Preview: No.3 Ohio State vs. No.19 Wisconsin

Looking to replicate the magic it had against the top-ranked Buckeyes last February, No.19 Wisconsin looks to push its winning streak to seven games when No.3 Ohio State comes to Madison in a battle for first place in the Big Ten.

Ohio State (19-3, 7-2 Big Ten) vs. No.19 Wisconsin (18-5, 7-3 Big Ten)

Date/Time - Saturday, February 4, 1:00 p.m. Central

Arena – Kohl Center (17,230)

Television - ESPN (Dave O'Brien and Dan Dakich)

Radio - ESPN (Matt Lepay and Mike Lucas)

Series – Ohio State leads 82-65 (Wisconsin leads 42-28 in Madison)

Last Meeting – Ohio State won, 93-65, on March 6, 2011 in Columbus, Ohio

Wisconsin Probable Starters

5 Ryan Evans (6-6 Junior Forward, 9.8 ppg)

11 Jordan Taylor (6-1 Senior Guard, 14.1 ppg)

21 Josh Gasser (6-3 Sophomore Guard, 7.7 ppg)

31 Mike Bruesewitz (6-6 Junior Forward, 6.5 ppg)

40 Jared Berggren (6-10 Junior Forward, 10.5 ppg)

Off the Bench

1 Ben Brust (6-1 Sophomore Guard, 9.3 ppg)

12 Traevon Jackson (6-2 Freshman Guard, 1.6 ppg)

33 Rob Wilson (6-4 Senior Guard, 2.5 ppg)

44 Frank Kaminsky (6-11 Freshman Forward, 2.3 ppg)

Ohio State Probable Starters

0 Jared Sullinger (Sophomore Forward, 17.1 ppg)

1 Deshaun Thomas (Sophomore Forward, 14.6 ppg)

4 Aaron Craft (Sophomore Guard, 8.1 ppg)

32 Lenzelle Smith Jr. (Sophomore Guard, 6.4 ppg)

44 William Buford (Senior Guard, 15.0 ppg)

Off the Bench

12 Sam Thompson (Freshman Forward, 2.8 ppg)

15 J.D. Weatherspoon (Sophomore Forward, 3.8 ppg)

30 Evan Ravenel (Junior Forward, 4.8 ppg)

Last Time Out

Taylor scored 18 points, including a 3-pointer from the top of key with 1:44 left, to help No. 19 Wisconsin hold off the Nittany Lions 52-46 for its sixth straight victory.

Taylor made six free throws over the final minute, helping the Badgers (18-5, 7-3 Big Ten) overcome an early nine-point deficit.

"They play hard, we play hard. It was just a matter of who was going to hit some shots in key situations," Ryan said. "Jordan stepped up and did that for us -- again."

The game between two coaches raised in the Philadelphia area went to Ryan, who was born in Chester. Nittany Lions coach Patrick Chambers was raised about 12 miles away, in Newtown Square. It was their first-ever meeting on the sideline.

For several moments, it looked like scrappy Penn State might pull out a win.

Trailing 40-38, Penn State (10-13, 2-8) missed on three tries to tie or take the lead. Jon Graham missed two foul shots before Jermaine Marshall misfired on a 3 and missed a layup after grabbing his own rebound.

Taylor took over from there with his clutch 3. He scored 13 of Wisconsin's last 17 points.

- By Associated Press

Last Meeting

No. 1 Ohio State put the cherry on top of an outright Big Ten title with a decisive home win against No. 10 Wisconsin, sprinting away to a 93-65 victory in front of an emotionally charged crowd in Value City Arena.

The Buckeyes had already clinched an outright Big Ten title by virtue of Purdue's loss at Iowa one day prior, but this win allowed them to close the regular season unbeaten at home.

When the team's three seniors and freshman Jared Sullinger entered the postgame interview room, they brought along the Big Ten trophy and placed it squarely in the middle of the table. Senior David Lighty had a net draped around his neck while classmate Dallas Lauderdale made sure that the trophy was perfectly in place before grabbing a seat.

"It was crazy from start to finish, from the fireworks going off until the streamers at the end of the game," Lighty said. "It was a great way to go out."

There was no shortage of storylines in this one. One of the two losses suffered by the Buckeyes (29-2, 16-2 Big Ten) this season came on Wisconsin's home court 22 days ago. In the aftermath of the game, Sullinger claimed to have been spit upon by Wisconsin fans as they charged the court in celebration.

In response, Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan told fans, in part, "deal with it."

Those words became a rallying cry among the OSU faithful as the game neared. Students camped out overnight in below-freezing temperatures for the right to be the first to enter the arena, and the first section to be filled to capacity was directly behind the Wisconsin bench.

Sensing this, the university's video department came up with a special pregame video. Starting with a clip of former Buckeye Ron Lewis blocking Wisconsin's last-second attempt to earn a win in the final game of the 2006-07 season that clinched a Big Ten title for the Buckeyes, it also featured footage of a badger scurrying away in terror as well as a shot of Ryan looking terrified.

It ended with the phrase of the day: "Deal With It."

As if that were not enough, 1,400 towels with the phrase were distributed to the students as they entered the arena. Every time the Badgers looked behind their bench, dozens of them were on display.

Ryan said he did not see the towels and claimed he did not realize they were directed at his team.

