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Neither Wisconsin nor No. 11 Ohio State can afford many more losses to remain in Big Ten race

  • 71ec990c2749ba03270f6a7067003b49.jpg

    Ohio State's Shannon Scott, left, works past Penn State's Jermaine Marshall, center, and Patrick Ackerman during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in State College, Pa., Saturday, Jan. 26, 2013. (AP Photo/Ralph Wilson) (The Associated Press)

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    Wisconsin's Traevon Jackson, second from left, is congratulated by Jordan Smith, left, Aaron Irving and Zach Bohannon, right, after Jackson made the winning shot against Minnesota during an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 26, 2013, in Madison, Wis. Wisconsin won 45-44. (AP Photo/Andy Manis) (The Associated Press)

It's a long season in the Big Ten. It's particularly long if you're playing catch-up.

Both Wisconsin and No. 11 Ohio State hope to avoid that fate on Tuesday night when they meet at Value City Arena. Each is 5-2 in league, leaving them tied for fourth and a game back of co-leaders Michigan and Indiana starting the week.

Each knows another slip will make the rest of the season an uphill slog against very few creampuffs in the nation's strongest men's basketball conference.

The Badgers (14-6, 5-2) ended a brief two-game skid with a tense 45-44 win at home against Minnesota on Saturday.

The Buckeyes (15-4, 5-2) have won four of five, including a 65-51 victory at Penn State on Saturday — their second win in a row.