Breakdown: No.14 Wisconsin at Penn State

Searching for its seventh straight win and trying to keep pace in the challenging Big Ten, No.14 Wisconsin faces off against battle-tested Penn State for the only time this season in State College. BadgerNation breaks down the matchup.

No.14 Wisconsin (23-5, 10-5 Big Ten) at Penn State (15-15, 5-10 Big Ten)

Date/Time -Sunday, March 2, 11 a.m. Central

Arena –Bryce Jordan Center (15,271)

Television -Big Ten Network (Tom Werme and Shon Morris)

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

Series – Wisconsin leads 30-10 (Wisconsin leads 12-7 in State College)

Last Meeting -Wisconsin won, 63-60, on March 10, 2013 in State College, PA

Wisconsin Probable Starters

1 Ben Brust (6-1 Senior Guard, 12.6 ppg)

12 Traevon Jackson (6-2 Junior Guard, 10.7 ppg)

15 Sam Dekker (6-8 Sophomore Forward, 13.6 ppg)

21 Josh Gasser (6-3 Junior Guard, 9.1 ppg)

44 Frank Kaminsky (7-0 Junior Forward, 13.2 ppg)

Off the Bench

10 Nigel Hayes (6-7 Freshman Forward, 7.8 ppg)

13 Duje Dukan (6-9 Junior Forward, 2.5 ppg)

24 Bronson Koenig (6-3 Freshman Guard, 3.2 ppg)

Penn State Probable Starters

2 D.J. Newbill (6-4 Junior Guard, 17.6 ppg)

3 Graham Woodward (6-0 Freshman Guard, 3.0 ppg)

5 Donovan Jack (6-9 Sophomore Forward, 7.0 ppg)

10 Brandon Taylor (6-7 Sophomore Forward, 9.2 ppg)

23 Tim Frazier (6-1 Senior Guard, 16.0 ppg)

Off the Bench

1 John Johnson (6-1 Junior Guard, 7.2 ppg)

13 Geno Thorpe (6-3 Freshman Guard, 2.7 ppg)

43 Ross Travis (6-6 Sophomore Guard, 9.1 ppg)

Last Time Out

MADISON - How can one team shot 25.9 percent and score 19 points in the first half and following that up with 50 points on 61.9 percent in the final 20 minutes? In a word: confidence.

No.14 Wisconsin had to be a close-knit bunch to put forth the kind of performance it did Tuesday night, flipping a 10-point halftime deficit into a 15-point lead in the final four minutes, a 25-point swing that raised the volume at the Kohl Center to blistering levels in the second half of the Badgers' 69-58 victory over Indiana.

After having its leading scorer score five points at halftime, Wisconsin put five players in double figures for the eighth time this season and hung 50 on the Hoosiers in the final 20 minutes, averaging 1.72 points per possession.

Ryan chided the bracket talking heads about writing the Badgers into the Milwaukee pod with a sharpie following its impressive victories last week, saying all his team was worried about was Indiana. He wasn't kidding, as the Hoosiers (15-12, 5-9) jumped out to a 29-19 halftime lead after UW missed 20 of its 27 first half shots, including going 1-for-10 from 3-point range.

It was UW's largest deficit since Jan.29 in its loss to Northwestern and a stark turnaround after building double-digit leads that acted as cushions in last week's road victories at Michigan and Iowa.

"It's 40 minutes of basketball, not 20, so our best 20 is ahead of us," said Dekker. "It's our turn to do it."

It took less than six minutes to erase the problem. After trying to drive the ball from the top of the key in the first half, Josh Gasser (11 points) and Traevon Jackson (14) both attacked the lane from the wings, resulting in easy layups on UW's first two second-half possessions.

The Badgers stayed aggressive, as Dekker converted two free throws after crashing the glass for an offensive rebound and Gasser drove the lane before kicking to Dekker for a wide-open 3-pointer, forcing an Indiana timeout to try and stop a 9-2 run.

