Preview: Penn State vs. No.13 Wisconsin

After seeing its opponent go through a physical challenge Thursday night, No.13 Wisconsin hopes to use its first round bye to its advantage when it faces NCAA Tournament bubble team Penn State in the night cap of the Big Ten Tournament Quarterfinals tonight.

Penn State (17-13, 9-9 Big Ten) vs. No.13 Wisconsin (23-7, 13-5 Big Ten)

Date/Time - Friday, March 11, at approx. 8 p.m. Central

Arena –Conseco Fieldhouse (18,345)

Television - Big Ten Network (Gus Johnson, Shon Morris and Charissa Thompson)

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

Series – Wisconsin Leads 26-9 (UW leads 1-0 in neutral site games)

Last Meeting - Wisconsin won, 76-66, on Feb. 20, 2011 in Madison

Wisconsin Probable Starters

11 Jordan Taylor (Junior Guard, 18.2 ppg)

21 Josh Gasser (Freshman Guard, 6.1 ppg)

24 Tim Jarmusz (Senior Forward, 3.8 ppg)

30 Jon Leuer (Senior Forward, 18.9 ppg)

52 Keaton Nankivil (Senior Forward, 10.3 ppg)

Off the Bench

2 Wquinton Smith (Senior Guard, 0.6 ppg)

5 Ryan Evans (Sophomore Forward, 2.9 ppg)

31 Mike Bruesewitz (Sophomore Forward, 4.3 ppg)

40 Jared Berggren (Sophomore Forward, 2.4 ppg)

Penn State Probable Starters

12 Talor Battle (Senior Guard, 20.2 ppg)

15 David Jackson (Senior Forward, 10.3 ppg)

22 Andrew Jones (Senior Guard, 6.3 ppg)

23 Tim Frazier (Sophomore Guard, 5.5 ppg)

25 Jeff Brooks (Senior Forward, 13.6 ppg)

Off the Bench

3 Jermaine Marshall (Freshman Guard, 2.7 ppg)

35 Billy Oliver (Freshman Forward, 2.6 ppg)

Last Time Out

Senior Jon Diebler lived up to his ''3-bler'' nickname Sunday by hitting 7 of 8 shots behind the arc while scoring 27 points, as Ohio State (29-2, 16-2 Big Ten) set NCAA Division I records by making 14 of 15 3-pointers (93.3 percent) and hitting 14 in a row - after missing the first.

''On our best day this year, we hit 11 of 17 and thought we'd hit the jackpot,'' Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan said. ''Fourteen of 15? I don't think people do that very often. Either that, or I'm living in the wrong part of the country.''

Still smarting from their first loss of the year, a 71-67 setback at Wisconsin on Feb. 12, the Buckeyes unleashed their best game of the season - shutdown defense at one end and 68-percent shooting from the field at the other.

''I don't know if you could script it much better,'' said Ohio State coach Thad Matta. ''Our defensive energy was incredible ... and offensively the shots were falling. It was incredible how well we shot the basketball.''

Freshman Jared Sullinger had 22 points just weeks after accusing a Wisconsin fan of spitting in his face as he left the floor at the Kohl Center. He had told several people that he not only wanted to beat the Badgers, but that he wanted to beat them by 50 points. The final score only seemed that lopsided.

William Buford added 18 points and David Lighty 13 for the Buckeyes, who won their 22nd straight home game while dropping Wisconsin to just 4-5 in Big Ten road games this season.

Ryan had been the focal point for many fans in a capacity crowd of 18,809 who felt he had disrespected the Buckeyes after the first meeting when he said, ''We won the game. Deal with it.''

Ohio State officials fueled the fans' enmity by handing out 1,400 scarlet towels that read, ''Deal With It.'' When Ryan's picture was shown on the monitors at midcourt before the game, there was a large chorus of boos, and the Buckeyes student section immediately behind the Wisconsin bench yelled at the coach most of the day.

Asked after the game about the towels, Ryan said, ''What towels? ... I know one thing, towels didn't blow the ball in on all those 3s.''

The Buckeyes built a 47-32 halftime lead - the exact score they led by in the second half of the first game before Wisconsin came roaring back - thanks to 6-of-7 shooting behind the arc. Topping that, Ohio State hit all eight 3s in the second 20 minutes.

Last Meeting

Seniors Keaton Nankivil and Jon Leuer each score 22 points, as four starters for No.10 Wisconsin reach double figures in a 76-66 victory over Penn State Sunday.

UW shot 8-of-15 from three-point range to move to 10-4 in the Big Ten and 20-6 overall. Against Purdue on the road Wednesday, the Badgers went 3-for-19 from three. Wisconsin is just 3-5 away from the Kohl Center this season.

"Sometimes with three seniors in that starting lineup they have been through all the different teams coming in," Bo Ryan said.

"The energy we get from the fans … and people can say 'well every coach says that,' but you have to be down there on the floor and just feel the energy in there and I think it is led by the seniors."

Wisconsin in the Big Ten Tournament

Wisconsin owns a 14-11 (.560) overall record in Big Ten Tournament, winning championships in 2004 and 2008.

Wisconsin has played in the championship game in four of the last seven Big Ten tournaments.

UW's .560 win percentage in the tournament ranks 3rd all-time in the Big Ten behind Illinois (23-11, .676) and Ohio St. (18-10, .643).

Bo Ryan's teams are 10-7 in the BTT.

The Badgers are a No. 3 seed for the second time in tournament history. As a 3 seed in 2005, Wisconsin beat No. 6 Ohio State and No. 7 Iowa before losing to No. 1 Illinois in the championship.

