The AP Top 25 Poll has the Wisconsin Badgers (12- 2 Big Ten, 26- 3 overall) ranked number one and the Ohio State Buckeyes (13- 1 Big Ten, 25- 3 overall) ranked number two. The ESPN/USA Today Poll has the Buckeyes as the top team in the nation and the Badgers at number two. So whoâ€™s right? Tonight by around 6:30 pm ET we should know. The two teams tip off at 4 pm today to see who is tops in the Big 10 and number one in the nation.
Yesterday, the Big East saw number 12 Georgetown (12- 2 Big East, 22- 5 overall) prevail over tenth ranked Pittsburgh (11- 3 Big East, 24- 5 overall) by a score of 61 -53, putting the Hoyas into sole possession of first place in their conference. Ohio State is currently one-game ahead of Wisconsin in the Big Ten. A Wisconsin win would tie the teams for the top position in their conference.
The line for Ohio State, the home team, is -4.5. In an earlier meeting in January, the Badgers beat the Buckeyes 72- 69. Over the past ten games, Wisconsin is 9- 1, having lost their last contest 55- 64 to Michigan State. The Buckeyes are 10- 0 over the last ten contests, including a close 66- 64 win over Michigan State.
Both teams have fairly similar offensive and defensive stats with Ohio State holding a slight edge in shooting from the floor and Wisconsin a similar edge on defense. For the Badgers, forward Alando Tucker and forward-center Brian Butch could be the difference makers upfront. Butch leads the team in rebounds per game, averaging 6.0, while Tucker is second in the category, bringing in 5.3 per game. Tucker is the clubâ€™s scoring machine, averaging 20.2 PPG. Point guard Michael Flowers offers balance to the Badgersâ€™ attack with 7.6 PPG, 3.8 RPG and 3.1 APG.
Ohio State brings four starters to the floor each of which average 10 or more points per game. Seven-foot center Greg Oden leads the teams with 15.5 PPG. He also tops the club with 9.7 RPB and 3.5 BPG! Brian Butch could certainly have his hands full against Oden. Guard Daequan Cook provides solid shooting from inside and out with 11.9 PPG. Heâ€™s also a rebounding force, averaging 5.1 per game. Point guard Mike Conley, Jr. has great court vision. He leads the Buckeyes in assists with 6.5 per game, while averaging 10 points. Guard Ron Lewis brings solid stats averaging 11.4 PPG and 3.5 RPG.
With a more balanced attack, more depth and power upfront and solid ball movement, the Buckeyes, who also have home court advantage, could be victors today. By how many points? Thatâ€™s a good question. It should be a close one with Wisconsinâ€™s Tucker being a major factor.