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Penn State at Wisconsin Preview

Who: #15 Wisconsin Badgers (19-7, 8-5)
When: Today, 4:00 PM
Where: Kohl Center
TV: Big Ten Network
Radio: Affiliates, Sirius - CH 92, XM - CH 191

Coach Chambers and the basketball team is on the dreaded road once again for their first trip to Madison this season. The vaunted Kohl Center hasn't performed up to its usual standards this season. Wisconsin has just a 3-3 record at home in conference play, losing to Michigan State, Ohio State, and Iowa.

In the first meeting between these teams, Wisconsin gritted out a tough 52-46 win behind Jordan Taylor's late heroics. The game went by the numbers as both teams stunk up the floor with their shooting. It was a very ugly game until a nice showdown between two of the Big Ten's best point guards led to an exciting finish.

Since that game nearly three weeks ago, Wisconsin has only played 3 games where they went 1-2. They lost games to Ohio State and Michigan State which essentially knocked them out of the conference-title race, but they're still firmly entrenched in the Top-25, a lock for the NCAA tournament, and just one win away from their 6th straight 20+ win season.

PSU (road) Conference-Only Wisconsin (home)
64.3 Pace 58.1
0.88 PPP 1.00
40.6% eFG% 42.8%
31.6% OReb% 33.3%
19.4% TO% 14.7%
29.4% FTR 31.7%
1.14 Opp PPP 0.97
56.7% Opp eFG% 45.4%
29.9% Opp OReb% 29.9%
19.5% Opp TO% 15.5%
59.0% Opp FTR 26.7%

Finally we can put into numbers how terrible Penn State has been on the road in the Big Ten this year. Penn State is significantly worse in every factor on the road than when they play at home. They rebound better, they don't foul as much, and they take better care of the basketball in the BJC compared to the road.

Wisconsin has struggled all year shooting the basketball, which has been the main reason for some of their slumps this season. What's strange is how much worse they've shot on their home court. The fact that they're in the range of PSU's road shooting percentage should let fans grasp how bad its been at times for Bucky Badger. However, regression to the mean is surely on the horizon for Bo Ryan's club, and what better team to regress with than Penn State!

KenPom gives PSU's winning chances a grand 5% with a predicted score of 62-46 Wisconsin. Expect the Badgers to work on their inside attack against Sasa Borovnjak and Jon Graham. If those guys can step up defensively and force the Badgers to settle for some jumpers (22.6% from 3), PSU might be able to stay in the game. But like I said, this still seems to set up perfectly for Wisconsin to turnaround some of their mind-boggling stats at home this season.

NOTE: Trey Lewis dressed for the Iowa game last week. He participated in warm-ups and is slowly working his way back. Chambers would like to get him some time before the season runs out, but it remains to be seen if he'll be cleared for games by March. I don't expect to see him today, but it's not out of the realm of possibility.