Following two great games in the semifinals, the 2013 Big Ten tournament has its finalists. Meaning this Sunday, Wisconsin and Ohio State will battle it out for conference bragging rights.
After stumbling through the beginning of March, the Badgers have been on fire. They beat Michigan for a spot in the semifinals, and dominated Big Ten favorite Indiana to get to the finals.
The Buckeyes coasted past Nebraska in the quarterfinals, and managed to survive Michigan State in the semifinals for their spot in the tournament finale.
With the championship on the line, here's a breakdown of this Sunday's Big Ten conference tournament final.
Start Time: Sunday, March 16, 3:30 PM ET
Viewing Info: CBS
Key Player for Wisconsin: Jared Berggren
Wisconsin is a well-rounded team that plays shutdown defense and patient, yet efficient, offense. Leading the way for the Badgers is do-everything forward/center Jared Berggren.
The 6'10" senior has been a dominating force on defense for the Badgers. He's second on the team, and sixth in conference, in rebounding with 7.1 boards per game. He's especially effective on the offensive glass, with 80 total offensive rebounds.
Berggren is also tied for the conference lead in blocks per game with an average of two per contest.
But Wisconsin's star big man isn't just effective on defense. Berggren leads the Badgers in points per game (11.5) and is second on the team in field-goal percentage (48.2 percent).
Though he's not called on to do it often, Berggren can hit the far away shots as well. He's 19-of-75 (25.3 percent) from beyond the arc this season.
Berggren has been a key player for Wisconsin all season long, and that's been no different during the conference tournament.
He only had eight points against Michigan, but he managed two blocks. He was much more vital against Indiana, putting up 11 points on a perfect four-of-four shooting with three blocks and five rebounds.
Berggren has been the difference-maker for Wisconsin all year long, and there's no reason to think that will change now. If the Badgers hope to slow down Ohio State's offense, they'll need their defensive enforcer at his best.
Key Player Ohio State: Aaron Craft
Obviously a key component of every Buckeyes win this season has been Big Ten leading scorer Deshaun Thomas, but Wisconsin already knows he's a threat.
But the player the Badgers might not be ready for is junior guard Aaron Craft.
Overall Craft has had a good year, but not a great one. He's averaging 9.6 points per game (third-best on the team) while shooting 41.6 percent from the floor.
But Craft has been having a great month, shooting 66 percent from the floor for an average of 14 points a game in March.
Craft is also one of Ohio State's best turnover artists. He averages two steals a game, which will be key against a Wisconsin team that's great at holding onto the ball.
These two teams split the regular-season matchups, with Ohio State winning the first game 58-49, but dropping the second, 49-71.
In that first game, Craft had 13 points, and in the second he had four.
The Buckeyes have scoring punch, but that won't be enough to get over Wisconsin's defense unless they spread the ball around. That means Craft needs to continue to contribute, making him a key factor toward any win.
This could ultimately be the best game of the tournament, with Ohio State's electric offense facing off against Wisconsin's stout defense.
While both teams have played great to get here, it's hard to discount how good the Badgers' defense has been. And with a dominating win over Indiana in the semis, they look unstoppable.
When push comes to shove, Wisconsin's defense is just enough of an X-factor to keep Ohio State in check.
Wisconsin 54, Ohio State 50
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