Date/Time -Saturday, March 16, 12:40 p.m. Central
Arena –United Center (20,500)
Television - CBS (Jim Nantz, Steve Kerr and Clark Kellogg)
Radio - Wisconsin Radio Network (Matt Lepay and Mike Lucas)
Series – Ohio State leads 84-67 (Ohio State leads 3-1 in neutral sites)
Last Meeting - Wisconsin won, 71-49, on February 17, 2013 in Madison
Wisconsin Probable Starters
1 Ben Brust (6-1 Junior Guard, 11.4 ppg)
5 Ryan Evans (6-6 Senior Forward, 10.4 ppg)
12 Traevon Jackson (6-2 Sophomore Guard, 6.8 ppg)
31 Mike Bruesewitz (6-6 Senior Forward, 6.5 ppg)
40 Jared Berggren (6-10 Senior Forward, 11.3 ppg)
Off the Bench
3 George Marshall (5-11 Freshman Guard, 4.3 ppg)
15 Sam Dekker (6-7 Freshman Forward, 9.5 ppg)
44 Frank Kaminsky (6-11 Sophomore Forward, 4.2 ppg)
Ohio State Probable Starters
1 Deshaun Thomas (6-7 Junior Forward, 19.6 ppg)
4 Aaron Craft (6-2 Junior Guard, 9.9 ppg)
12 Sam Thompson (6-7 Sophomore Forward, 7.4 ppg)
23 Amir Williams (6-11 Sophomore Center, 3.7 ppg)
32 Lenzelle Smith Jr. (6-4 Junior Guard, 9.6 ppg)
Off the Bench
3 Shannon Scott (6-1 Sophomore Guard, 4.9 ppg)
10 LaQuinton Ross (6-3 Senior Guard, 7.5 ppg)
30 Evan Ravenel (6-8 Senior Forward, 5.3 ppg)
Last Time Out
CHICAGO (BadgerNation) - Wisconsin got four players in double figures, shot a blistering 51.0 percent (25-for-49) from the floor, and blocked 10 shots to win its 12th straight game against Indiana, 68-56, in the conference tournament semifinals; tying Purdue's run from 1908-1914 as the most consecutive wins over the Hoosiers all time.
"Never gets old," said Brust, smiling.
Giving the Hoosiers their first double-digit loss of the season, the Badgers own victories over four top-10 teams this season and seven wins over teams in the AP Top 25. And once again, Wisconsin did it with defense.
In Wisconsin's 64-59 win at Bloomington January 15, the Badgers held Indiana to a season low in points (59), field goal percentage (37.0) and 3-point field goal percentage (25.0). Saturday was just as good, as the Hoosiers scored a season-low 56 points while shooting only 38.2 percent from the floor and 29.4 percent from 3-point range.
"I can't tell you how proud I am of the defensive effort on a very good offensive team," said UW coach Bo Ryan. "So every guy that went in there was pretty much sticking to the rules and trying to force Indiana to make some tough shots. I thought our guys accomplished that."
Wisconsin held five of Indiana's top six scorers below its season average, including its top two in Cody Zeller and Victor Oladipo. Oladipo (10 points) was held to 1 of 5 shooting in the second half while Zeller (13) shot only 4 of 10 matched up against Jared Berggren.
Wisconsin also forced 13 turnovers and registered 10 blocks, three from Berggren, by being active in the post.
"I tried to do pretty much the opposite (against Zeller) of what I did the last time," said Berggren, who also managed to go a perfect 4-for-4 from the field and 2-for-2 from the line for 11 points. "When we played them the last time, he killed me in the first half. I gave him way too much. I just tried to make it difficult for him, keep a body on him."
From an offensive standpoint, Wisconsin could not have asked for much more balance. After shooting 60.4 percent in the second half in its win over Michigan, Wisconsin shot better than 50 percent in each half and outscored Indiana in the paint (30-28), on second-chance points (18-11), fast-break points (9-5) and bench points (17-8).
Those stats made up for Wisconsin turning the ball over 15 times and not making its first free throw until 4:43 remained.
MADISON (BadgerNation) - This one was needed in so many ways for the University of Wisconsin.
Coming into Sunday's game looking to bounce-back after a tough loss to Minnesota Thursday night, No.20 Wisconsin redeemed themselves in a big way.
Four UW players scored in double figures and six scored at least seven points in a dominant 71-49 thrashing of No.13 Ohio State February 17 at the Kohl Center.
"I think every game is going to be a challenge no matter who it is," said Brust, who led the Badgers with 15 points along with Jared Berggren. "Any team can beat any team ... Obviously you have to take care of what you can control and the rest will hopefully play out your way."
After trading baskets in the first few minutes, the Badgers pulled away on an 18-0 run, giving them the lead and momentum they would not lose. Three days after an 8:48 scoreless stretch cost the Badgers a road win in Minneapolis, Wisconsin shot a season-high 52.7 percent from the field (29-for-55).
"They were better, and I think they can get better again," Ryan said about his team's effort. "Never too high, never too low. I'll find clips for tomorrow where I'll encourage the guys to improve their play and improve their decision-making."
The Badgers hit some tough shots and were consistent cutting to the basket to get easy points. Wisconsin outscored Ohio State 30-24 in the paint, 10-4 on second-chance points and 37-30 on the glass.
"Those guys did their jobs," said Ryan. "They worked hard [today]. They worked hard against Minnesota. Offensively they didn't make real good decisions and hit shots."
In addition to his 15 points, Berggren added eight rebounds and four blocks, but it was Brust who was the big factor on the glass. Brust recorded his fifth double-double of the season, and first in conference play, with 11 rebounds, adding three assists to one turnover.
