Breakdown: No.22 Wisconsin at Penn State

Badger Nation examines the road matchup with Penn State and the tiebreaking scenarios on the last day of the regular season in the Big Ten conference.

No.22 Wisconsin (20-10, 11-6 Big Ten) at Penn State (10-19, 2-15 Big Ten)

Date/Time -Sunday, March 10, 11 a.m. Central

Arena –Bryce Jordan Center (15,261)

Television - ESPN (Eric Collins and Sean Harrington)

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

Series – Wisconsin leads 29-10 (Wisconsin leads 11-7 in State College)

Last Meeting - Wisconsin won, 60-51, on January 3, 2013 in Madison

Wisconsin Probable Starters

1 Ben Brust (6-1 Junior Guard, 11.2 ppg)

5 Ryan Evans (6-6 Senior Forward, 10.4 ppg)

12 Traevon Jackson (6-2 Sophomore Guard, 6.2 ppg)

31 Mike Bruesewitz (6-6 Senior Forward, 6.6 ppg)

40 Jared Berggren (6-10 Senior Forward, 11.4 ppg)

Off the Bench

3 George Marshall (5-11 Freshman Guard, 4.5 ppg)

15 Sam Dekker (6-7 Freshman Forward, 9.5 ppg)

32 Zak Showalter (6-2 Freshman Guard, 1.8 ppg)

44 Frank Kaminsky (6-11 Sophomore Forward, 4.3 ppg)

Penn State Probable Starters

2 D.J. Newbill (6-4 Sophomore Guard, 15.9 ppg)

11 Jermaine Marshall (6-4 Junior Guard, 15.3 ppg)

20 Nick Colella (6-3 Senior Guard, 4.0 ppg)

21 Sasha Borovnjak (6-9 Senior Forward, 7.3 ppg)

43 Ross Travis (6-6 Sophomore Forward, 6.9 ppg)

Off the Bench

10 Brandon Taylor (6-7 Freshman Forward, 5.5 ppg)

25 Jon Graham (6-8 Sophomore Forward, 2.0 ppg)

Last Time Out

EAST LANSING, Mich. (BadgerNation) - For the second time in five days Wisconsin had an opportunity to move within one game of first place in the Big Ten. With a chance to play for a conference title Sunday, Wisconsin, again, KO'ed itself in the ugliest of fashions.

In what amounted to a Big Ten title elimination game, No.22 Wisconsin's inability to score the basket and secure loose rebounds sent them back home with a 58-43 loss to No.10 Michigan State in a game that wasn't as close as the final score indicated.

"Frustration, disappointment, everything like that," said senior forward Jared Berggren, who won at every Big Ten arena except Michigan State in his career. "It sucks. There's nothing we can do about it now, but try to learn from our mistakes and move forward."

Figuring out how to make a few buckets will be the place to start.

Shooting 29.6 percent in the second half of Sunday's home loss to Purdue, the hangover carried over for Wisconsin. Making seven field goals in the first half and eight in the second half, the Badgers finished 15-for-51 from the floor, shooting 29.4 percent that was a season low.

Just like when senior forward Ryan Evans was questioned if his free throw problems were becoming a mental issue, the Badgers' shooting woes are drawing similar questions after shooting less than 33.3 percent in three straight halves.

But as bad as its offense, UW's post defense was equally sporadic. Although only out rebounded by two, Michigan State's first five buckets told the game's entire story. Generating 20 points in the paint in the team's first meeting, the Spartans controlled the paint and bruised the Badgers on second chance points.

Michigan State turned 16 offensive rebounds into 11 second-chance points, as junior guard Keith Appling scored 14 of his 19 points in the second half to help the Spartans build a lead that swelled to 23.

"That killed us, too," said Berggren.

The Spartans' first bucket from the perimeter was an Appling 3-pointer, which was set up after Michigan State corralled two offensive rebounds. Ryan was so irritated that he benched his starters in favor of Evan Anderson and Zach Bohannon, who have combined to play 32 minutes in conference play.

"We replaced them because they must have been tired," said Ryan. "That's my reasoning."

It got worse. After Berggren scored the opening bucket of the second half, Michigan State went on a 16-0 run that was more of the same: attacking the post, offensive rebound put backs and a lack of response from Wisconsin, which went 0-for-12 from the field during that stretch.

Wisconsin finished with more turnovers (17) than field goals (15).

Last Meeting

MADISON (BadgerNation) - Beginning the long conference road Thursday night, Wisconsin appeared to be one of the fortunate ones. A team in search of momentum all season, the Badgers were given the two teams picked to finish at the bottom of the league before starting a challenging 11-game schedule against nine ranked teams.

As Penn State proved, however, nothing is going to come easy in the Big Ten this year.

Senior Jared Berggren and Ryan Evans and junior guard Ben Brust all scored 13 points each, as Wisconsin hung on after almost blowing a double-digit lead to win its 10th straight Big Ten opener with a 60-51 victory over the Nittany Lions.

"You can say we closed this one out," UW coach Bo Ryan said. "It might not have looked pretty, but we closed it out. The league is going to be tough this year."

Despite trailing by as many as 14 in the second half, Penn State (8-5 0-1) made it a game, going on an 20-10 run that cut the lead to two after junior Jermaine Marshall (game-high 19 points) knocked down a jumper with 2:52 left.

Wisconsin (10-4, 1-0) never trailed in the second half, but never felt comfortable until Berggren slammed the door. Clinging to a 54-51 lead with 1:15 to go, Brust found Berggren open at the free throw line. Berggren spun away from his defender and threw down an emphatic one-handed dunk to put the Badgers up 56-51 with 1:06 to go.

