NCAA Saturday Afternoon Basketball: Wisconsin/Ohio State Preview

by Alec McMordie

CBS features a high-profile showdown between two nationally-ranked teams from the Big Ten at 4 PM ET.

Wisconsin was embarrassed on January 12th in a 77-54 loss at Michigan. That was likely the worst defensive effort from head coach Greg Gard’s team this season. The Badgers have not allowed more than 77 points, and the Wolverines’ 51.6% field goal percentage was the highest mark that they had allowed an opponent to shoot all season.

Gard has successfully had his team tighten things up on defense since that setback. They held Rutgers to 37.3% shooting three days later in a 60-54 victory on the road. Wisconsin then kept Northwestern to 41.2% shooting on Wednesday in a 68-52 win over the Wildcats.

D’Mitrik Trice scored 12 points in the win. He leads the team with a 14.8 points-per-game scoring average. Micah Potter added 10 points, and he is scoring 12.1 points-per-game while leading the Badgers with a 6.7 rebounds-per-game average. Trice and Potter are two of the five seniors back from the group last year that was co-champion of the Big Ten conference with a 14-6 mark.

Wisconsin is tied in second place in conference play with a 6-2 mark. They trail Michigan, who is alone in first place with an 8-1 record. The Badgers have impressive wins against Michigan State, Minnesota, Indiana, at Rutgers in conference play, plus a high-profile victory against Louisville from their non-conference schedule. Wisconsin’s three losses are to Maryland, Marquette, and the Wolverines. The Badgers rank 10th in the nation in the Associated Press poll with a 12-3 record.

Ohio State had their three-game winning streak end on Tuesday in a 67-65 upset loss at home to Purdue. The Buckeyes led that game late before the Boilermakers made a 3-pointer with five seconds left to seal the victory. That loss spoiled the effort of Duane Washington, who made six 3-pointers and scored 21 points. The junior makes 39.3% of his 3-pointers, and he leads Ohio State with a 15.7 points-per-game scoring average.

The Buckeyes are 5-4 in Big Ten play this season with losses at Northwestern and Minnesota and two defeats against Purdue. They have defeated Rutgers twice with a signature victory against Illinois to help place them in sixth place. Head coach Chris Holtmann’s team bolsters their NCAA Tournament resume with a quality win over UCLA. With an 11-4 record for the season, Ohio State ranks 15th in the AP poll.

Wisconsin is 10-1 at home at the Kohl Center, where they are outscoring their opponents by 17.2 points-per-game. The Badgers hold their opponents to 58.8 points-per-game on 38.0% shooting when playing at home. Ohio State is 4-3 on the road with a +0.6 net point differential per game.

Ohio State guard C.J. Walker got upgraded to probable with his thumb injury. Jimmy Sotos is doubtful with a shoulder, and Ibrahima Diallo is out the season with a knee injury. Wisconsin is not at full strength either, with freshman Ben Carson out indefinitely with an upper-body injury and freshman Carter Gilmore questionable with an undisclosed issue.

BookMaker lists Wisconsin as a 5.5-point favorite with the total set at 132.5.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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