The No. 6 Wisconsin Badgers (27-3, 15-2 Big Ten) head to Value City Arena in Columbus to take on the No. 23 Ohio State Buckeyes. Although this game doesn't actually affect Wisconsin in terms of the Big Ten race, a win on Sunday would really help Wisconsin in terms of seeding in the NCAA Tournament.
The Badgers kept it rolling on the road over the Golden Gophers, as Frank Kaminsky posted 25 points, six rebounds, an amazing 7 assists, and 2 steals. Sam Dekker added 20 points and 6 boards, while Nigel Hayes contributed 12 points and nine boards to close out the Badgers' double-digit scorers. Overall it was a quality victory for the Badgers, as Duje Dukan even hit a three-pointer too, which may be evidence that the senior reserve is slowly climbing out of his funk.
Ohio State (22-8, 11-6) is currently riding a three-game win streak, and just beat Penn State on the road 77-67. D'Angelo Russell contributed 28 points, six rebounds, three assists and three steals, while wings Shannon Scott and Jae'Sean Tate each added 13 points. Russell has been an absolute monster offensively and defensively for the Buckeyes, and is projected to be a top five pick in the upcoming NBA Draft if he declares (which he should). He is averaging 19.3 points 5.8 rebounds, 5.2 assists, and is shooting at 43.2 percent from behind the arc. Marc Loving is also a deadly three-point shooter from the wing, hitting shots from deep at an efficient 47.8 percent.
The Big Ten Tournament starts later this week and this game doesn't affect the tournament seeding for either team. Wisconsin is already locked in as the number one seed, while OSU will be the No. 6 seed playing Thursday. This game is actually quite important to UW's resume come Selection Sunday next week, though, as the men's basketball team has yet to score a quality road victory this season, failing in a top 15 road conference battle at Maryland in late February. Their best road victory came over Iowa in Iowa City. Given Ohio State is ranked 23rd in the country, it definitely would not hurt the Badgers to grab a victory on Sunday, as it will further the Badgers' case for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament, assuming Wisconsin glides through the Big Ten tourney untouched.
The Badgers need a victory on Sunday afternoon and it will without a doubt have to be a hard-fought win, as it is Senior Day in Columbus and emotions will be riding high. It is important that the Badgers get out into a comfortable lead early, depending on the recent hot-shooting Nigel Hayes and the swift drives into the lane by Frank Kaminsky and Sam Dekker. If they are able to accomplish that feat, expect smooth sailing for the Big Ten regular season champs.