The dunk gave the Badgers the momentum they needed to finish, as Bruesewitz hit all four of his free throws in the final minute to seal the win. Until that point, UW was shooting only 9-for-22 from the line. Wisconsin shot 50 percent and is shooting 63 percent from the free throw line on the year.

"It's a mental thing that has to be overcome," Ryan said.

Wisconsin survived by shooting 38.6 percent from the floor and 3-for-17 from three-point range by playing stronger defense. Wisconsin forced 15 turnovers that resulted in 17 points. UW also turned the ball over only four times, including just once in the first half.

The Badgers got double digit points from four of their five starters and improved to 10-1 when it has three or more players score in double digits.

Series Notes:

UW has won 16 of the last 18 against PSU, including each of the last 3. The Badgers topped the Nittany Lions, 60-51, earlier this season at the Kohl Center.

The Badgers have won seven of their last eight trips to University Park, Pa. UW is 11-7 overall in games played at Penn State.

Bo Ryan, a native of Chester, Pa. is 18-4 vs. Penn State all-time, including 11-0 at home.

PSU has averaged just 51.9 points per game over the last 17 meetings with UW, failing to reach 50 points in eight of those contests.

UW has won 17 straight games vs. PSU when scoring at least 60 points.

Patrick Chambers and Bo Ryan both hail from Delaware County Pa. and were born and raised approximately 12 miles from each other about 20 minutes outside Philadelphia.

Wisconsin Notes

Over Bo Ryan's 12 seasons, Wisconsin has gone 79-28 (.738) in regular-season games played on Feb. 1 or later.

Wisconsin is 9-2 in regular-season finales under Bo Ryan, that includes a mark of 3-2 when that game falls in a road venue.

Bo Ryan's teams are 7-4 in their final regular-season road game. UW knocked off No. 8 Ohio State, 63-60, in its final Big Ten road game last season (2/26/12).

UW is 4-4 on the road in the Big Ten this season and 10-7 over the last 2 seasons. Wisconsin's .588 winning percentage and 10 wins trail only Ohio State (11-7) as the best marks in the conference.

Penn State Notes:

Penn State is expecting more than 50 Nittany Lion basketball alumni to return for Alumni Weekend events, which begin Saturday. Among those expected to return are two members of the 1954 NCAA Final Four team (David Edwards and Rudy Marisa) and five of the Lions Top 10 all-time scorers.

Penn State has played five games vs. AP Top 10 teams and this will be the eighth against a Top 25 team this season. The Lions' schedule is ranked No. 4 nationally in the Sagarin Ratings with PSU facing 13 Top 50 opponents and nine in the Top 25 of the Sagarin Ratings.

Penn State ended a 19-game road losing skid and a 17-game Big Ten road losing skid Thursday at Northwestern, recording the first Big Ten road win in coach Patrick Chambers' two season and first since a victory at Minnesota on March 6, 2011.


This is the absolute worst scenario for Wisconsin. Stuck in a rut and seeing their title hopes go from favorable to nonexistent in 60 minutes of basketball, the Badgers have to go on the road, and win against a team that finally has confidence in its ability to win.

"We got to turn it around quickly and get back to playing our game," said Berggren. "If we don't pick things up … Penn State is a hungry team that works hard."

A loss and Wisconsin is locked into a fifth-place finish and the No. 5 seed in the Big Ten tournament. UW would play Penn State for the second time in five days on Thursday in a first-round game at the United Center in Chicago. Playing in the tournament's first round and being lower than a four seed would both be first under Bo Ryan.

The rest of Sunday's Big Ten schedule - Illinois (8-9 Big Ten) at Ohio State (12-5); Northwestern (4-13) at Michigan State (12-5); and Indiana (13-4) at Michigan (12-5) – all will impact Wisconsin's seed if it beats Penn State.

Wisconsin would finish in a three-way tie for third place and be the No. 3 seed if Indiana, Michigan State and Illinois win. (Badgers would win a three-way tiebreaker that includes Ohio State and Michigan).

Wisconsin would finish in a four-way tie for second place and be the No. 4 seed if Indiana, Northwestern and Illinois win. (Badgers would finish third in a four-way tiebreaker that includes Michigan State, Ohio State and Michigan).

Wisconsin would finish in a two-way tie for fourth place and be the No. 4 seed if Indiana, Michigan State and Ohio State win. (Badgers would win a head-to-head tiebreaker with Michigan).

Wisconsin would finish in a two-way tie for fourth place and be the No. 4 seed if Michigan, Michigan State and Illinois win. (Badgers would win a head-to-head tiebreaker with Ohio State).

Wisconsin would finish in a three-way tie for third place and be the No. 4 seed if Indiana, Northwestern and Ohio State win. (Badgers would finish second in a three-way tiebreaker that includes Michigan State and Michigan).

Even if it wins, Wisconsin will be the No. 5 seed if Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State win or if Michigan and Northwestern win. The latter scenario would leave the Badgers in a tie for fourth place, but they'd lose the tiebreaker because they were swept by the Spartans.

Needless to say, there are a lot of moving pieces for the Badgers, but Wisconsin has to win against a team that has won two of its last three games (not to mention three of its four losses have been by seven points or less in its last six games).

With the way things are trending downward, I wouldn't be surprised if Wisconsin loses. However, I'll give the Badgers the benefit of the doubt that they can grind out a nine-point victory.

Worgull's Record: 19-11

Points off Prediction: 357 (11.90 per game)

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