Since losing three straight games to conference foes, the Badgers have gotten back on track and are currently enjoying a five-game win streak thanks to a 57-50 triumph over Indiana on January 26 at the Kohl Center in Madison. With the triumph, Wisconsin is also tied with Michigan for third place in the league standings at 6-3, trailing only Ohio State and Michigan State coming into the week.
As for the Nittany Lions, the team bringing up the rear in the standings at a mere 2-7, they were beaten up by Ohio State last week in a 78-54 loss in Columbus. The defeat was the second in a row and the fifth in the last six outings for the program, and PSU is now the only team in the Big Ten with a losing record overall at 10-12.
Wisconsin leads the all-time series between the programs by a mark of 26-10, but the most recent matchup went to Penn State by a score of just 36-33 during the Big Ten Conference Tournament last season at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. The Nittany Lions have won two of the last three meetings after losing 12 in a row to the Badgers.
Ben Brust came off the bench to score a game-high 13 points for the Badgers, leading four players in double figures, as the squad posted the seven-point home win against the Hoosiers last week. Ryan Evans came up a rebound short of a double-double as he tallied 12 points, followed by Mike Bruesewitz and Jordan Taylor with 10 points apiece, the latter missing all five of his three- point tries and converting just 5-of-14 from the floor overall. The Badgers don't have a spectacular offense by any means, with only Taylor (13.9 ppg) and Jared Berggren (10.6 ppg) scoring in double figures through 22 games, but the defense is certainly one that everyone should take notice of because the group leads the nation in points allowed still at a mere 49.6 ppg. Opponents have connected on only 36.3 percent from the field and 26.8 percent behind the three-point line, marks that are also some of the best in the country.
For the third straight game, the Nittany Lions were limited to a mere 54 points and for the second consecutive outing they lost by double figures, this time bowing to OSU last week on the road. Tim Frazier was again the leading scorer for PSU with his 16 points, but he reached that number only after shooting 6-of-17 from the floor, followed by Jermaine Marshall and Cammeron Woodyard with 14 and 10 points, respectively, which means the rest of the unit combined for a mere 14 points. Even though the wins have been few and far between of late, Frazier continues to be the one who tries to do it all for the Lions, from his team-leading 17.9 ppg, to 4.9 rpg and a total of 139 assists and 48 steals, all of which pace the program. Marshall chips in another 10.0 ppg, but his 35.6 percent shooting from the floor better represents the team's overall accuracy of just 38.3 percent through 22 games.