Three-Point Shot: No.24 Ohio State

Before No.14 Wisconsin takes on No.24 Ohio State at the Kohl Center Saturday morning, Badger Nation looks at the three burning questions we're looking to have answered.

Wisconsin and Ohio State share plenty of similarities, and few of them are good ones recently. Both teams got off to great starts to begin the year but now each have non-winning conference records, are coming off tough home losses to bottom-tier conference teams Wednesday night and both are in desperate need of victories.

Each team has had certain struggles. Ohio State is struggling on offense and Wisconsin can't seem to find consistent stops on the defense. With both teams needing to find a victory on Saturday, it should create an interesting and competitive matchup.

In this Badger Nation feature, we will look at the three keys or questions for Wisconsin to have success against Ohio State.

Lay up: Where's Wisconsin's bench?

Nigel Hayes had all of the Badgers six points off of Wisconsin's bench but it's hard to find productivity when Duje Dukan only plays in the second half and Bronson Koenig only plays in the first half.

Wisconsin's bench showed earlier in the year that they could be productive, getting double-digit points from its bench in 10 of the first 16 games, Wisconsin has accomplished that feat once in the last five games.

As all Wisconsin fans know that in order for players to play they need to show why they deserve playing time in practice. Maybe Dukan and Koenig have been struggling in practice, but it's hard to know.

But the way Traevon Jackson has been playing, it is curious to see why Koenig isn't playing more. Koenig still needs work on his defense, which is probably preventing him from seeing the floor, but Jackson hasn't been stellar at times on the defensive side either. Jackson clearly has a long leash with Bo Ryan and it may be as simple as Koenig consistently showing in practice why he deserves more minutes for the Badgers.

Even though Koenig didn't see the floor in the second half, he still has received consistent time while Dukan has slowly seen his playing time decrease. Over the last five games, Dukan has only been averaging four minutes a game.

Eventually all the minute the starters are logging will start to take the toll on the team. Hopefully the bench will be able to step up when that time comes.

Mid-range jumper: Where's the pride on defense?

It's difficult to understand what is going on with the defense this year. At times Wisconsin looks lost or disinterested to be playing defense. The one thing that has always stayed constant under Ryan is the fact that it was difficult to score on the Badgers. This year opposing offenses haven't had to do a lot of work to score against Wisconsin.

Taking nothing away from Northwestern but they have shown to one of the poorest offenses in the Big Ten. Wisconsin's defense was so bad it became a simple shoot around for the Wildcats.

Even though the Buckeyes have had their struggles on offense, Ohio State will make Wisconsin pay if UW's defense has a similar performance like they did against Northwestern. Ohio State has shot under 40 percent in three of its last five games and hasn't been able to find any sort of consistency. Despite the Buckeyes struggles, LaQuinton Ross has remained a scoring threat. Ross is leading the Buckeyes with 14.2 points a game and has been shooting the basketball efficiently. Frank Kaminsky and Hayes will have to stay out of foul trouble, which they did a good job of against Northwestern, but they'll need to keep contain and make sure Ross or Amir Williams don't get too many easy points down low.

3-pointer: Will Wisconsin have a similar shooting performance?

The defense has struggled all year but part of the reason why Wisconsin was able to stay in games was due to the offense being able to knock down shots. That changed when Wisconsin couldn't get into any rhythm offensively against Northwestern.

Shooting 26 percent from the field Wednesday, it could have been as simple as a poor shooting night. Wisconsin has shown this year they can shoot it effectively, shooting 46 percent on the year from the field.

In order for the Badgers to turn it around on offense, Wisconsin will need more from Sam Dekker, Ben Brust and Kaminsky. Brust and Kaminsky both shot 30 percent from the field and Dekker shot 22 percent, very untypical performances for those three from the field.

Dekker showed aggressiveness throughout the game, which he will have to continue to do and get to the free throw line. After the Northwestern game, the sophomore was out on the floor shooting to try and get him out of the slump he was in.

Kaminsky finished the game with eight points but six of his eight came in the first half, as he simply disappeared in the second half. He needs to continue to be aggressive throughout and Jackson needs to try to get the ball to Kaminsky more down low to see if he can get into a rhythm on offense.

Brust has shown to be a pretty consistent shooter throughout his career, meaning he should be able to get himself out of it. If Wisconsin has a similar shooting performance Saturday morning, it could once again be a frustrating game for the Badgers.


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