OHIO STATE BUCKEYES (18-6)
at WISCONSIN BADGERS (17-8)
Kohl Center - Madison, WI
Tip-off: Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET
Line: Wisconsin -4, Total: 119.5
Another marquee matchup takes place in the Big Ten on Sunday when No. 13 Ohio State visits No. 20 Wisconsin, coming off three straight overtime games.
Both schools are tied for third in the stacked conference with an 8-4 record, but OSU has dropped two of its past three contests, and is 1-3 ATS in February. The Badgers had their three-game win streak snapped on Thursday with a 58-53 road loss at Minnesota. These schools are meeting for the second time this season, as Wisconsin was held to 49 points and zero free-throw attempts in a 58-49 loss in Columbus on Jan. 29. That was OSU's third win in the past four meetings with the Badgers, but these teams have split the past 16 games SU (8-8 each), and 20 games ATS (10-10 each).
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Ohio State's offense is solid, averaging 71.6 PPG on 46.0% from the field (59th in nation) and 36.9% from three-point range. The Buckeyes also help themselves by committing just 11.1 TOPG (18th fewest in D-I). But where OSU really shines is on the defensive end, allowing just 59.1 PPG on 39.1% FG. PF Deshaun Thomas leads the Big Ten with 20.2 PPG thanks to a 46% FG clip (39% threes) and 83% from the free-throw line. He dominated the Badgers when they met last month, finishing with 25 points on 10-of-17 FG. Junior SG Lenzelle Smith, Jr. (10.3 PPG, 5.3 RPG) scored just five points that day, but has 12.3 PPG in the four games since. Junior PG Aaron Craft (9.5 PPG, 4.5 APG, 3.8 RPG, 2.0 SPG) has a strong 2.35 Ast/TO ratio this season and has scored at least 11 points in four of his past five games. That surge started with a 13-point game versus Wisconsin, when the 6-foot-2 player grabbed seven rebounds to make up for his four turnovers and just two assists. Backup PG Shannon Scott (4.8 PPG, 4.0 APG, 1.6 SPG) has been outstanding in taking care of the basketball, as his 3.28 Ast/TO shows. He had seven rebounds and five assists in Thursday's 69-59 win over Northwestern. Sophomore C Amir Williams (4.5 PPG, 4.2 RPG) has been quite a presence in the paint with a team-best 1.6 BPG for the season. In the past four games, he has 6.8 PPG, 5.8 RPG and 2.0 BPG.
Wisconsin puts opponents to sleep on offense, scoring just 66.8 PPG (191st in nation) on 42.2% FG (226th in D-I), but it commits just 9.5 TOPG (2nd-fewest in nation). This pace is a big reason why the Badgers give up a mere 56.5 PPG (11th in nation) on 39.9% FG and 30.1% threes to opponents. C Jared Berggren leads the Badgers with 11.7 PPG and 1.9 BPG, while adding 6.9 RPG. But since his solid effort in Columbus last month (11 points, 3-of-5 threes, nine rebounds), Berggren has gone ice cold, making just 1-of-10 threes to drop his season percentage to 28% from downtown. SF Ryan Evans (10.6 PPG, 7.8 RPG) was awful at Ohio State with two points on 1-of-10 FG, but has scored 11.8 PPG with 9.5 RPG in the four games since. SG Ben Brust (11.2 PPG, 5.3 RPG) was the hero in last Saturday's upset win over then-No. 3 Michigan, hitting a near-halfcourt shot to tie the score at the end of regulation, then hitting a big three in overtime as part of a 14-point night in the 65-62 win. But he cooled off considerably in Thursday's loss by making just 3-of-10 threes. Still, Brust has averaged 17.3 PPG during his team's past four games. Freshman SF Sam Dekker (9.0 PPG, 3.5 RPG) played very well on Thursday, scoring a game-high 14 points and grabbing four rebounds in 22 minutes of action.