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No. 15 Wisconsin puts perfect Big Ten mark on line vs. Ohio State

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Wisconsin will seek to remain the lone undefeated team in Big Ten play when the No. 15 Badgers face Ohio State in Columbus on Wednesday night.

There are still 17 games to go, but the Badgers (11-3, 3-0) know every win is crucial for conference tournament seeding.

They’ve started 3-0 in the Big Ten for the second straight season, but last season the Badgers lost 12 of their final 18 games and ended up in the NIT.

But after an 88-72 win over Nebraska on Saturday — the Badgers’ most points in a conference game since scoring 89 against Ohio State on Jan. 12, 2017 — and getting 18 assists on 33 made field goals, Wisconsin coach Greg Gard praised his team’s unselfishness.

“Everybody talks about the transfer portal and NIL; they promote individualism,” Gard said. “You have to counter that. That’s part of it (with) the world we’re in. But from a coaching staff standpoint and how you want your culture to be, it’s still about how the team has to accomplish big things. When those big things happen, individuals get rewarded as a byproduct of a team being really good.”

The Buckeyes (12-3, 2-2) will look to bounce back from dreadful shooting that led to a 71-65 loss at Indiana on Saturday that snapped a four-game winning streak.

Ohio State shot 36.2 percent (25 of 69) from the field for the game, including 28.2 percent (11 of 39) in the second half. The Buckeyes made 25.9 percent (7 of 27) of their 3-pointers.

“We certainly had some clean looks, particularly off of offensive rebounds,” Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann said. “Wide-open looks that you want guys taking. I think the ball a couple times stuck, and it needs to move better, particularly with our guards. They’ve got to see those situations, and our wings can’t have 10 turnovers. Outside of that, we had good looks that I trust we’ll make.”

Guards Bruce Thornton and Roddy Gayle Jr. were 7 of 34 from the floor and combined to miss all 12 of their 3-point attempts.

“That has not been characteristic of them up until this point, particularly Bruce,” Holtmann said. “Bruce has been a guy who has really shot it well. He’s not had a night like this. Roddy needs to be better across the board, and I know he knows that. He’s got to take care of it better and finish some plays better.

“Those guys will. This will be a good learning experience for us as we move forward.”

In contrast, the Badgers are finding their rhythm. They have 80-plus points in three straight games for the first time since doing so in four consecutive games from Dec. 13-30, 2017.

“This is a team when they’re hitting their shots, it’s one of the top teams in the country,” Nebraska coach Fred Hoiberg said.

“We’ve got a lot of guys that can put the ball in the hoop,” Wisconsin forward Tyler Wahl said. “I feel like a lot of guys are oozing confidence where maybe last year, it wasn’t as high as this.”

— Field Level Media

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