Preview: #15 Ohio State at #23 Wisconsin

By Corey Carpenter on December 31, 2009 at 8:06a
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Trevon has thrived under Bo RyanWill Trevon lead the Badgers past OSU?
Ohio State Buckeyes #15 Ohio State 10-2, 0-0 Big Ten Roster | Schedule 2:00 PM ET - ESPN2 —— The Kohl Center Madison, WI Wisconsin Badgers #23 Wisconsin 10-2, 0-0 Big Ten Roster | Schedule

The Buckeyes travel to the great college town of Madison to open up Big Ten play at an ESPN-led tip off time of 2pm. OSU has lost 7 straight in front of the Grateful Red and without Evan Turner, it could easily become 8 this afternoon.

Today's game will mark the 6th time OSU and Whisky have faced off when both teams are ranked in the AP poll, with Ohio State winning 4 of the first 5. The Badgers are 2-0 against AP teams this season, taking down Maryland and Duke in back to back games, but took one on the chin when losing to Green Bay in OT a few weeks ago.

The Buckeyes are coming off their longest break of the season, nine days, while the Badgers squeezed one in against UIC this past Sunday. The break could potentially be harmful to the Bucks to start the game, if they come out rusty and the crowd gets rocking, they could find themselves digging out of a hole the rest of the game.

#NamePTSREBASSTPOS#NamePTSREBASST
4 PJ Hill 4.8 1.5 1.7 G 3 Trevon Hughes 16.4 4.8 2.8
33 Jon Diebler 14.4 3.2 2.1 G 12 Jason Bohannon 10.1 3.5 2.0
44 William Buford 12.6 3.8 3.7 F 52 Keaton Nankivil 7.9 4.2 1.3
23 David Lighty 14.4 5.5 3.1 F 24 Tim Jarmusz 3.8 3.7 0.9
52 Dallas Lauderdale 8.5 4.9 0.5 C 30 Jon Leuer 17.0 6.5 1.7

Opponent

Since Bo Ryan is still the coach at Wiscy, we know exactly what is coming OSU's way this afternoon. The Badgers will show patience of the offensive side, using picks very effectively and moving the ball around the floor until the best shot pops open, while they'll play a relentless, physical brand of man to man defense on the other end.

Wisconsin comes in scoring 73.5 PPG, on 47.4 percent shooting, including 36.4 percent from deep. The Badgers lead the B10 in scoring defense at 58.4 PPG, holding opponents to 39.7 percent shooting. Though Wisconsin is tied with OSU at 7th with 35 boards a game, they lead the conference in defensive rebounds, allowing just below 29 per contest. Not surprising numbers for Bo and his team.

Ryan has reduced his bench from year's past, playing mostly with a rotation of 7. Jordan Taylor and Ryan Evans are the only 2 other Badgers that have appeared in all 12 games. Taylor, a 6'1" sophomore, comes in averaging 8.2 PPG in almost 25 minutes of play, while also leading the Badgers in assists, at 3.5 per contest. Evans is a 6'6" freshman who can jump out of the gym and defend anyone, is getting 15 minutes a game, averaging 5 points and 4 boards.

Only 2 of Whisky's regulars are shooting better than 50% from the floor this year, Leuer is connecting on 59 percent, while Nankivil is right at 50. However, Leuer and Hughes are also in the top 5 scoring wise for the conference, as they enter B10 play. If the Buckeyes can limit the scoring of those 2, they have a chance to pull off the upset in Madison.

Buckeye Breakdown:

Hooray, B10 play is finally upon us and the Buckeyes are rewarded with 4 of their first 5 on the road and an opening date at one of the toughest venues around. The saving grace for the Bucks might be the actual day and start time, hopefully most students are gone and the rest of Madison is like most of us and have to work on NYE day.

The last time OSU had this much time off between games, they stunk it up to start at Butler. Granted, it was their first game without the Villian, but the long break will cause some rustiness and the Bucks must guard against an opening run for the Badgers. Too many times OSU has had to claw back from deficits in Madison and as you've read before, none of the comebacks have been successful recently.

In Turner's absence, David Lighty has averaged just under 20 PPG and has really put this team on his back over the last few games. At some point, his tenacious drives has to rub off on his teammates and make them force the action more like he does. The Badgers do a good job of cutting off those lanes, but OSU can't afford to stop trying today and settling for jumpers. Like Ohio State, Whisky is going to run with a limited roster and if the Bucks can force the issue and get them into early foul trouble, it will throw their rotation off a bit. Also, Dallas Lauderdale has to get some early touches on the block, to see if he can get a whistle or two and take his beautiful FT stroke to the line.

I will be interested to see if Thad chooses to exchange defense for offense tonight at the PG spot. Hughes can dominate a game and Hill has shown the ability to shut an opposing guard down. Last game, Jeremie Simmons only saw 5 minutes of action, watching Hill shut down CSU's top scorer, Norris Cole and hold him to zero points. The Bucks might try some zone as well today. Leuer can step outside and play like a guard, but Lighty might be able to hang with him one on one, if he gets to guard him. I don't think Lauderdale is quick enough if he is pulled outside.

As with the most games since Turner's injury, the key today will be the secondary scoring Ohio State gets from Jon Diebler and Will.i.am. Diebler has scored in double digits just once over the last 4 games, even though he has played all but 3 total minutes over that span. On the other hand, Buford has scored double digits in 5 straight and has upped his rebounds and assists in ET's absence.

Even before the season started, I chalked this up as a loss for OSU. The Bucks have struggled to score in this building and with the 9 day layoff, I don't see that changing today. It will be a hard fought battle from the tip and if the Bucks can limit Whisky's scoring until they shake the rust off, then they might have a chance. If they don't allow any 10+ point runs by the Badgers then they definitely have a chance, but in the end I think the Badgers hold on and take this one 61-57.

Etc

  • OSU is 35-58 all-time in B10 road openers.
  • Lighty's 30 against CSU was the first time a Buckeye has gone for 30+, since Jamar Butler did it back in January 3, 2008.
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