Buckeyes Host Badgers
Brian Butch and Wisconsin hope their visit to Columbus on Sunday goes much better than their last trip there.
Almost a year to the day after Butch suffered a season-ending elbow injury at Value City Arena, the No. 11 Badgers visit Ohio State looking to take over sole possession of first place in the Big Ten.
Oddsmakers from Bodog have made Ohio State -1 point spread favorites (View College Basketball odds) for today’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 74% of bets for this game have been placed on Wisconsin +1 (View College Basketball bet percentages).
Butch, who is averaging career highs of 12.4 points and 6.9 rebounds, is returning to Columbus for the first time since Feb. 25, when Wisconsin (22-4, 12-2) lost 49-48 to the Buckeyes in a game that decided the Big Ten regular-season title. The Badgers - a potential Final Four team - were ranked No. 1 and the Buckeyes No. 2 entering that game, and they lost more than just a chance at the conference title in the loss after Butch dislocated his elbow early in the first half.
Butch missed both the Big Ten and NCAA tournaments, leaving the Badgers without their most productive big man. They went on to lose to Ohio State (17-9, 8-5) in the Big Ten tournament title game and despite being a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament, failed to make it past the second round.
The 6-foot-11 senior returned healthy this season and has helped lead Wisconsin into a tie with No. 14 Purdue, which is idle until Wednesday, and No. 15 Indiana - an 85-82 winner at Northwestern on Saturday - atop the conference standings.
"The Big Ten, this is what it's all about," coach Bo Ryan said. "Yeah, we would like a piece of the conference championship."
Wisconsin, which has won six of seven, is looking to win its fourth straight. The Badgers are coming off a 71-57 win at Illinois on Wednesday as Trevon Hughes scored 18 points and Marcus Landry added 17.
Butch was held to eight points and five rebounds in 18 minutes after reaching double figures in points the previous five games.
It was the second straight game Wisconsin held an opponent to fewer than 60 points. The Badgers, who have one of the best scoring defenses in the nation at 55.4 points per game, are 18-0 when holding opponents under 60.
Wisconsin has lost its last two visits to Value City Arena, and the Buckeyes are 12-2 there, although both losses are against ranked opponents.
Ohio State has alternated wins and losses its last six games, and coming off an 80-70 loss at Michigan last Sunday. The Buckeyes committed 14 turnovers and were outscored 20-2 at the foul line.
Kosta Koufos had 18 points and 11 rebounds, while leading scorer Jamar Butler, who is the only returning starter from last season's team, had 14 points and six assists.
Sunday begins a difficult stretch for the Buckeyes. They visit Indiana on Tuesday and Minnesota on Saturday before closing the regular season at home against Purdue and No. 19 Michigan State.
"We're just focused on every day. If we look towards the future that's what's going to mess us up," Koufos said. "We've just to stay focused for this game."
by: Staff Writers - Email Us
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