A couple of top-25 Big Ten teams will collide Thursday night as the No. 16 Ohio State Buckeyes (10-3, 4-1 in Big Ten) square off with the No. 13 Wisconsin Badgers (13-2, 4-1 in Big Ten). The Badgers will host this one at the Kohl Center, with tipoff scheduled for 7:00 pm ET.
After suffering a tough loss on the road against unranked Indiana, the Ohio State Buckeyes bounced back with a 95-87 win over Northwestern on Sunday.
In the win, E.J. Liddell led all scorers with 34 points while Malaki Branham added 24 for the Buckeyes.
Back on December 11, the Badgers struggled against the Buckeyes in a 73-55 loss on the road. Since that loss, they have won five straight matchups and will look for revenge Thursday.
In their last win, they barely held on against unranked Maryland for a 70-69 victory. Tyler Wahl and Jonathan Davis combined for 40 points and 12 rebounds in the victory.
The Badgers are the slight favorites playing at home. They are -154 to win while the Buckeyes’ moneyline sits at +115. The spread features Ohio State +3, and the over/under for total points is 139.
Of the two, Ohio State currently has the better odds of winning the National Championship at +4500. The Badgers are +5000 to win it all.
By The Numbers
Ohio State has been more productive offensively to this point. They rank 50th in the nation in scoring averaging 76.2 points per game (71 on the road). The Badgers rank 148th averaging 71.7 points (76.4 at home).
Defensively, it is all Wisconsin. They rank 68th in scoring defense, allowing opponents just 64.9 points per game. The Buckeyes rank 178th allowing 69.8 points per game (71.3 on the road).
Buckeyes Know They Will Have Fight On Their Hands
Back in December, just about everything went right for the Buckeyes. They dominated the boards and got stellar performances from their stars. This was all while the Badgers struggled to get any consistency in their games.
Fast forward a month, and the Buckeyes know that they will see a much different Wisconsin team, especially since they will be playing on their home floor. Still, the Buckeyes will look to sweep the season series over their conference rivals.
Leading the way for Ohio State is junior forward E.J. Liddell. On the season, he is averaging 20.1 points on 50.9% shooting. He is also chipping in 7.2 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 3.1 blocks per game.
Malaki Branham is the only other Buckeyes’ player averaging double digits. He is putting up 10.4 points and 3.5 rebounds per game.
Other key contributors include Zed Key (9.3 points, 5.7 rebounds), Kyle Young (9 points, 5.8 rebounds), Justin Ahrens (7.5 points, three rebounds), and Jamari Wheeler (6.9 points, 3.8 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 1.7 steals).
Badgers Hope To Avenge Early Loss To Buckeyes
Despite the early loss to Ohio State, confidence is soaring as they haven’t lost a game since that matchup. The Badgers will hope to use that confidence to avenge their earlier loss at home Thursday night.
Sophomore guard Johnny Davis has been sensational for the Badgers this season. In 13 games, he is averaging 22.3 points on 45.2% shooting. He is also adding 7.4 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 1.4 steals per game.
Brad Davison (14.5 points, 4.2 rebounds) and Tyler Wahl (10.2 points, 5.3 rebounds) have also been solid this year, but the Badgers will need a better outing from the pair as they combined for just 16 points in the first matchup.
Steven Crowl (8.7 points, 4.7 rebounds) and Chucky Hepburn (7.3 points, 2.1 rebounds, 2.1 assists) round out the Badgers’ starting five.
Take Ohio State And The Points
This game will undoubtedly be closer than when the two played at Ohio State, but Ohio State dominated Wisconsin in most facets of that first game. The biggest area was on the boards, where Ohio State was +21.
Again, this one will be closer, but it wouldn’t be shocking to see Ohio State steal this one on the road was another strong performance.
At the bare minimum, there is a lot of value in Ohio State +3.