Hoops Preview: Buckeyes Set For Biggest Road Test Of Year At Wisconsin

The No. 16 Buckeyes (10-3, 4-1) will be in Madison, Wisconsin Thursday night for a matchup against the No. 13 Badgers (13-2, 4-1) as Ohio State looks to sweep the season series. The Buckeyes enter this game coming off of their best offensive performance of the season in a 95-87 win over Northwestern on Sunday. Wisconsin has won five straight, with their last loss coming against Ohio State just over one month ago.

Opening Tip

Who: Ohio State at Wisconsin
What: Men’s Basketball
Where: Kohl Center – Madison, Wisconsin
When: Thursday – 7:00 pm – ESPN2
Why: Because there’s nothing like Madison in January.*
Line: Wisconsin -3, O/U 139

*Offer not valid in Madison.

The Buckeyes​

Buckeye Game Notes​

  • Ohio State heads to Madison, Wisc., looking for a season sweep as the Buckeyes and Badgers will tangle for the second time in just over a month on Thursday evening. Ohio State leads the all-time series with Wisconsin 90-73, but Wisconsin leads 47-31 in games in Madison. Included vacated games, this will be the 170th all-time meeting between the two programs. The Buckeyes won the first meeting this season 73-55 on Dec. 11 in Columbus behind 28 points on 11-of-16 shooting from superstar E.J. Liddell. Reigning Big Ten Player of the Week Johnny Davis scored 24 for Wisconsin but the Buckeyes made it tough as it took him 22 shots to get those 24 points. Ohio State is seeking its first official regular season home-and-home sweep of Wisconsin since 1992. (Note: The Buckeyes swept the season series in 1999 and 2000, but three of those four wins were vacated by the NCAA.)
  • Freshman Malaki Branham has stepped up the last three games. The reigning two-time Big Ten Freshman of the Week has scored 72 points (24 ppg) over the last three games, including a 35-point outburst at Nebraska on Jan. 2. That eclipsed the 63 points he scored in the fi rst 10 games of the season.
  • Jamari Wheeler has done a little of everything for the Buckeyes this year and that fact was no more evident than this past Sunday. Wheeler scored eight points, grabbed a game-high eight rebounds, dished-out a team-high six assists and swiped a season-high five steals in the win over the Wildcats. Ohio State’s 95 points against Northwestern were the most in a Big Ten game since scoring 106 vs. Penn State on Dec. 7, 2019. It was also just the second Big Ten game of 95 or more points for the Buckeyes dating back to the 2006-07 season. Other key players stepped up against Northwestern like Zed Key going 4-for-4 from the floor and Meechie Johnson Jr. and Cedric Russell combining to shoot 5-of-6 from long range.

The Wisconsin Badgers

What You Need To Know​

  • At 13-2, Wisconsin is off to its best start since 2016-17. The Badgers have built that impressive record against the 5th-toughest schedule in the country, according to ESPN: 4 Quad 1 wins, equaling the most in the NCAA; 8 wins over Ken Pomeroy top-100 teams, tied for the most in the nation; and 6 wins away from the Kohl Center, which trails only USC (7) and Auburn (7) among major conference teams.
  • Sophomore Johnny Davis is playing like an All-American. The Maui Invitational MVP, Davis is the only Big Ten player to lead his team in points (22.3 ppg), rebounds (7.3 rpg) and assists (2.7 apg). Ranked 4th in the nation in scoring overall, Davis recently scored 20+ points in 6 straight games including a 37-point, 14-rebound masterpiece on the road at No. 3 Purdue (1/3).
  • Named Big Ten Co-Player of the Week (12/6), Brad Davison ranks 18th in the Big Ten scoring 14.5 ppg. He is also 2nd in the conference, shooting 85.5% at the FT line and 8th with a career-best 2.3 triples per game. Davison ranks 8th on UW’s all-time scoring list sitting at 1,581 career pts.
  • Junior Tyler Wahl, a Maui Invitational All-Tournament team honoree, has scored double figures 4 of the last 5 games (2 straight), including a career-high 21 points to lead UW to a win at Maryland.