The Ohio State Buckeyes remember their last trip to Madison, WI all to well. In fact, they probably remember their last nine trips to Madison, all ending is losses to Wisconsin. With first place in the Big Ten on the line, the Buckeyes are primed and ready to end that streak.
The last time Ohio State(19-3, 7-2) won a game in Madison was 2000. They looked ready to break that streak last season, heading into the Kohl Center at 24-0, ranked #1 in the nation. To make matters worse, Ohio State led by 15 points in the 2nd half before Wisconsin rallied for a 71-67 win behind Jordan Taylor's 21-second half points.
This time, the Buckeyes will look to finish off the Badgers(18-5, 7-3) and build on their half-game lead over Wisconsin in the Big Ten standings.
Ohio State has won their last 4 games, all by double digits, including wins over Top-20 teams in Indiana and Michigan. Wisconsin has won 6 straight, having last played against Penn State on January 31 in a 52-46 win.
"I don't drive to work in the morning saying, 'This is the biggest game of the year. We have to do this ...'" Buckeyes coach Thad Matta said. "It's more like, 'Hey, we're playing a great basketball team, a top-20 team.'"
Though he seemed to downplay the matchup, he did eventually concede, "The fact that we haven't won there as a program, it does make you want to definitely win."
While Ohio State has been near the top of the Big Ten standings most of the season, Wisconsin has climbed back into the conference race with its six-game win streak following a three-game skid. The Badgers held on for a 52-46 win at Penn State on Tuesday despite shooting 35.4 percent, the second straight game they were held below 40.0.