Never Forget 31-0
Wisconsin looks to rebound in Columbus
By Benjamin Worgull Badger Herald
Madison, WI (U-WIRE) -- After Tom Izzo and the Spartans notched their first win in seven tries against Bo Ryan's Badgers, Wisconsin (18-6, 9-4 Big Ten) will now set its sights on the Ohio State Buckeyes (18-9, 7-6 Big Ten) for a Sunday afternoon matchup in Columbus, Ohio.
Ohio State is looking to avenge a 72-66 loss at the Kohl Center in early January. In that game, in which Wisconsin forward Alando Tucker sat out with a foot injury, Ohio State cut a 13-point deficit to four with just 47 seconds left. However, Wisconsin guard Clayton Hanson sank two free throws to seal the win for the Badgers.
In the Buckeyes' last game, against Minnesota, Ohio State fell victim to the same fate that met the Badgers in Minneapolis, as forward Vincent Grier turned in a standout performance. The talented junior led the Gophers with 14 points and 10 rebounds as Minnesota edged Ohio State 52-50 at Williams Arena. Terence Dials led the way for the Buckeyes with a game-high 19 points. The 50 points from Ohio State was the Buckeyes' lowest offensive output of the year, and the loss snapped their two-game conference win streak.
Ohio State enters Sunday's game with a veteran starting lineup, which includes senior guards Brandon Fuss-Cheatham and Tony Stockman, senior center Matt Marinchick and junior forward Terence Dials. These four veterans have combined to suit up for more than 300 games in their careers.
The experienced Buckeyes rank second in the Big Ten in field goal defense (.416), 3-point field goal defense (.317), turnover margin (+3.07) and assist/turnover ratio (1.32). While Thad Matta's squad has held opponents to a sub-par field goal percentage this season, the Buckeyes rank eighth in the conference in scoring defense, allowing 63.7 points per game. The Badgers lead the Big Ten in scoring defense (60.2 points allowed per game).
On the offensive end, Dials has been the Buckeyes' go-to guy this season. The forward has started all 27 games, averaging a team-high 15.5 points per game and shooting 56.6 percent from the field.
However, the big story in Columbus this season has been the off-the-court troubles that have plagued the Buckeyes. Amidst allegations of illegal fiscal handouts from Ohio State boosters and former Ohio State men's basketball coach Jim O'Brien suing the university over his firing, Ohio State Athletic Director Andy Geiger imposed a one-year ban on post-season play for the men's basketball team. This ban includes NCAA and NIT bids, but the Buckeyes will be permitted to play for the Big Ten regular season and tournament titles. With Ohio State on pace to win 20 games this year, the ban comes at an unfortunate time for the Buckeyes.
As far as the Badgers are concerned, Ryan's squad will look to secure a win in Columbus, where they have struggled historically. Wisconsin holds a 19-50 all-time record in games played in Ohio. However, Wisconsin swept Ohio State last season and has won six of the last eight games between the two teams. Over the last five games of the series, Wisconsin has held the Ohio State offense to 59.9 points per game.
Sunday's contest marks the second road game for Wisconsin in four days, part of an arduous stretch that has Wisconsin playing three games in six days. Wisconsin finishes this stretch with a home game Tuesday against Indiana.
"At this time of the year, we are trying to stay sharp because we know what we have coming up," Ryan said. "We know the caliber of the teams we are playing and we know that every night we're going to be challenged ... when it comes to the Big Ten Tournament, you could end up playing three games in three days. So this is good for our club." (C) 2004 Badger Herald via U-WIRE
They may have won 6 of 8 but we should have beat them in the earlier meeting this year, I expect we will beat them in front of a sell out crowd.