Badger Nation's Wisconsin Preview

Part One of Scout's coverage on Tuesday's Ohio State/Wisconsin matchup previews Wisconsin's starting five and how Badger Nation's Benjamin Worgull sees the advantages in this top five contest.

Wisconsin's Starting Five

Guard Kammron Taylor

Taylor has started all 15 games for Wisconsin and leads the team in minutes played (30.7). After scoring 22 points in the season opener against Mercer however, Taylor has failed to score 20 points in the Badgers last 14 games. Despite not carrying the scoring burden, Taylor has averaged 12.5 points per game, which ranks second on the team, and has reached doubled figures in nine of his last 10 games. One of Taylor's best assets is his three-point shot. Taylor is shooting 49 percent (27-55) from three-point range, good enough for fourth in the Big Ten.

Guard Michael Flowers

Junior Michael Flowers does a little big of everything for the Badgers. Flowers leads the team in assists (49), ranks third in the Big Ten in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.58) and is third on the team in minutes (28.1 per game).

Flowers is Wisconsin's defensive wizard who routinely can be found guarding the opposition's best player. Flowers ranks second in the Big Ten in steals with 1.93 a game, which is second to Ohio State's Mike Conley Jr. in that department.

He isn't just a defensive threat, as Flowers has been known to make noise offensively. Flowers scored a career-high 21 points earlier this season in a three-point overtime win against Winthrop and added 11 points in the Badgers conference opener against Minnesota.

Forward/Center Jason Chappell

Despite starting every game for Wisconsin, senior Jason Chappell has failed to break the 10-point barrier all season. Chappell is fifth on the team in rebounding (3.1 rpg) and has grabbed seven rebounds twice this season. Although scoring most of his points in or near the paint, Chappell can shoot the outside jumper and will occasionally attempt a three-pointer if left unguarded.

Forward Alando Tucker

Arguably the best player in the Big Ten, fifth-year senior Alando Tucker has been the glue that holds the Badgers together. Just 176 points shy of scoring 2,000 for his career, Tucker leads the Big Ten in scoring with 20.6 points per game. Tucker has eclipsed the 20-point barrier nine times this season, including scoring a season-high 32 against then-No.2 Pittsburgh.

Throughout the season, Tucker saves his best scoring performances for Wisconsin's biggest games. In addition to his 32 points against Pittsburgh, Tucker scored 28 points at then-No.17 Marquette, 29 points at Georgia and 26 points in Wisconsin's only loss of the season against Missouri State.

In addition to his jumpers and alley-oop slams, Tucker has improved his game from a year ago in terms of his free throw shooting. Tucker is shooting 68 percent (69-for-102) from the charity stripe, which is a vast improvement from his 55 percent last season.

Center Brian Butch

After two disappointing seasons, the McDonalds All-American has final begun to blossom in Bo Ryan's swing offense. Butch does a lot of little things really well for the Badgers. The junior leads the team and ranks eight in the Big Ten in rebounding (6.7 rpg) and is averaging 8.6 rebounds in his last five games.

Butch has also found his shooting touch this season, which became evident against Pittsburgh. In front of a national audience, Butch scored a career-high 27 points (20 of those coming in the first half) and hauled in 11 rebounds in the process. For the season, Butch is shooting 52 percent from the floor, which ranks 12th in the conference.

Unlike other big men in the conference, Butch has unlimited range. He can score from the post, the wing and can hit the three if given the opportunity to. If Tucker is the team's general, Butch is the second-in-command.


Wisconsin's offense against Ohio State defense

The Badgers have been on fire offensively in their past five games, scoring above 80 points three times, including dropping 89 points on Pittsburgh. Wisconsin's offense ranks second in the Big Ten, scoring 77.5 points per game. While Tucker is the main scorer for the Badgers, Wisconsin gets good scoring numbers from different players each game, which doesn't seem to bother Bo Ryan in the least. The Badgers are also well-equipped to distance themselves from their opponents once they have the lead, beating teams by an average of 19.5 points per contest.

Other than freshman Mike Conley Jr. leading the league in steals (2.64 per game), the Buckeyes has struggled defensively, ranking third to last in the Big Ten in scoring defense (63.6 ppg). The Buckeyes also have allowed the two ranked teams they play to light up the scoreboard, with North Carolina and Florida scoring 98 and 86 points respectively.

With the help of Greg Oden however, the Buckeyes are outstanding shot blockers. Blocking 80 shots already this season, Ohio State forces opponents to think twice before driving into the lane. With the Badgers scoring their points from all over the court, the Buckeyes will need a solid defensive effort from their starting five and be able to shut down Tucker in order to win.

Advantage: Wisconsin

Ohio State's offense against Wisconsin's defense

Over the last six games, Wisconsin has limited their opponents to just 35 percent (137-390) shooting from the field. The Badgers last four opponents have only managed to score 46.5 points. On the season, Wisconsin is fourth in the Big Ten and 20th in the country in scoring defense.

Although they have faced some tough offenses this season, Ohio State will be Wisconsin's toughest test. The Buckeyes have four players ranked in the top 30 in scoring in the Big Ten and are the top scoring team in the conference. The Buckeyes have one of the best perimeter games in the Big Ten, consistently making close to 40 percent of their three-point attempts. When their perimeter game isn't working, the Buckeyes can dump the ball to Oden in the paint, where his size and strength make him nearly unstoppable down low.

Advantage: Ohio State


Thad Matta has been a breath of fresh air for the Ohio State basketball program since being hired from Xavier. Taking over after the Jim O'Brien scandal that forced Ohio State to lose post-season eligibility two years ago, Matta led the Buckeyes to a win over previous unbeaten Illinois that season. A year later, Matta lead the Buckeyes to a regular season conference championship, proving that Ohio State isn't just a football school.

Regardless, it's hard to argue with Bo Ryan's success. Ryan, who won his 500th career game earlier this season, ranks third all-time in Big Ten history with a .688 wining percentage. Under Ryan, the Badgers are even tougher at the Kohl Center. In his six seasons at the helm, the Badgers are 83-5 at home, including a 38-2 record in Big Ten home games.

Advantage: Wisconsin


This game is going to come down to which team is plays better defense and which team connects from the perimeter. Additionally, Ohio State has struggled against top tier teams on the road this season, which was evident by their losses at Chapel Hill and in Gainesville. Madison won't be any easier for the Buckeyes, as only Illinois has successfully defeated Wisconsin in Big Ten play under Ryan. If Tucker continues his stretch of big play against top teams, the Badgers should pull this one out.

Wisconsin – 82 Ohio State - 73

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