What: Wisconsin (9-6 overall, 2-2 Big Ten) @ No.20 Penn State (12-3 overall, 2-2 Big Ten)
When: January 11th, 1:15 CT on Big Ten Network
Where: Bryce Jordan Center
Projected Starting Lineups:
Wisconsin: G Brad Davison, G D’Mitrik Trice, G Kobe King, F Aleem Ford, F Nate Reuvers
Penn State: G Jamari Wheeler, G Myreon Jones, G Myles Dread, F Lamar Stevens, F Mike Watkins
Wisconsin is now fully into the meat of their conference schedule.
Their New Year’s Eve win over Rider was their last non-conference game of the year before a tough eight game January that includes four games against ranked opponents, two of which are on the road.
The trip to Happy Valley for a matchup with the Nittany Lions kicks off three straight games against top twenty opponents Penn State, Maryland and Michigan State. The only game that is in the friendly Kohl Center is against Maryland.
The Badgers are a fantastic 7-1 at home but just 2-5 away from the Kohl Center. Going on the road has been an issue for teams throughout the Big Ten with teams going just 4-28 on the road in conference play so far. Illinois became just the fourth team to do so when they beat UW in the Kohl Center joining Wisconsin, Michigan State and Rutgers. Wisconsin will have to buck a league wide trend if they hope to add a resume boosting win and build some confidence coming off of a loss and heading into a brutal stretch.
The No.20 Nittany Lions are coming off of a loss in New Jersey to Rutgers but were winners of five straight before that and started the year hot at 5-0. Wisconsin will have tough task in front of them heading to the Bryce Jordan Center where the Nittany Lions are 9-0 so far.
When Illinois beat Wisconsin earlier in the week, it was the first time that they were able to do so since 2011. When Wisconsin and Penn State tip-off tomorrow afternoon, the Badgers will be riding a similar streak having won the last twelve meetings against the Nittany Lions and holding a 15-2 record overall against Penn State, but improving to 10-6 will be far from easy.
20th ranked PSU currently has six players averaging over 7.4 points per game while four players are in double digits for the year.
The side of the ball that will dictate whether or not the Badgers come away with a win is the defensive side where UW allowed Illinois to shoot a blistering 61.5% from the field in the second half.
The man who runs the show for Penn State is senior Lamar Stevens who is currently averaging 16.1 points per game. UW will more likely than not have Aleem Ford assigned to him. A season ago, Wisconsin did not anything special other than the man on man assignment which leaves a ton of responsibility on the junior. Stevens went for 22 points when they met back in March of 2019 but needed 19 shots to do so.
For the Badgers, they are coming off of a disappointing loss to Illinois but Kobe King went off for a season-high 21 points while Micah Potter scored 11 points for his high in a Wisconsin uniform.
As the college basketball world starts to look ahead to March and the big dance, Wisconsin will need to rack up big wins and they have the chance to do so with three straight tough tests but can also fall to 9-9 with a rough stretch and will need to avoid that. Can Wisconsin break notch their second big ten road win before hosting the Maryland Terrapins?