Penn State vs. Wisconsin Preview

Story posted March 2, 2014 in Sports, CommRadio by Jeff Jezewski

After pulling off an enormous win over Ohio State on Thursday night, Penn State will host the Wisconsin Badgers on Sunday afternoon.

This will be the Nittany Lions first matchup with the Badgers this season. Penn State has dropped four straight to the Badgers, with their last win coming in 2011.

Wisconsin will enter the Bryce Jordan Center ranked 14th in the AP poll, riding a six- game win streak after defeating Indiana, on Tuesday. The Badgers overcame a rough first half, outscoring the Hoosiers 50-29 in the second half, to defeat Indiana 69-58. Sophomore Sam Dekker’s 16 points paced five Wisconsin scorers in double figures.

Wisconsin, 10-5 in the conference, will look to continue their hot stretch and make a push for a high seed in the Big Ten Tournament.

On the other side, Penn State, who recently improved to 14-14 (5-10 in Big Ten) will look to get back above the .500 mark, after dropping two straight prior to the Ohio State contest.

It will be interesting to see if Penn State continues to experiment with their lineup, as sophomore center, Jordan Dickerson, earned a start against Ohio State. True freshman, Geno Thorpe, also received extensive playing time against the Buckeyes, contributing nine points to the cause. John Johnson, another key reserve, sat out the Ohio State game with an illness.

Key performers, D.J. Newbill and Tim Frazier will look to continue their scoring ways, while knowing they have players behind them. Newbill and Frazier combined for 39 in the Lions last contest, while averaging 33.6 per game, as a tandem, this season.

Bo Ryan’s talented squad is very balanced and dynamic. The Badgers are one of the most consistent defensive teams in the country, while scoring the ball at an effective rate.

Four players score in double digits for Wisconsin, led by Dekker’s 13.6 per game. Dekker is joined in double figure by Wisconsin’s talented backcourt duo. Senior guard, Ben Brust (12.6) and junior Traevon Jackson (10.7) are crucial to the Badgers’ attack. Jackson is a solid floor general, while Brust adds consistency and a viable three-point jumper. Ryan’s team plays small, with Josh Gasser the third member of the three guard lineup. Gasser contributes just less than 10 points per game, while shooting a solid percentage from the floor (45.8) and from behind-the-arc (46.3).

Dekker and the tough backcourt are joined by emerging big man, Frank Kaminsky. Kaminsky has made drastic improvements to his game this year, boosting his scoring average by nine points to 13.2 per game. Kaminsky adds toughness on the block and rebounding (6.4 per game), while showing off the ability to step out and knock down deep jumpers.

Wisconsin leads Penn State in most main statistical categories aside from rebounds, where the Lions pick up just less than two more rebounds per contest.

The Badgers come in on their hottest streak since Big Ten play began. However, the Nittany Lions will enter the game brimming with confidence after the court-storming upset over Ohio State.

Wisconsin hasn’t lost since February 1st, and they will look to continue their streak in the Bryce Jordan Center. Penn State hosts the Badgers at 12 p.m. on Sunday.

Jeff Jezewski is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email jvj5228@psu.edu.

Photo Courtesy: (AP Photo/Ralph Wilson)