NCAA BK

Sun, Mar 17, 2013 - 3:30 PM ET
Game Preview
 

Wisconsin-Ohio St. Preview

Share This Story

   
 

Revenge may be nice, but for Ohio State, a third Big Ten tournament title in four years would be better.

The 10th-ranked Buckeyes have a prime opportunity for both as well as a chance to bolster their NCAA tournament seed on Sunday at the United Center versus No. 22 Wisconsin, which has a chance to make history of its own in Chicago.

Coach Thad Matta's team suffered its worst loss of the season at the Kohl Center on Feb. 17, falling 71-49 as the Badgers (23-10) shot a season-high 52.7 percent while limiting the Buckeyes (25-7) to 37.5 percent, one of their worst efforts in 2012-13. It was the last defeat for second-seeded Ohio State, which has reeled off seven straight wins and is in the Big Ten title game for the fifth consecutive year after battling past No. 8 Michigan State 61-58 in the second semifinal on Saturday.

"We've got to be ready from the tip off against them, because last game we weren't kind of ready," said Buckeyes leading scorer Deshaun Thomas, who scored 16 points in the semifinal win. "But now we've got to be ready and focused because we know Wisconsin is going to hold that ball and try to run the clock to the end."

Aaron Craft, who endured a miserable day in that loss in Madison - going 2 for 9 and finishing with four points - had 20 against the Spartans and is scoring 12.3 points per game on 58.9 percent shooting during the winning streak to raise his average to 9.9.

''You look at what he's accomplished thus far in his career at Ohio State and just the wins and the big plays that he's made - in coaching, you don't get to coach a lot of guys like him just from A to Z and everything he stands for,'' Matta said of Craft, who added nine assists and four steals. ''He kind of makes us go on both ends of the floor. ... A lot of people panicked when he wasn't scoring in the middle of the season, and I'm like, `I don't have a problem with it. It'll come.'''

Thomas has averaged 20.5 points in his last four games versus Wisconsin and had 25 in Ohio State's 58-49 home victory Jan. 29.

The Buckeyes are trying to become the first Big Ten school to win four conference tournament titles since it was introduced in 1998. Their eight championship game appearances are the most of any team.

To claim that fourth title, Ohio State may need every point Craft and Thomas score. Wisconsin, the No. 4 seed, is trying to become the first team to win the Big Ten tournament by beating the top two seeds and accomplished the first part by eliminating conference champion and third-ranked Indiana 68-56 in the early semifinal on Saturday.

Ryan Evans scored 16 points and freshman Sam Dekker added nine of his 11 in the second half, but it was the Badgers' trademark sticky defense that keyed the victory, holding the high-powered Hoosiers to seven points over the final 9:45 to pull away for the victory.

"I just again can't tell you how proud I am of the defensive effort on a very good offensive team," said coach Bo Ryan, who is seeking his third Big Ten tournament title and first since his last championship game appearance in 2008. "Again, it's nice to be able to play in a championship game. I know our guys are looking forward to that, and we'll see what happens in the next game."

Dekker may be the crucial factor offensively for the Badgers, who are 15-4 when he reaches double figures. He had 13 in the home victory over the Buckeyes, but only five in the road loss.

Wisconsin is making its fifth championship game appearance, having lost to Ohio State in the 2007 title game, and is 1-3 all-time against the Buckeyes in Big Ten tournament games.

Tagged: Ohio State, Wisconsin, Ohio, Aaron Craft, Deshaun Thomas

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by



NCAA BK Videos

Georgetown, Syracuse to renew CBK rivalry Posted: Jun 10, 2014
Georgetown basketball coach John Thompson III on the renewal of the rivalry betw...

Cuonzo Martin new head coach at Cal Posted: Apr 16, 2014
Cuonzo Martin is introduced as Cal's new head coach.

UConn tops Notre Dame in women's final Posted: Apr 09, 2014
Hear from Geno Auriemma and his players after their National Championship victor...

More Than Sports on MSN

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Nike Florida Gators #1 Replica Elite Basketball Jersey - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Florida_Gators/browse/featuredproduct/885881/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_885000/ff_885881_xl.jpg&w=100 74.95 Nike Florida Gators #1 Replica Elite Basketball Jersey - Black
    Nike Georgetown Hoyas #22 Hyper Elite Road Performance Jersey - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Georgetown_Hoyas/browse/featuredproduct/1030243/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1030000/ff_1030243_xl.jpg&w=100 119.95 Nike Georgetown Hoyas #22 Hyper Elite Road Performance Jersey - Navy Blue
    Nike Duke Blue Devils #5 Tourney Takeover Replica T-Shirt - Duke Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Duke_Blue_Devils/browse/featuredproduct/1032710/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1032000/ff_1032710_xl.jpg&w=100 27.95 Nike Duke Blue Devils #5 Tourney Takeover Replica T-Shirt - Duke Blue
    Nike Oregon Ducks X-Ray Ball T-Shirt - Green http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oregon_Ducks/browse/featuredproduct/1052002/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1052000/ff_1052002_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Oregon Ducks X-Ray Ball T-Shirt - Green
    Nike Ohio State Buckeyes Road Warrior Tri-blend T-Shirt - Scarlet http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Ohio_State_Buckeyes/browse/featuredproduct/1052645/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1052000/ff_1052645_xl.jpg&w=100 29.95 Nike Ohio State Buckeyes Road Warrior Tri-blend T-Shirt - Scarlet
    Indiana Hoosiers 2013 NCAA Men\'s Basketball Road to March Madness T-Shirt - Crimson http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Indiana_Hoosiers/browse/featuredproduct/1124528/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1124000/ff_1124528_xl.jpg&w=100 19.95 Indiana Hoosiers 2013 NCAA Men\'s Basketball Road to March Madness T-Shirt - Cri..
    adidas Louisville Cardinals 2013 March Madness #10 Premier Swingman Jersey - Red http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Louisville_Cardinals/browse/featuredproduct/1127200/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1127000/ff_1127200_xl.jpg&w=100 89.95 adidas Louisville Cardinals 2013 March Madness #10 Premier Swingman Jersey - Red
    adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish 2013 March Madness #45 Premier Swingman Jersey - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Notre_Dame_Fighting_Irish/browse/featuredproduct/1127218/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1127000/ff_1127218_xl.jpg&w=100 89.95 adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish 2013 March Madness #45 Premier Swingman Jersey ..
    Nike Gonzaga Bulldogs March Madness Bracketville T-Shirt - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Gonzaga_Bulldogs/browse/featuredproduct/1155821/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1155000/ff_1155821_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Gonzaga Bulldogs March Madness Bracketville T-Shirt - Navy Blue
    Top of the World Miami Hurricanes 2013 NCAA ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament Champions Adjustable Hat – Green http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Miami_Hurricanes/browse/featuredproduct/1177723/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1177000/ff_1177723_xl.jpg&w=100 25.95 Top of the World Miami Hurricanes 2013 NCAA ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament Cham..