First place in the Big Ten is up for grabs as the Ohio State Buckeyes (19-3, 7-2) travel to the Kohl Center to take on the Wisconsin Badgers (18-5, 7-3).
Wisconsin got off to a slow start in conference play but has won six in a row to pull within a half-game of Ohio State. Here's a deeper look at what should be an intense battle.
Where: Kohl Center, Madison, Wisconsin
When: Saturday, Feb. 4, 2:00 p.m EST
Watch: ESPN, or stream live on ESPN3
No line has been established yet, but the fact that Wisconsin is at home and has been on fire lately should make it fairly close. A one- or two-point spread either way wouldn't surprise me.
According to USA Today, there are no major injuries to report.
What's at Stake?
First place in the Big Ten. There's still another month of conference play to go, but there's only a game separating the top four teams.
A win here would be huge for either team. Wisconsin doesn't want to drop a fourth home game. Ohio State has a tougher remaining schedule, so the Buckeyes arguably have the most work left to do.
What's more, the Buckeyes look like a current No. 1 seed and will need to keep winning if they want to hold on to that.
But hey, other than those things, nothing.
What They're Saying
ESPN Stats and Info points out that this will be a low-scoring game:
"The Buckeyes and Badgers rank first and second, respectively, in the country in adjusted defensive efficiency, according to kenpom.com, and both rank among the top 25 teams nationally in field goal percentage allowed."
Though, it's the Big Ten. What game isn't low scoring?
Also, this may be a basketball game, but the recent recruiting flap seems to be driving this rivalry to a whole new place.
Mike Fiammetta of the Badger Herald takes a deeper look into the rivalry of these two teams.
The hardcourt battle comes at the perfect time, and while these guys don't necessarily care about the gridiron, tempers might be at an all-time high.
Ohio State Player to Watch: Jared Sullinger
The big man has been up-and-down this year, but when the offense rolls through him, the Buckeyes are a much better team.
He's averaging 17 points and nine rebounds on the year, and he'll have to be tough against Wisconsin's hard-nosed defense.
Wisconsin Player to Watch: Jordan Taylor
He was seen as the nation's best point guard coming into the year, but he struggled mightily. As it goes, though, he has upped his game as of late, and it has turned into wins for the Badgers.
Most importantly, he's taken care of the ball during Wisconsin's winning streak. He'll have to continue to do that.
Key Matchup: Taylor vs. Aaron Craft
Jordan Taylor has to be effective for Wisconsin to win, but he'll have to do against the stingiest perimeter defender in the nation in Aaron Craft.
Craft is averaging over two steals per game and can be an absolute menace against opposing guards. This is going to be a fun matchup to watch.
Wisconsin has been better as of late, but I still worry about its ability to actually put the ball through the net. The defense is good, but probably not good enough.
Even at home.
Ohio State 55, Wisconsin 48
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