Anyone else have a sense of deja vu?
The Wisconsin Badgers (6-6 Big Ten, 13-10 overall) finds itself in a position where they must respond with a home win, after a week with off-court turmoil and a tough road loss.
After the 70-52 loss on the road to the Minnesota Golden Gophers (6-6 Big Ten, 12-10 overall) and the resignation of strength and conditioning coach Erik Helland — who was suspended for using a “racial epithet” around the players — UW will hope a win against the Ohio State Buckeyes (5-6 Big Ten, 15-7 overall) can help shake off the adversity of the week.
The Badgers pulled off a road 61-57 upset over the then-No. 5 Buckeyes in January, thanks to a late comeback where UW took the lead with two minutes left in the game. Junior forward Nate Reuvers had a team-leading 17 points despite hitting just two field goals all game.
Last game, Buckeye forward Kaleb Wesson dominated down low, earning a double-double with 22 points and 13 rebounds. Wisconsin will have to try and lock him down — something easier said than done.
UW will also keep looking for another option other than Kobe King. King, who has since left the program, was the second leading scorer for Wisconsin in January as he went 6-for-7 with 13 points.
Still, the Badgers have been comfortable in the Kohl Center this season. Their only loss at home was a 71-70 nail biter against the Illini during a tough month for UW.
Last home game, Wisconsin upset the Michigan State Spartans 64-63 after a turbulent week with a squad with just seven available scholarship players. Reuvers had a huge day with 15 points and shooting perfect from the floor, and junior forward Aleem Ford had 13 points including some momentum changing baskets.
At halftime, Wisconsin will be honoring the 1999-2000 team that reached the program’s first Final Four since 1941. That team, went 8-8 in the Big Ten and was only ranked an 8-seed in the Tournament before their Cinderella run.
Badger fans will be hoping this current team could have a similar story and fairytale finish. A win against Ohio State could help turn around a season.
Tip off is at noon.