Penn State (8-4) at Wisconsin (9-4)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, January 3, 8:30 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Kohl Center (17,230) -- Madison, Wisconsin. Television: Big Ten Network. Home Record: PSU 7-1, Wisconsin 8-1. Away Record: PSU 0-1, Wisconsin 0-2. Neutral Record: PSU 1-2, Wisconsin 1-1. Conference Record: PSU 0-0, Wisconsin 0-0. Series Record: Wisconsin leads, 28-10.
GAME NOTES: Big Ten Conference play gets underway tonight for the Wisconsin Badgers and Penn State Nittany Lions, as the two are set to tip it off at the Kohl Center in Madison.
Penn State just wrapped up a 4-0 homestand and enters the tilt with eight wins in 12 tries this season. The Nittany Lions are coming off an 84-74 triumph over Duquesne last Saturday. Following this contest, they'll return home to face Indiana on Monday.
Wins have been hard to come by for the opposition at the Kohl Center, where Wisconsin is 8-1 on the season. The Badgers have won three straight and five of their last six overall. Most recently, they earned an 87-51 decision over Samford last Saturday.
Wisconsin has dominated the head-to-head series with Penn State, 28-10, and that includes victories in 16 of 18 meetings in Madison.
The Nittany Lions enter their conference slate on a high note, as last Saturday's victory marked their highest scoring output of the 2012-13 campaign. They knocked down 8-of-20 3-pointers (.400) and went 26-of-36 at the foul line (.722), while out-rebounding Duquesne, 50-28. Sophomore D.J. Newbill poured in a career-best 23 points to go along with 12 boards, while Nick Colella hit 5-of-7 3-point tries en route to a career-high 15 points. Sasa Borovnjak rounded out the team's double-digit scorers with 14 points.
PSU has relied heavily on Newbill and Marshall in the absence of Tim Frazier, who is out for the season after undergoing left Achilles surgery in late- November. Frazier was a First-Team All-Big Ten guard last season and was averaging a team-best 16.3 points through four games before getting hurt. Newbill paces the squad with 15.8 ppg to go along with 6.2 rpg, while Marshall is averaging 14.6 points and 4.5 caroms per contest.
For Wisconsin, every starting lineup so far this season has featured the trio of Jared Berggren, Ben Brust and Ryan Evans. Berggren, a 56.3 percent shooter from the floor, leads the way with 13.4 ppg to go along with 6.7 rpg. Brust is the primary outside shooting threat, having knocked down 29-of-69 threes (.420), and he is second on the team in both scoring (11.8 ppg) and rebounding (6.8 rpg). Evans is posting 11.5 points and a team-best 7.4 rebounds per tilt.
In the win over Samford, the Badgers shot a season-best 54.5 percent from beyond the arc (12-of-22), as they built a 47-19 halftime lead and never looked back. Mike Bruesewitz found himself back in the starting lineup and finished with a season-high 13 points, nine of which came during an early 13-2 spurt. Frank Kaminsky tallied a team-high 16 points off the bench, while Evans recorded a double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds in the win. In addition to their hot outside shooting, the Badgers held a 43-22 rebounding advantage.
The Nittany Lions have overcome the loss of their best player thanks to solid contributions up and down the bench, and a heavy home schedule has certainly helped. But now PSU finds itself on the road against a formidable conference foe, and one with considerable size on the blocks.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Wisconsin 74, Penn State 67
01/03 10:43:26 ET