Fresh off snapping a losing streak, No. 16 Wisconsin basketball on Thursday will face a foe it had no trouble with earlier this season as we hit the home stretch of the regular season.
There really aren’t many ways to describe Ohio State’s trip to the Kohl Center on Jan. 12 — it was simply carnage. Except for blocks and free throws, the Badgers beat the Buckeyes in just about every stat imaginable: 3-pointers, turnovers, offensive rebounds, defensive rebounds, assists, steals, points in the paint, you name it. With the season now appearing lost, Ohio State can at least get some revenge for that treatment and throw a wrench into the Badgers’ hopes for a Big Ten regular-season title.
Wisconsin (22-5, 11-3 Big Ten) sits a half-game behind Purdue for first place in the conference standings (the Boilermakers edged ahead with their 74-70 win on Tuesday at Penn State. The bad news for the Badgers? Purdue holds the tiebreaker, meaning Wisconsin is going to need some help even if it wins out to get the first seed in the Big Ten Tournament (not to mention looking good for the NCAA Tournament committee).
The team has bigger goals, but a win tonight would guarantee the #Badgers a top-4 B1G finish for a conference-record 17th straight season.
— Zach Heilprin (@ZachHeilprin) February 23, 2017
Wisconsin basketball vs. Ohio State game time, details
Date: Thursday, Feb. 23
Time: 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT
Location: Value City Arena at The Jerome Schottenstein Center, Columbus, Ohio
The line: Wisconsin is a 4.5-point favorite.
What TV channel broadcasts Wisconsin basketball vs. Ohio State?
The game will be on ESPN.
How can I watch Wisconsin basketball vs. Ohio State online?
ESPN will livestream the game on WatchESPN as well as the WatchESPN app.
How can I listen to Wisconsin basketball vs. Ohio State on the radio?
The Wisconsin call for the game will be on Badger Sports Network. A list of affiliates can be found here, and the game can be listened to online here. On the Ohio State side, affiliates are listed here, and the online stream is here.
Who is calling the game for ESPN?
Rece Davis will have the play-by-play, while, prepare yourself, Dan Dakich provides color commentary.
Wisconsin basketball vs. Ohio State keys to the game
Bronson Koenig returned Sunday from a left leg injury that caused him to miss a game last week and provided an encouraging performance in a crucial 71-60 win against No. 23 Maryland. Koenig didn’t start or score any points in the first half. He made some big shots in the second half and ended up playing 31 minutes, which is a good sign for those hoping he’s at full health for the Big Ten Tournament. His defense still could use some improvement, though, so it’ll be up to Ohio State to exploit that as much as it can with JaQuan Lyle or Kam Williams, whomever isn’t being covered by Zak Showalter.
Rematch down low
Ohio State didn’t have many bright spots in its earlier loss to Wisconsin, but the Buckeyes can at least say they didn’t let Ethan Happ, one of the country’s elite big men, beat them. With Trevor Thompson leading the interior defense, the Buckeyes held Happ to 6 points — his lowest total of the season — on 3-of-10 shooting. Considering Thompson is one of two players in the conference with more rebounds than Happ (the other being Caleb Swanigan of Purdue), a big game in multiple phases of the game from the Buckeyes big man is going to be just about mandatory for an Ohio State upset.
Bench battle (or lack thereof)
The Buckeyes have been hurting for bench production, especially since Keita Bates-Diop was ruled out for the season with a left leg fracture. In total, Ohio State ranks 307th in the country in bench minutes, per KenPom. The disparity in depth between the two teams could be further exacerbated by the recent emergence of Wisconsin’s Brevin Pritzl, who had 7 points and 7 rebounds in 23 minutes against Maryland and recently was called “the best shooter in the country” by Nigel Hayes. With Pritzl looking like a usable piece, Wisconsin could run nine players in its usual rotation with D’Mitrik Trice, Charlie Thomas, and Khalil Iverson also backing up the starters.