Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Jordan Taylor is underrated and dangerous
This will be the first time the teams have met this year.
Why this game presents trouble for Ohio State: Madison is a very difficult place to win. Coach Bo Ryan is a tough defensive minded coach who led the Badgers to the NCAA tournament in his first nine seasons at the helm. The Wisconsin program had only been to seven tournaments prior to Ryan’s arrival.
Coach Ryan’s floor general, Jordan Taylor, is arguably the best point guard in the Big Ten, with a conference leading 3.8 assist to turnover ratio and a scoring average of 20 points. This game promises to be a tough slow grind, which is a pace that does not play to the strength of the Buckeyes.
Senior forwards Jon Leuer and Keaton Nankivil pose unique challenges for the Buckeyes, as both players are just as good, if not better, playing at the three-point line. The 6’10" Leuer is shooting 45 percent from beyond the arc and the 6’8" Nankivil is shooting even better at 50 percent. If Leuer and Nankivil get going early shooting three-pointers, the Badgers' motion offense will be difficult to defend.
The Badgers rarely get beat wire to wire and generally are within striking distance at the end of the game. The largest margin in the five losses that the Badgers have suffered this year is only eight points. In four of their five losses, Wisconsin held the lead in the last five minutes of each game.
This game may be the most difficult game left on Ohio State’s schedule.
What Ohio State needs to do: Be patient, because the depth on the Buckeye bench should wear the Badgers down by the end of the second half. The Badgers have only six players who are averaging playing more than 12 minutes a game, whereas the Buckeyes have seven players who are playing more than 17 minutes a game.
Force Leuer to defend the paint. Coach Matta will be happy with Leuer picking up fouls and thus limiting his time on the floor, or Leuer being too exhausted on the offensive end to be an effective threat.
Keep the ball out of Taylor’s hands. The offense of the Badgers often becomes stagnant when Taylor is out of the game and limiting his time with the ball will frustrate the ability of Wisconsin to score.
Be satisfied with the small successes. The Badgers have only had one opponent on the season to reel off a run of more than 10 points against them and that was Notre Dame in just the sixth game of the season. Ohio State will need to be satisfied with 5-0 and 6-0 runs to slowly build their lead over the time.