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Ohio State at Wisconsin Preview

January 09, 2007

College Basketball - Ohio State Buckeyes at Wisconsin Badgers (-4, 134) 9:00 PM EST

Tony Adams looks at tonight's hoop clash between Big 10 rivals, Ohio State and Wisconsin. The fifth ranked Buckeyes have finally shown they can win on the road this season, just in time for tonight's crucial test against third ranked Wisconsin.

Wisconsin is favored by four points with an Over / Under of 134.5 points.

Ohio State has lost just two games all season, on the road to powerhouses, North Carolina and Florida. Another loss at Illinois last weekend would have given the Badgers a big psychological edge going into this clash in Madison.

But the Buckeyes (13-2) buried their demons with a 62-44 win over the Fighting Illini. It was their second road win of the year, and they face the Badgers (15-1) with renewed confidence.

Wisconsin though, is another very tough road test. The Badgers have played 12 games at home, winning them all, and they are on an impressive 11 game winning streak, with their sole loss coming to Missouri State on November 24th.

Wisconsin's last game was a 68-45 win over Minnesota last Saturday. It was their first Big 10 game of the year and play was scratchy at times. Coach, Bo Ryan is looking for two big improvements tonight, a better start, and more commitment on defense.

The Badgers trailed early on before powering to a commanding 17 point halftime lead, but Ryan has told his players they can't afford to allow the Buckeyes to get the jump on them tonight.

Ryan has also emphasized to his defense the need to clamp down on Ohio State's leading scorers, Daequan Cook, Ron Lewis and Greg Oden, who are all averaging over 13 points per game.

Cook led the scoring against Illinois with 13 points, while their freshman center, Oden is proving a handful every time he takes the court. Oden was kept scoreless in the first half by Illinois, but still made his presence felt by pulling down a game-high 15 rebounds.

Even when Oden is not scoring, he still draws the attention of the defense, and it allows the Buckeyes' guards to shine. Cook, Lewis, and Jamar Butler combined for 35 points against Illinois, more than half their team's points.

Wisconsin is enjoying the best ranking in the school's history, and the Badgers could climb even higher than 3rd with a win tonight.

The go-to man for the Badgers is Alando Tucker, who is averaging a powerhouse 20 points per game this season. Tucker again led the way against Minnesota with 14 points, while their second leading scorer, guard Kammron Taylor, added 13 more.

The Buckeyes need to shut down Taylor's superb long range shooting as he has landed 27 three-pointers in 15 games, shooting 49% from beyond the arc.

Summing Up: Ohio State has more raw talent, but experience lies on the side of the Badgers. Tucker (a 5th year senior) is the best all-around player on the court, and Wisconsin does have some size down low to bother Oden, although their big men lack athleticism.

This one could go either way, but Ohio State will need to play their best game of the season to come away with a victory in "Madtown".

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