WISCONSIN BADGERS (14-6)
at OHIO STATE BUCKEYES (15-4)
Tip-off: Tuesday, 7:00 p.m. ET
Line: Ohio State -6.5, Total: 119.5
Wisconsin will look to continue its strong play against top teams as it travels to take on No. 11 Ohio State on Tuesday night.
With their slow pace of play, the Badgers have one of the nation’s most stifling defenses, limiting opponents to 54.9 PPG (7th in nation). They have kept their past two opponents—then-No. 12 Minnesota and then-No. 13 Michigan State—to an average of 46.5 PPG. Wisconsin upset Minnesota, but fell to the Spartans by two points. Meanwhile, Ohio State is coming off two consecutive wins since falling by three points on the road to Tom Izzo’s crew. But the Buckeyes are 11-1 SU (6-4 ATS) at home this season while Wisconsin is 1-6 ATS (3-4 SU) away from home this season.
Can Ohio State cover the moderate spread against stingy Wisconsin? For the answer, connect to College Basketball Best Bets for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. StatFox Gary has a strong 55% ATS (62-51-1) record for the season for college basketball Best Bets, while StatFox Dave is 53% ATS (101-91-3) on the year. StatFox Scott is 11-7 ATS (61%) in the past five days, and StatFox Brian has 12 non-losing days in the past 17 days.
Six-foot-10 senior C Jared Berggren (12.0 PG, 6.4 RPG) leads the Wisconsin offense, but is in the midst of a major scoring slump. In his past four games he is averaging just 6.0 PPG on 29% FG. He was the key player in Wisconsin’s upset of Ohio State last season though, scoring 18 of his team's 63 points. He’s joined up front by undersized 6-foot-6 senior F Ryan Evans (10.9 PPG, 7.8 RPG) who is feisty on the boards despite his poor shooting lately, going 8-of-29 (28%) in his past three games. Junior PG Ben Brust (10.4 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 2.9 APG) is the only Badgers player logging more than 30 MPG and is the team’s best long-range threat, hitting 2.0 threes per game on a respectable 39% clip. Freshman F Sam Dekker (9.3 PPG) has also stepped it up lately with four double-digit scoring outputs in his past five games, including in the team’s wins against Illinois, Indiana and Minnesota.
Junior F Deshaun Thomas (20.0 PPG, 6.5 RPG) sometimes feels like the entire Ohio State offense. Although he has just 13.5 PPG in his past two games, prior to that he had five consecutive 20-point scoring outputs. Last season, he destroyed the Badgers, averaging 19.5 PPG on 57% FG. PG Aaron Craft (8.8 PPG, 4.7 APG) is the other main holdover from last season's squad. He is mainly a distributor and a nasty defender, averaging 2.0 SPG. Junior SG Lenzelle Smith, Jr. (10.2 PPG, 5.8 RPG) is also key for this team on the wing, hitting 1.5 threes per game on a solid 40.3% clip. Also watch out for burly 6-foot-8 PF Evan Ravenel (6.4 PPG, 4.7 RPG) who plays just 18.9 MPG, but could be useful on the boards for throwing his 260-pound frame against Berggren and Evans. He pulled down seven boards in just 17 minutes of action in Saturday's 65-51 romp at Penn State.