"What towels?" he said. "That wasn't for them? They were red and white, weren't they? Everybody has towels now. I know one thing: those towels didn't blow the ball in on those threes.

"Guys, it's a basketball game. People cheer."

Jon Diebler went 7 for 8 on senior night to finish with a game-high 27 points. For the team, it was a record-breaking performance. The Buckeyes hit 14 of 15 three-pointers, good for 93.3 percent – an NCAA record. They all came after Diebler missed the first trey of the game, giving them 14 straight – also an NCAA record.

- By Adam Jardy –

Series Notes:

UW head coach Bo Ryan is 13-7 against Ohio State, including a mark of 9-6 against Thad Matta.

UW has won 9 straight games vs. the Buckeyes in Madison and Ohio State has never beaten a Bo Ryan-coached team at the Kohl Center. The Buckeyes haven't won in Madison since Jan. 13, 2000.

Bo Ryan (127-51, .713) and Thad Matta (92-37, .713) own the top two Big Ten winning percentages of all time, with Ryan holding an edge of .0003 percent.

Jordan Taylor has 21 assists and just 2 turnovers in 6 career games vs. Ohio State. He scored 21 of his game-high 27 points in the 2nd half to lead UW's comeback win last season.

In two career games vs. Ohio State, Josh Gasser is averaging 14.0 points and 6.5 rebounds.

Wisconsin defeated No. 1 and previously unbeaten Ohio State, 71-67, on Feb. 12, 2011. That marked UW's 2nd-ever win over the AP No. 1 team (also an 86-67 win over Ohio State - March 3, 1962).

Wisconsin Notes

Under Bo Ryan, UW is 26-9 (.743) at the Kohl Center against ranked teams. That winning percentage ranks 4th in the nation over that span.

In Ryan's 11 seasons at UW, the Badgers own an impressive 5-1 home record against AP Top-5 teams, having won each of their last 5 such games.

Wisconsin is a perfect 14-0 this season when posting a higher shooting percentage than its opponent. In fact, the Badgers have won 53 consecutive games when outshooting the other team.

Ben Brust, Jared Berggren and Ryan Evans combined to average 5.9 points per game last season. This season, they all rank among the Big Ten's most improved and are currently combining for 29.6 points.

Taylor ranks 14th on UW's all-time scoring ledger with 1,325 career points. He needs 15 points to pass Trevon Hughes (1,339) for 13th place and 84 more points to crack the school's top 10

Ohio State Notes:

For each of the last 11 seasons, all as a head coach, Thad Matta has guided teams to at least 20 victories. Only Mark Few, among active coaches, has more consecutive 20-win seasons to start a career (12).

The Buckeyes are No. 1 in scoring margin (+21.7 ppg.), No. 2 in turnover margin (+6.1), No. 7 in scoring defense (56.6 ppg) and No. 9 in assist/turnover ratio (+1.39). The Buckeyes have the second longest home win streak in the country at 38. Kentucky (47) leads the nation.

The Buckeyes out-score ranked foes by 7.7 points per game and own the edge on the boards by 2.8 rpg.

The Buckeyes rank No. 2 in both scoring offense (77.3 ppg.) and scoring defense (55.6 ppg.)


Take one look at the Buckeyes' resume and you understand why they've been so dominant. Ohio State leads the nation in wins verse opponents ranked among the Top 25 with four wins in six tries this season. The Buckeyes own wins vs. No. 7 Florida, No. 3 Duke, No. 7 Indiana and No. 20 Michigan. Losses have come to No. 13 Kansas (no Sullinger because of back spasms) and No. 13 Indiana, both on the road.

That's impressive, but what's even more eye opening is the Buckeyes have five players, all starters, averaging in double figures in games verse ranked opponents. That's almost not fair against most teams.

With his unusual assortment of players - one senior, and just one junior who is in his first year playing for Ohio State, and the rest of the roster freshmen and sophomores – Thad Matta has developed a surprising level of confidence in his bench, sometimes going eight or nine deep when the game is still very much on the line.

"I'm gaining trust and faith in these guys, and they've deserved that," Matta said about using a lot of players throughout the Big Ten games. "Hopefully, we can continue to widen our scope of who we're playing."

Ohio State sophomore starting guard Lenzelle Smith Jr. is already looking at the long-term benefits the expanded use of role players could ultimately provide beyond the end of the regular season.

"This rotation not only gives those guys early confidence that we'll need as a team when we get to tournament time," Smith said, "but it also provides rest for some of us who do play a lot of minutes, so next game we're not burned out."

That was the problem last season against Wisconsin in Madison. Craft was the sixth man, playing 34 minutes, and Thomas played six minutes. That was it. Don't expect that to be the case this time.

Look, Wisconsin is a good team and we've found out that three game losing streak was more a blip than a trend. Still, the Badgers haven't shot the ball all that well in conference play and the reason UW beat Ohio State last year was because it shot 50 percent from three-point range. The Buckeyes shot 54.3 percent against UW in Madison, which can't happen again.

In order for the Badgers to win, UW needs to shoot lights out again, needs OSU to get cold again and catch some breaks … again. That's a lot of things that has to go UW's way, which is why I give the Buckeyes a 10-point edge … especially when the Kohl Center's dominance isn't at an all-time high this year.

Worgull's Record: 19-4

Points off Prediction: 237 (10.30 per game)

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