Defensively, the Badgers executed the game plan better than their Jan. 29 matchup in Columbus; a game that saw Deshaun Thomas scored 25 points as the Buckeyes shot 51.1 percent. Thomas hit 8 of 17 shots and finished with 18 points to lead the Buckeyes (18-7, 8-5), but struggled to shake the tight defense that Bruesewitz and Evans blanketed him with following his first bucket of the game.
Wisconsin is 6-5 in the last 11 meetings against Ohio State.
UW head coach Bo Ryan is 15-9 against Ohio State, including a mark of 11-8 against Thad Matta.
Wisconsin has held Ohio State to 60 or fewer points in each of the last four meetings. Over the last two seasons, the Buckeyes have been held to 60 or less a total of nine times. UW is responsible for four of them.
Including Sunday's game, either UW or OSU has been ranked in 18 of the last 19 meetings. This is also the ninth meeting since 2006 with both teams in the AP Top 25.
As a ranked team, Ohio State is 22-12 in the Wisconsin series, while the Badgers are 11-9 vs. the Buckeyes when ranked. When both teams are among Top 25, Ohio State has won six of the 10 games played.
Wisconsin is 17-13 in the Big Ten Tournament all-time. The Badgers are 9-7 in their opening game of the tournament and will play in their eighth semifinal all-time. Badgers are 2-2 all-time in the Big Ten Tournament finals.
Ohio State is 21-9 all-time in the Big Ten Tournament. The Buckeyes have advanced to seven of the last eight tournament finals and have won 17 of their last 21 games in the tournament overall.
The last time the Big Ten Tournament was held in the United Center, two-seed Wisconsin lost to top-seed Ohio State, 66-49, in 2007.
Wisconsin shot 51 percent against Indiana (25-of-49). The Badgers are 13-0 this season when shooting 45 percent or better and 180-16 under Bo Ryan.
Against the Hoosiers, Wisconsin held a 35-30 advantage on the glass. The Badgers are 16-2 this season when outrebounding their opponent and 209-30 under Ryan.
Wisconsin held Indiana to a season-low 56 points. The Badgers are 17-3 this season when holding opponents under 60 points.
Wisconsin has won the last 12 games against Indiana. The 12-game win streak over the Hoosiers ties the Badgers with Purdue (1908-1914) for the most consecutive victories over Indiana all-time. Bo Ryan is 18-3 against Indiana and 14-3 against Tom Crean.
The Badgers own victories over four top-10 teams this season and seven wins over teams in the AP Top 25. The seven victories over top-25 opponents is tied with Indiana for the most in Division I this season.
Ohio State Notes:
Craft scored 20 points against the Spartans for the second-consecutive game. He has three 20-point games in his career. He totaled a season best nine assists, the most by a Buckeye in a Big Ten Tournament game.
Head coach Thad Matta owns the best Big Ten Tournament winning percentage (.783) and the second-most tournament wins (18) of any conference coach in history.
Matta has compiled a record of 49-12 as a head coach in March, the fourth-best record by percentage (.803) among active coaches. He has won 25 or more games in six of his nine seasons at Ohio State and in 9 of his 13 seasons as head coach. Matta coached teams have never failed to reach the 20-win plateau.
OSU owned a 15-6 advantage in bench points against Michigan State. The Buckeyes have a 587-379 edge over opposing benches in points scored this season.
Well here we are - a matchup we all predicted, right? Not quite, but the Badgers and the Buckeyes playing the rubber match of their season series. Many Wisconsin fans are probably thrilled that Michigan State doesn't appear on the schedule for the third time this season, but Ohio State provides as good as challenge as any with a championship on the line.
"They competed, they're physical and they're a good team," said assistant head coach Lamont Paris, who is responsible for the scouting report. "I am not surprising anyone by saying that. They're a really good team. They are talent."
Take one look at Ohio State and the eye is drawn to Deshaun Thomas. The junior forward and All-Big Ten first team selection leads the conference in scoring – 19.6 points per game – and is the leading scorer in the conference. He is the only Ohio State player averaging over 10 points per game, but he's not the team's only threat.
As dangerous as Thomas is scoring, junior Aaron Craft could be the Buckeyes' most dangerous player. Not only did Craft lead all scorers with 20 points on 9-for-13 shooting in OSU's three-point semifinal win, he added nine assists and four steals to only two turnovers.
In a year of the point guard in the Big Ten, Craft fits right in, shooting 58.9 percent from the field and averaging 12.3 points and six assists in the last seven games (all wins since losing to Wisconsin).
"He scores when they need him to at times, but he is an unsung hero with the way he manages the game itself," said Paris. "He distributes the ball and still plays hard defense full court. He does a good job pounding a team down, controlling a team and getting his teammates involved."
He's a big reason Michigan State only shot 40 percent for the game (20-for-50), why the Buckeyes have held opposing teams under 50 percent shooting in 29 of 32 games and why Ohio State finished with just five turnovers, resulting in zero points for the Spartans.
Wisconsin shot 36.5 percent and grabbed 26 rebounds at Columbus, only to shoot 52.7 percent and get 37 rebounds in Madison. Ohio State shot 51.1 percent with 32 rebounds in Columbus, and the shot 37.5 percent with 30 rebounds in Madison. Guess who won which match-up and what the secret to success is?
Wisconsin needs to play the same type of post defense it has played the last two games and shoot a high percentage if it wants to have a chance to bring home a championship. Needless to say it's going to be another whole team effort.
"It's not about what they are doing," said Paris. "It's about us executing out stuff and then it is about what the other team is doing. It's about preparing and playing our best."
I think Wisconsin should win this game but because the Badgers have won the last two games I picked against them, I am going to go with the Buckeyes by six. You'll thank me.
Worgull's Record: 20-13
Points off Prediction: 401 (12.15 per game)