Well, Buckeye fans, if you are still scouraging the internet for JUST ONE PERSON to pick Ohio State to win tonight, you're out of luck. Like all four analysts on ESPN Gameday (Hubert Davis, Digger Phelps, Bob Knight and Jay Bilas) we're going with the Badgers tonight at the Kohl Center.
By no means do I think it will be an easy win. There are a lot of reasons for Ohio State to play their absolute best tonight. The Buckeyes can almost clinch an NCAA Tournament berth with a win at the Kohl Center and Evan Turner makes his first visit to the school he turned down. Turner is still close to UW assistant coach Howard Moore who recruited Turner at Chicago-area high school St. Joseph's. I'm interested to see what the fan reaction will be to Turner tonight.
But the reality of the situation is that the Badgers seem to have found whatever was missing earlier in the season. They are playing tough defense again and hitting their shots, especially at home.
Prediction: Wisconsin 63, Ohio State 56
Ryan's take: Wisconsin 65, Ohio State 62
The Buckeyes have shown they can outscore teams to get the victory (93-81 at Indiana), and they have shown they can play shut-down defense (64-58 vs. Purdue, 65-58 at Michigan). Saying this game is huge for the Badgers' tournament hopes is an understatement. With a national television audience watching, Wisconsin needs to show that the Kohl Center is still a proverbial snake-pit for visiting teams.
Ryan's bonus prediction: Chewing Gum 1, Thad Matta 0
I predict at some point during this game, the chewing gum inside the mouth of OSU head coach Thad Matta will fly out and land on the Kohl Center floor. My guess is he'll pick it back up and keep chewing.
Some highlights from ESPN Gameday at the Kohl Center this morning