barrale, Bryce Crawford, Mike Flowers and Gage Will along with senior Buckeyes Eddie Days, Dallas Lauderdale, Jon Diebler and David Lighty take the home court for the final time.

Senior Jon Diebler scored a career-high 30 points on a career-high 10 made 3-point attempts at Penn State Tuesday. The Big Ten's all-time leader in 3-pointers made (348) set the Ohio State record for made 3s in a game and tied the Big Ten single-game record as well.

Ohio State is 4-2 against ranked teams this season and 30-35 overall under Thad Matta.

Wisconsin Notes:

UW is trying to become the 9th team to post two wins over the AP No. 1 team in the same year and the 1st since PITT defeated No. 1 UConn twice in 2008-09. The Badgers beat No. 1 Ohio State, 71-67, on Feb. 12 at the Kohl Center, its ?rst over the AP No. 1 team since an 86-67 win over Ohio State on March 3, 1962.

The Badgers are looking to become just the second Big Ten team in history to win a true road game against a No. 1-ranked opponent. Ohio State defeated No. 1 Iowa, 80-76, on Jan. 24, 1987 in Iowa City.

With this season's win over No. 1 Ohio State, Bo Ryan teams are 1-5 against the nation's top team. Overall, Ryan's teams are 35-38 against AP Top-25 teams, including 4-2 this season.

Wisconsin's last road win over a top-10 team was a 67-66 win at No. 7 Texas on Dec. 29, 2007. The Badgers' last road win over a top-10 Big Ten team was a 72-71 win at No. 4 Ohio St. on Jan. 26, 1980.

Prediction

Asked about Jared Sullinger's alleged spitting incident, Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan said the Kohl Center has cameras that record everything that goes on inside the arena and had found no evidence of any fans spitting on Sullinger.

"All I know is, we won the game," Ryan said. "Deal with it."

Anybody that knows Ryan knew the UW coach meant that he was moving on to the next game (Purdue) and he wasn't going to worry about something that supposedly happened when there's been no proof that it did. The Buckeyes fans, who aren't equated with Bo, have felt the need to make a mountain out of a mole hill.

In what might the classic example of overkill, the Ohio State student section – who have been strategically moved behind the Wisconsin bench Sunday – will wave 1,400 specialty towels with the words ‘Deal With it' printed on it. Seriously? How stupid. Much like fans wrapped up with J.P. Tokoto's commitment to another program, it's time to move on.

Ohio State ranks first in the Big Ten in scoring offense (77.4 ppg), scoring margin (17.8 points), turnover margin (plus 5.50), field goal percentage (.495), steals (7.7 spg) and 3-point percentage (.405) and second in the conference in rebounding margin (plus 4.4), rebounding defense (29.7) and scoring defense (59.6 ppg). After 30 games, Ohio State has four players, all starters, averaging double-figures offensively.

This could be an exciting basketball game – if Jordan Taylor delivers another standout performance – or a second-half dud, seeing as the Badgers haven't quite wowed people on the road this year. Wisconsin perhaps caught a minor break with Purdue losing at Iowa yesterday, giving the Buckeyes the outright Big Ten title and nothing really to play for. That way, if the Buckeyes win, there is no reason for them to storm the court and the UW staff to quickly hand out ponchos.

Even if Taylor plays to his player of the year caliber, this will be a tough task. Hoping for the best, but I think the Badgers fall by 10.

Worgull's Record: 27-2

Points off Prediction: 181 (6.24 per game)


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