Entering this game on a four game losing streak, Wisconsin basketball returns home tomorrow. The Badgers will take on Ohio State at the Kohl Center. Wisconsin won the first meeting 71-60 in Columbus on January 10. Wisconsin basketball needs a win bad. On the other hand, Ohio State is on the outside looking in for the NCAA Tournament. A win would boost their tournament resume. Tip time is 8 PM on Peacock. Here is a preview of tomorrow’s game.
A Battle of the Guards
Tomorrow’s game comes down to if Wisconsin basketball can stop the Ohio State guards. Bruce Thornton and Jamison Battle killed the Badgers in the first meeting, but credit Wisconsin for containing them in the second half.
Roddy Gayle Jr struggled in the first game, but he is the most athletic player on the Ohio State roster. He is potentially a matchup problem for a player like Max Klesmit or AJ Storr. I think Storr defends Gayle Jr, Hepburn on Thornton, and Klesmit on Battle.
On the other hand, it’s time for Max Klesmit and Chucky Hepburn to start playing like upperclassmen. Klesmit has been excellent this season, but is in a funk during this losing streak. He had 18 points in the second half at Columbus and was a the reason Wisconsin basketball won that game. Hepburn just isn’t looking to shoot the ball much, if at all. This seems like a game where the Badgers could use 15 points from their point guard.
Which Wisconsin Basketball Team Shows Up?
Like most, I thought the Badgers would go into Rutgers with a fire lit under them. It was the complete opposite. Wisconsin basketball turned the ball over on their first three possessions and fell behind 9-0 right away. They never looked comfortable and laid down when Rutgers punched them in the mouth. It was a really discouraging performance from a veteran team.
Is tomorrow night the Badgers team we see that plays with energy off the tip? I’ll be honest: I am not sure. However, sometimes it takes a little embarrassment and humiliation for that fire to be lit. We will see if that is the case for this Wisconsin basketball team.
I can’t really think of a reason to believe Wisconsin basketball will all of a sudden figure this out. We don’t know if Steven Crowl and Chucky Hepburn are going through an injury, but they have been awful during this losing streak outside of Hepburn’s Nebraska and Michigan games.
Steven Crowl is a valuable member of this team. A lot of what they want to do on offense centers around him getting paint touches, He should not be shooting the ball only 1-4 times a game. That can’t happen.
Can Wisconsin get back to the basics? Some of the fundamentals in basketball is take care of the ball and play good defense. Right now? They are struggling to do that. I am not all that concerned about the offense because that comes and goes over the course of a year. I think once the turnovers and defense gets figured out, then I believe the offense will come along.
The Buckeyes guards are a problem. You have a good jump shooter, a good three points shooter, and the ability to get to the rim with ease. The Badgers have not put the best effort on the defensive side. If they let Ohio State get high percentage shots, they will lose.
I have not reason to pick the Badgers. Unless they can go out and dominate a game for 40 minutes, it feels like every game is a 50/50 coin toss as to which team shows up. I just can’t see this team losing to the home crowd for the second straight time. Give me Wisconsin basketball, but I am not confident about it.
Wisconsin 74 Ohio State 68
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