Get ready for a top 20 matchup at the Kohl Center tonight! The 13th ranked Wisconsin Badgers (13-2, 4-1) are back in action looking to extend their winning streak to six games. The number 16 Ohio State Buckeyes (10-3, 4-1) enter this evening’s matchup as the last team to beat Wisconsin. The Badgers and Buckeyes met on December 11th in Columbus. Ohio State emerged victorious, 73-55.
UW is hoping for a different result tonight. In order for that to happen, here are three keys to a Badger victory.
#1: Johnny Davis needs scoring help
Johnny Davis scored 24 points in the Badgers’ loss to Ohio State last month. Brad Davison contributed 13 points, but the other three starters combined for eight total points. In addition, Davis connected on 11 field goals, the same amount as the rest of the team combined. Wisconsin needs other players to step up and help Davis on the offensive end. While Davis has consistently proven he can carry the offensive, relying on him to score almost half of the team’s total points is dangerous as the Badgers continue Big Ten play. UW doesn’t need other players to have career nights every game to win; they just need others to step up and contribute a little more.
#2: Wisconsin’s bigs have to step up
Wisconsin’s big men did not come to play in Columbus. In his post game press conference, Johnny Davis called his front court out, saying, “I don’t think our big men really came to play today and battle with those guys.” Ohio State’s bigs had their way, both offensively and defensively the whole afternoon. Chris Vogt had seven points, and Steven Crowl never scored. Both big men only grabbed two rebounds, as UW was out rebounded 49-28. If the Badgers are to win tonight, both bigs have to play better on both ends of the floor.
#3: Slow down EJ Liddell
Without a doubt, EJ Liddell is one of the best players in the Big Ten. In their last matchup, Liddell scored 28 points in 31 minutes for the Buckeyes. He also grabbed nine rebounds, dished out four assists, and recorded two blocks. Liddell will be the focal point of Ohio State’s offensive attack, just like Davis is for the Badgers. However, if the Badgers are able to key in on him and slow him down even a little, they’ll pressure other Buckeyes to have to step up on the road.
If the Badgers can do these three things, they should be able to secure another win over a ranked opponent and continuing building a strong resume for March. Tip off is set for 6 o’clock tonight in Madison.