Game: #14 Wisconsin (23-5, 10-5 Big Ten) at Penn State (14-14, 5-10 Big Ten)
Date: March 2, 2014
Time: 12:00 p.m. EST
TV: Big Ten Network
The Penn State Nittany Lions welcome the Wisconsin Badgers to the Bryce Jordan Center on Sunday for the final home game of the season. This is the only meeting between the two schools all season. Penn State will look to once again send the crowd home happy with an upset victory. On Thursday, the Nittany Lions shocked No. 24 Ohio State 65-63. They will look to keep the momentum going against the Badgers.
On Thursday, like much of the season, Penn State was led by the backcourt combination of Tim Frazier and D.J. Newbill. The pair combined for 39 points, with Newbill leading all scorers in the game with 23. He’s tied for third in the Big Ten, averaging 17.6 points a game.
Newbill and Frazier have been the team leaders all season and that will need to continue against the Badgers. The Penn State frontcourt has struggled with consistency this year, meaning that the guards have had to come up big. Along with Newbill and Frazier, John Johnson, Graham Woodward and Geno Thorpe have all contributed at different moments. Thorpe was the best off the bench against the Buckeyes, scoring nine points and adding three rebounds.
While the forwards have struggled, there have been bright spots with the group. One of those is forward Ross Travis, who’s one of the best rebounders in the conference, averaging 6.9 boards a game. He led everyone in the game on Thursday with eight rebounds. Brandon Taylor has also been effective at times this season.
If Penn State is going to pull off a second straight upset, is going to need a total team effort against the Badgers.
Wisconsin enters the contest in third place in the Big Ten and in the middle of a six-game winning streak. The Badgers are a tough team for anyone to deal with, as four out of five starters are averging double-digit points this season.
Leading the charge is forward Sam Dekker who averages 13.6 points a game and is second on the team with 6.3 rebounds. He presents a tough matchup for opposing defenses. Junior forward Frank Kaminsky has been playing very well as of late of the offensive end, scoring at least 17 points in three of his last four games. Kaminsky is tough under the basket and leads the Badgers in rebounding.
Senior guard Ben Brust is also in he middle of a great season and is one of the leaders on the floor for the Badgers.
Year in and year out under head coach Bo Ryan, the Badgers are a consistently good team that play a solid brand of basketball. While none would ever call Wisconsin flashy, the formula has proven time and again to be effective.
On paper this game could be a runaway with the Badgers fighting to improve their postseason resume. However, the Nittany Lions have looked good at times this season and are no strangers to beating ranked opponents. Penn State has no shot at going to the NCAA tournament unless it pulls off a miracle in the Big Ten tournament. Because of that, the Nittany Lions will be looking to leave it all on the court against the Badgers.
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