GAME THREAD: No. 24 Ohio State Buckeyes vs. No. 14 Wisconsin Badgers

Graphic: Phil Mitten

Not long ago, this looked like a top-five matchup. Now, the Badgers and Buckeyes are largely just trying to find their way.

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Three keys to victory:

1. Play with a spark:

Wisconsin was asleep from the outset Wednesday and did not wake from its stupor until the game was essentially out of reach. The mental fortitude of this UW squad is never something I thought I'd question, but here I am. The Badgers have been hit with haymakers to the jaw a few times in recent weeks, and I've seen little ability for them to recover and punch back.

2. Make life hard for Lenzelle Smith, Jr.

Smith, Jr., is the Buckeyes' second-leading scorer at just over 12 points per game on the season, but in Ohio State's five Big Ten losses, he's averaging just 10 points on 34 percent (17-of-50) shooting. I haven't seen many of OSU's games this season, but from those I have watched, it is clear that the Buckeyes are a more fluid offensive team when Smith Jr., is having a good night.

3. Take care of the basketball

Wisconsin is still turning the ball over less than any team in the country (8.3 TO/game), but valuing the basketball is of paramount importance against a team like Ohio State. This game is going to be a low-scoring slugfest with minimal possessions, so every turnover will have a greater impact for each team. Whichever team hands it over the least is likely to be the winner.

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