After missing 16 of 17 3-pointers over a three- game stretch, Brust hit three in a three-minute stretch that put UW ahead for good.

- Benjamin Worgull, BadgerNation.com

Last Meeting

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - Maybe Traevon Jackson made his buzzer-beating 3-pointer because Penn State forgot he was left-handed. Or maybe it's because of the free run Jackson had to his spot on the left wing.

What the Wisconsin guard cared about most was that the bucket allowed the 22nd-ranked Badgers to survive an upset scare from Penn State and win its regular-season finale 63-60 Sunday.

"It felt good. When the shot comes off your hand like that . . . I just kind of knew it was going to go in," the sophomore said coolly after the game, headphones draped around his neck.

The Badgers escaped Happy Valley with a hard-fought victory against the Big Ten's last-place team and stopped a two-game losing streak that dropped them out of contention for the conference title.

Jackson's shot may be the break the Badgers were looking for heading into this week's Big Ten tournament. In the locker room after the game, freshman Sam Dekker (14 points) told teammates the victory could be a "mojo-shifter."

"After losing two straight, we got down on ourselves," Dekker said. "That will hopefully be a momentum-shifter for us going into the Big Ten tournament."

Jackson finished with 15 points. Jermaine Marshall had a game-high 23 points for Penn State (10-20, 2-16), while D.J. Newbill added 22, including a jumper with 5 seconds left to tie the game at 60.

"We earned the right to win this one. That's why this one hurts," a solemn coach Patrick Chambers said. "To lose on that type of (ending) . . . you feel for them."

After Newbill's bucket, Wisconsin nearly threw the ball away on the ensuing inbounds but managed to hold on in the scrape on the floor after the officials called a tie-up.

Jackson took some of the blame for that near-turnover. He said he was too far from teammate Mike Bruesewitz to get a clean look at the inbounds play. But he did make a clean catch on the next inbounds.

The Nittany Lions pressed, but Jackson said he went unguarded in a dash up the left sideline to his spot on the left wing. Penn State's Kevin Montminy lunged with an outstretched arm, but it was too late.

Officials held up the shot upon review, and the anxious fans at the Jordan Center let out a collective sigh of disappointment.

"We can't get a better shot like that on an out-of-bounds play . . . He knew and there was no hesitation," Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan said. "Also (Jackson) is left-handed. That was the advantage."

- Associated Press

Series Notes

This marks the only regular-season meeting between UW and PSU. The Badgers swept the season series with the Nittany Lions a year ago, winning at home, 60-51, and pulling out a 63-60 win in State College.

In the most recent meeting between UW and PSU, Traevon Jackson drained a 25-foot 3-pointer as time expired to give Wisconsin the 63-60 win. He finished with a then-career high 15 points (3-for-3 on 3FGs), 5 rebounds and 4 assists.

UW has won 17 of the last 19 against PSU overall, including each of the last four. Penn State's last win over the Badgers came in the 2011 Big Ten Tournament.

The Badgers have won in 8 of their last 9 trips to State College.

Bo Ryan, a native of Chester, Pa. is 19-4 vs. Penn State all-time, including 11-0 at home.

PSU has averaged just 52.3 points per game over the last 18 meetings with UW, failing to reach 50 points in 8 of those contests.

UW has won 18 straight games vs. PSU when scoring at least 60 points.

Wisconsin Notes

Over UW's last four games, junior Traevon Jackson has turned the ball over just 4 times in 133 minutes of action, owning a 2.8 assist-to-turnover ratio - the top mark among Big Ten point guards over that span.

Despite his recent struggles, Nigel Hayes is still second among all Big Ten non-starters, averaging 9.7 ppg (.533 FG percentage) in league play. He is also second among all Big Ten freshman in scoring.

Virginia (14-2), Michigan (11-2), Iowa (12-3), Purdue (12-4) and Green Bay (12-2) have a combined home record of 61-13. With wins at each of those teams, UW is responsible for five of those losses.

