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Penn State Basketball Preview: Wisconsin

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The Nittany Lions will look for their first win over Wisconsin since the 2010-11 season.

NCAA Basketball: Wisconsin at Penn State Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off a close 83-79 loss to Ohio State, the Penn State men’s basketball team returns to action on Saturday against the No.14 Wisconsin Badgers. The Badgers enter the game with a 13-4 record overall including 7-3 in conference play.

The Badgers don’t have a tremendous offensive pace, scoring just 71.9 points per game this season, with an adjusted tempo ranked 332nd in the country. That, of course, does not come as a surprise. The Badgers are known for their snail pace and efficient shooting. That’s where the surprise comes this season, as Wisconsin is only shooting 43.7% from the field, and a miserly, comparatively speaking, 37.9% from three. That being said, they’re still great defensively, only allowing 61.8 points per game.

A team heavy on senior leadership, the Badgers top five scorers this season are all seniors. Only two players are averaging double-digit points in gaurd D’Mitrik Trice and forward Micah Potter. Trice is averaging 14.5 points per game this season and is shooting well from throughout the floor. He has a 44.5% shooting percentage overall including 42.2% from three-point range. He also is adding in 3.5 rebounds and 3.9 asssists per game this season. Potter is avearaging a strong 12.7 points per game to go along with his 6.8 rebounds per game. He’s shooting 51.3% this season from the floor and 40.4% from beyond the arc.

Other names to know are forwad Aleem Ford (9.2 points, 4.3 reobunds), guard Brad Davison (9.2 points), and forward Nate Reuvers (9.0, 3.8 rebounds). All three of these guys round out the Badgers top scorers.

Defensively, the Badgers as mentioned above, have been strong all season and while they are only allowing 61.8 points per game which ranks top-20 in the country, they are also only allowing opponents to shoot 40.2% this season. They’re a team that will smother you every chance they get and will be a huge test for a Penn State offense that has otherwise been strong this season.

What To Watch For

The Nittany Lions are coming off a heartbreaking loss to Ohio State on Wednesday while Wisconsin has won three of their last four. The Badgers have scored less than 70-points in four straight games including just 61 points against Maryland on Wednesday night. This could be a battle of first one to 60-65 points wins.

Prediction

The Nittany Lions offense has kept them in a ton of games this year but they haven’t faced many taems as good as Wisconsin is on defense. On the other hand, the NIttany LIons defensively this season have not been strong by any means and while Wisconsin won’t really light up anyone offensively, they’ll get their fair share of points on Saturday. I expect the Nittany Lions to stay rather close with Wisconsin for the most part but the Badgers will ultimately pull away late in the second half.

Wisconsin 70 - Penn State 61