The Wisconsin Badgers and the Ohio State Buckeyes match up for the first of two games between the two schools this season. After two road games, the Badgers are back in the Kohl Center, where they are 9-0 this season. The game will tip-off at 6:00 P.M. and will be televised on ESPN2.

Projected Starters:

Wisconsin:
G: Bronson Koenig (14.0 PPG, 1.9 APG)
G: Zak Showalter (8.4 PPG, 2.1 APG)
F: Nigel Hayes (13.5 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 3.2 APG)
F: Vitto Brown (7.3 PPG, 3.9 RPG)
C: Ethan Happ (13.4 PPG, 9.1 RPG, 2.9 APG)

Ohio State:
G: JaQuan Lyle (11.6 PPG, 5.6 APG)
G: Kam Williams (10.3 PPG, 2.0 RPG)
F: Marc Loving (11.6 PPG, 5.1 RPG)
F: Jae’Sean Tate (14.5 PPG, 6.7 RPG)
C: Trevor Thompson (10.7 PPG, 9.1 RPG)

The Badgers are looking to rebound after a disappointing loss at Purdue on Sunday. Disappointing not because of the loss, but because from start to finish, it felt as if Purdue was out of Wisconsin’s league. The Badgers were able to rattle off nine victories after their previous loss to North Carolina on November 23rd.

The Buckeyes, on the other hand, are still searching for their first Big Ten win. Thad Matta used to have the Big Ten fearing Ohio State with players like Greg Oden, Mike Conley, Evan Turner, and D’Angelo Russell, but the Buckeyes are 0-3 in conference. Ohio State is coming off of a loss in Minnesota on Sunday, and has been without 2016 Honorable Mention All-Big Ten junior Kieta Bates-Diop for most of this year. He was averaging 9.7 PPG, 5.2 RPG, and 1.3 BPG, but is done for the year after having surgery for a stress fracture in his left leg.

Ohio State faced Purdue just three days before Wisconsin did, and fared a lot better than Greg Gard’s squad, losing by just one point, 76-75, in Columbus.

Ethan Happ and Trevor Thompson will be a stellar matchup to watch. Both big men average 9.1 RPG, thus tying them for second in the Big Ten behind only Caleb Swanigan (12.9 RPG). The two rank among the Big Ten’s best in field goal percentage as well. Happ and Thompson are putting the ball through the hoop very efficiently, each converting shots above a 60% clip.

Point guard JaQuan Lyle has had a solid season to this point, averaging 5.6 APG, good enough for third in the Big Ten. Lyle has had two games in which he tallied double-digit assists so far this season. Senior Marc Loving’s scoring numbers have gone down, but he’s also seen a jump in efficiency from the field. Loving averaged 14 PPG last year, which has decreased to 11.6 PPG this year.

The Badgers and the Buckeyes met only once last year, a matchup that the Badgers would win, 79-68, in Madison. Nigel Hayes led the way with 21 points and six rebounds, but he received a lot of help from his teammates. Koenig, Happ, and Brown were all in double figures as well. JaQuan Lyle, who came off the bench for Thad Matta, exploded for 27 points on 11/19 shooting. Lyle went off for 26 against Illinois on New Year’s Day.

Four Badgers are from the state of Ohio: Nigel Hayes, Vitto Brown, Khalil Iverson, and D’Mitrik Trice.

 

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