- WHO: Wisconsin Badgers (9-3)
- WHERE: Bryce Jordan Center
- WHEN: 2:00 PM
- TV: Big Ten Network
- LINE: Wisconsin by 4.5
- Enemy Blog: Hoops Marinara
- Pomeroy Profile
Huge game for the Nittany Lions in the Jordan Center today against Bo’s Badgers. Ed DeChellis will be looking for his first career win against Bo (0-10). It is not going to come easy.
These games against the Badgers always seem hopeless to me. Wisconsin always dictates the pace of the game (usually 56 possessions or so), and Penn State has always had trouble defending them for. It generally went like this; PSU would guard for 30 seconds and watch Wisconsin get a backdoor layup. Meanwhile, Wisconsin stymies PSU’s motion offense and the Nits look terrible. They shut down Battle last year and they’ll look to do the same again.
Wisconsin looked great against the Turner-less Buckeyes on Thursday, and they already have wins against Arizona, Maryland, Duke, and Marquette. However, they’ve only played on true road game and they lost (Wisconsin GB, 88-84 in OT). We all know how dominant the Badgers are in the Kohl Center, but this UW team has to prove itself on the road if they’re for real conference title contenders this season.
Neither team has a particularly deep bench (both go 8-deep). The Badgers are led by underrated senior PG, Trevon Hughes and junior F Jon Leuer. Jason Bohannon continues his limited role as a shooter, while Jordan Taylor is a solid guard off the bench. This is going to be a tough game, but it’s one PSU can win.
I’ve long thought that PSU should try to force the pace a little bit in these games, but they never do. They won’t force turnovers on defense, and Wisconsin will make sure they don’t get 2nd opportunities. PSU is just going to have to outshoot the Badgers. They need to create good shots in the halfcourt and pressure the Badgers into bad ones on defense. If Talor Battle outplays Hughes, I think PSU has a shot. Leuer is going to be tough to guard, but I think the Lions can get enough help from other players to compensate. It would be a huge advantage if the Lions can get Leuer in foul trouble early. Tim Frazier could also be a huge factor for Penn State’s offense if he is able to penetrate around Bohannon and dish like he did against the Gophers early. A lot of good matchups in this game and it will be interesting to see how each team responds.
PREDICTION: I just can’t pick against the Badgers until PSU is able to end this painfully lopsided streak. I’ve seen too many ugly games from PSU in this series to pick them to win. I’m taking UW to cover the 4.5 with some free throws late, but I won’t be shocked if PSU comes away with a big W.