Series Notes:

UW has won 13 of the last 14 against PSU. The Badgers and Nittany Lions split the regular season series each winning on their home floor, as PSU's 56-52 win in State College, Pa. snapped the Badgers' streak of 12 consecutive wins in the series.

UW's 12-game win streak vs. PSU was tied as the Big Ten's longest active win streak against a single conference opponent (Ohio State had also beaten PSU 12 straight at the time).

Bo Ryan, a native of Chester, Pa. is 15-3 vs. Penn State all-time and owns a 13-1 record vs. PSU head coach Ed DeChellis.

Wisconsin video coordinator Sharif Chambliss played three seasons (2001-03) at Penn State before transferring and finished his playing career at UW.

Wisconsin and Penn State have only met once in the Big Ten tournament when the 10th-seeded Badgers pulled out a 52-51 win over No. 7 seed PSU in the inaugural 1998 Big Ten Tournament.

Penn State Notes:

Penn State's No. 6 seed matches its highest ever in the Big Ten Tournament (2009). The Lions were also a No. 6 seed in 2009 going 1-1 that year and losing in the quarterfinals, 79-65, to No. 3 seed Purdue. The Lions are 6-13 all-time in 14 Big Ten Tournament appearances and have twice advanced to the semifinals (2000 & 2001). Penn State is 2-8 in its last 10 Big Ten Tournament games and lost 76-55 to No. 6 seed Minnesota in the first round last year. The Lions are 4-9 in first round games having last won in the 2009 first round over IU, 66-51. Penn State is 2-6 in six previous Tournaments held in Indianapolis, twice reaching the quarterfinals (2006 & 2009).

Penn State's tie for 4th in the Big Ten standings equals the second-best finish in program history (2009)

Talor Battle stands 2nd all-time at Penn State in career scoring with 2,132 points and needs 7 points to eclipse the record of 2,138 set by Jesse Arnelle in 1955. Against Indiana, Battle (606) to become the 2nd Lion to post multiple 600-point.

Wisconsin Notes:

For the first time in school history, Wisconsin had two players earn first-team All-Big honors as senior Jon Leuer and junior Jordan Taylor were recognized when the Big Ten's year-end awards were announced. Taylor was a first-team All-Big Ten selection by both the media (unanimous) and the coaches, while Leuer earned first-team All-Big Ten accolades from the coaches and second-team honors from the media. Fellow senior Keaton Nankivil received honorable mention from both the coaches and media.

Prior to Bo Ryan's arrival, Wisconsin won at least 12 games two times in the first 96 years of Big Ten play (1912 and 1914). Including this season, Ryan has led the Badgers to at least 12 conference wins in 6 of his 10 seasons.

With 1,322 career points and 525 rebounds, Leuer is one just 8 players in Wisconsin history to score at least 1,300 points and pull down 500 rebounds.

In 2010-11, Wisconsin is a perfect 17-0 when shooting 45.0% or better from the field. The Badgers are also 17-0 when shooting a higher FG percentage than their opponents.


If Wisconsin wins the next three games, the Badgers will take home their third conference tournament championship. If UW can somehow manage to win the next nine games, it will take home its second national championship. Unfortunately, none of those games will be played at the Kohl Center.

If there's one thing we've established with the University of Wisconsin, it's that the Badgers are very good at home. Through the 2010-11 campaign, the Badgers won all 16 of their games, four of which were against teams ranked in the top 16 in the country, by an average of 18.4 points per game, shot 49.2 percent from the floor (including 44.2 percent from 3-point range) and limited opponents to 41.8 percent from the floor.

If there's another thing Badgers fans have established is that Wisconsin is an entirely different animal away from Madison. In nine true road games, Wisconsin managed only four wins, none against ranked competition, shot only 41.2 percent from the floor (including 33.1 percent from 3-point range) and saw opponents shoot 47.8 percent from the floor. Throw in the fact that Wisconsin needed overtime to survive 10th-place Iowa and a banked 3-pointer at the buzzer to beat Michigan by one, the Badgers could be considered fortunate to have the record they have.

For the second straight year, Wisconsin finds itself in a precarious situation. With its NCAA Tournament bid already in the bank, the Badgers' first-round opponent finds itself fighting for its tournament life.

The Nittany Lions have played the seventh toughest schedule in the country, have an RPI in the 50s, have beaten Illinois, Michigan State and Wisconsin at home and lost at Purdue and Ohio State by a combined four points in four days. Still, Penn State is 1-5 against the RPI top 25 and 3-7 against the top 50, meaning Ed DeChellis' crew needs some resume wins in a hurry.

More importantly, first team All-Big Ten selection Talor Battle is dying to get to the big dance before he graduates.

Wisconsin has only played three neutral games on the season (in what amounted to an ugly Old Spice Classic over Thanksgiving) and hasn't fared well as of late in the conference tournament, being bounced the last two years in the quarters. However, here is what gives me confidence that Wisconsin will win tonight.

The Badgers, despite the 93 point scoring outburst last Sunday, still lead the conference in scoring defense, giving up only 59.1 points per game. Wisconsin is the top rebounding defense in the country, giving up 28.2 boards a game. Penn State is second to last in scoring margin (+0.5) and dead last in scoring offense (64.1 points per game).

The Nittany Lions underwhelmed me against Indiana, and I have a feeling they will again tonight. Throw in the fact that the Badgers simply don't lose two in a row, winners of 20 consecutive games following a loss, Wisconsin moves to day two of the conference tournament with a 14-point victory.

Worgull's Record: 28-2

Points off Prediction: 199 (6.63 per game)

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