Even though the Nittany Lions are in a four-way tie for last place and have lost four of their last six games, Penn State was able to pick up an impressive victory against Ohio State Thursday. Wisconsin needs to be aware that they will have to play a full 40-minute game against Penn State to avoid what would be an ugly resume loss.
In this Badger Nation feature, we will look at the three keys or questions for Wisconsin to have success at Penn State.
Lay up: Can Wisconsin play a full game?
The first half against Indiana was poor basketball but luckily Wisconsin was able to turn things around in the second half. If the Badgers come out disinterested and can't match Penn State's intensity (it's the last home game for Penn State this season), they may struggle to make another successful comeback like they did against Indiana.
It would be surprising if Wisconsin came out flat considering how well they performed over its last two road games at Michigan and Iowa. Despite Penn State's poor record, they have been able to stay competitive throughout most of its games.
What helped Wisconsin to big road wins against Michigan and Iowa was the fact they built an early lead and took some of the crowd's energy out of the building. Wisconsin will need to knock down its first couple of shots and block out any crowd noise so they can run its offense and get into rhythm.
Newbill and Frazier are the two leading scorers for Penn State, averaging 17.4 and 16 points a game, respectively. Josh Gasser will draw the assignment to defend one of them, if he doesn't switch off throughout the game.
Newbill and Frazier are at their best when they can attack the rim or create some type of space to get there shot off. Both shoot over 40 percent from the field. The key will be for Gasser or Traevon Jackson to force them to shoot 3-pointers (Newbill is a 34 percent 3-pointer shooter and Frazier is making 29 percent of his threes).
If Wisconsin can slow down Newbill and Frazier by limiting their opportunities and forcing them to take low percentage shots, they should limit the Nittany Lions offense to get into a rhythm. Penn State is averaging 10.4 offensive rebounds a game and if Wisconsin can force a lot of one shot possessions and box out, they'll be able to force somebody besides Newbill or Frazier to beat them.
Ohio State forced Penn State into 16 turnovers Thursday. Gasser is going to have to try and replicate the Buckeyes strong defensive presence to slow down Newbill and Frazier, who had six and three turnovers, respectively.
Hayes has been struggling as of late after having four consecutive games scoring in double figures. While averaging five points in his last three games, what's hurting Wisconsin is that Hayes is picking up quick fouls, which force him to sit on the bench.
When Hayes or Kaminsky gets into early foul trouble, it forces the other to play a little less aggressive in fear of also getting into foul trouble. With Hayes sitting on the bench, it caused Kaminsky to not play "his" game over the last two first halves.
The Nittany Lions don't present a lot of size problems for the Badgers, so Kaminsky and Hayes should be able to avoid foul trouble against Penn State bigs. But with Newbill and Frazier looking to drive the basketball and get dribble penetration, Kaminsky and Hayes are going to have to be able to move their feet and get them set in order to draw a charge. Even if they can't draw a charge or get a rebound, the duo will need to be disciplined to not pick up careless fouls. As we have seen this year, one of the two getting into foul trouble affects the flow on both ends of the floor.