MADISON, Wis. -- Don't look now, but Penn State has beaten the Badgers in two of their last three contests, including a 36-33 win over Wisconsin in last year's Big Ten tournament. So the Badgers know better than most that the Nittany Lions can catch teams off their guard. With big games looming against Ohio State and Michigan State, it would be easy for Bo Ryan's team to overlook their trip to State College on Tuesday. But Ryan told the media during his weekly press conference that they're not taking Penn State lightly.
"Penn State is really playing hard," Ryan said. "They're pretty quick, they cover a lot of ground in their zone and their man ... at home they've been playing extremely well. But he's got them doing things in a system, and I think that's going to pay off for them even more so down the road."
Penn State is 2-7 in the Big Ten this year, with their two wins coming at home against then-No. 22 Illinois and Purdue. The Badgers will need to be on the top of their game if they want to avoid falling into the same trap, but it helps that they've had success thus far on the road. The Badgers are 6-2 away from the Kohl Center this season, including four wins in "true" road environments. Ryan said it all starts with the little things if a team wants to win on the road in the Big Ten.
"We just try to be as consistent as we can all the time," Ryan said. "In order to win on the road, you have to do (the little things) well. If you do those things ... you have a chance to win at home or away. And this team's been doing things to give them a chance."
The Week Ahead
The Badgers have two games this week. First, they'll travel to State College for a Tuesday night matchup with the Nittany Lions. After that, they'll host No. 3/4 Ohio State on Saturday afternoon in the Kohl Center. Going 2-0 this week would go a long way towards improving their standing in the Big Ten.
In The Polls
The Badgers moved up to No. 19 in the AP Poll on Monday from their previous spot at No. 25. In addition, the Badgers jumped up to No. 20 in the USA Today/Coaches Poll. The Badgers are the third-highest ranked team in the Big Ten, behind Ohio State and No. 10 Michigan State.
In The Standings
After Michigan lost to Ohio State on Sunday, the Badgers moved into a third-place tie with the Wolverines. The Badgers are just a game out of first place, and a sweep this week could give them a share of first place by the end of the week.
The Badgers are leading the country in opposing field goal shooting, limiting their foes to just 36.3 percent on the season. In addition, the Badgers are on a record-setting pace defensively, allowing just 49.6 points per game.
"As they used to say down south, he's 'quicker than a hiccup.'" -- Ryan on Penn State guard Tim Frazier
"Mike (Bruesewitz) is comfortable anywhere. Mike's comfortable on the ice, on the court, in one of those cages where they do Ultimate Fighting. I could picture Mike in one of those. He's an all-around guy." -- Ryan on Bruesewitz's athletic talents.