The Badgers have held 10 opponents below 60 points this season and have limited six of their 15 Big Ten opponents to 40 percent shooting or less.

Penn State Notes

D.J. Newbill (17.6 ppg) and Tim Frazier (16.0 ppg) are ranked third and eighth, respectively, in the Big Ten and make up one of the highest scoring, rebounding and assisting backcourt duos in the nation. Penn State is one of two schools (MSU) to have two scorers in the Big Ten's Top 10.

Tim Frazier needs just two rebounds to become the second Big Ten player in league history to reach 1,000 points (1,482), 600 assists (619) and 500 rebounds (498). He will join Iowa's Jeff Horner (2003-06).

Newbill has the most total points (497) and field goals (168) of any Big Ten player this season.

As a team, the Lions are shooting 74.7 percent from the free-throw line, the third-best showing among Big Ten teams and 23rd in NCAA Division I. Five PSU players are shooting 70 percent or better from the charity stripe, led by Brandon Taylor's 86 percent effort (43-50), among players with at least 30 attempts.

Prediction

Losing six conference games in a row will deliver any team a certain amount of heartbreak, but the setback in West Lafayette had a particular bitter taste for the Nittany Lions. Penn State had a three-point lead with 16 seconds left before Terone Johnson scored a 3-pointer with seven seconds remaining to tie the game.

Instead of going into overtime, Purdue broke up an inbounds pass, Ross Travis committed a foul with one second left and the Boilermakers made a free throw with a second remaining to capture the win by one.

"That Purdue game was crushing," said Penn State coach Pat Chambers. "It really was for all of us, including myself. We needed a day off to re-evaluate, to be upset, to be disappointed and these kids came back (and) we had a great team meeting about forging ahead. We're close. We're right there. We just need to execute a little better."

Close games have had a far different outcome since that tough night at Mackey Arena. After losing three games by three points or less, Penn State is 4-1 in games decided by four points or less, including beating Nebraska by four five days after the Purdue loss. Including that win, Penn State is 5-4 since and swept Ohio State for the first time since 1998 by a combined three points.

"Hopefully we've learned from big victories and big wins where we can jump right back into practice, clear our heads and continue along on the process," said Chambers.

Eight of Penn State's last 13 games have been decided by a combined 20 points (average of 2.5), and Penn State's six one-possession games in Big Ten play is the most of any conference team. And if the series history between Wisconsin and Penn State holds true, expect another close game Sunday.

Dating back to the start of the 2010 conference season, the last eight meetings between the two teams have all been decided by 10 points or less, including last season's three-point win in State College and two years ago when UW rallied from nine points down in the second half to win by six.

"Bo Ryan does a great job of finding your weakness at critical points during a game," said Chambers. "He exploits it. Wisconsin is not going to hurt themselves. They take care of the ball, they do all the little things, they share the basketball, they made the extra pass. They're a good rebounding team, excellent defensive team, they don't hurt themselves. During a 40-minute game, that can wear an opponent down and we understand that."

Penn State has the ability to wear teams down, too. The Lions are fifth in the Big Ten in total field-goal defense with opponents hitting 41.4 percent of their shots, but are first in two-point percentage defense (43.8) among league teams in conference. Penn State has held seven Big Ten opponents to shooting percentages at or below 40 percent.

In comparison, UW has been held to 40 percent or less five times this season and just three times in conference play.

"They're one of the hottest teams in the Big Ten, if not the country," said Chambers. "Their style of play is unique. They've got great leadership, a veteran group, so it will be a great challenge for us."

Penn State can put points up in the paint and move the ball effectively, as evident by Frazier's Big Ten-leading 5.7 assists per game and Newbill's success scoring and work on the glass. While I think this will be a close game, I think the Nittany Lions won't be able to create the emotional high they had on Thursday for senior day. Badgers by eight.

Worgull's Record: 18-10

Points off Prediction: 259 (9.3 per game)


Badger Nation Top Stories