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How could the Big Ten Championship be closer than people think?

The Bucks and the Badgers face off for the second time this season.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 30 Ohio State at Michigan Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

“Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst and his players are eager to have another shot at the Buckeyes. ‘I certainly think there’s a sense of eagerness or excitement that you’ve done all that you can and you get a right to play in this game,’ Chryst said.”

- Associated Press via 10TV

The last time Ohio State took on Wisconsin, the Buckeyes rolled. Despite leading just 10-7 at the start of the third quarter, OSU went on to score 28 unanswered points in a game that ended in a 38-7 rout. Chase Young had four sacks and two forced fumbles, and Justin Fields and J.K. Dobbins combined for four touchdowns. The defense held Jonathan Taylor to 52 yards rushing on 20 carries, and Wisco QB Jack Coan passed for just 108 yards in the rain.

Ohio State was 15-point favorites in the Horseshoe that day, and easily covered that spread despite some less than ideal weather conditions. All signs would point to more of the same this Saturday when the two teams will rematch in the Big Ten Championship Game. Even playing at a neutral site — albeit one that will likely be heavily in favor of the Buckeyes — OSU is an even bigger favorite this time around, as Vegas currently has them at -16.5 at the indoor Lucas Oil Stadium. However, could the Badgers keep it closer the second time around?

Wisconsin has won each of its four games since losing to Ohio State, and the offense has seemingly gotten better and better with each passing week. Taylor has continued to do what he does against every Big Ten opponent not donned in Scarlet and Gray, rushing for upwards of 200 yards in three of the four contests. He ran for only 76 yards against Minnesota, but had three total touchdowns.

The Buckeyes, however, have had Taylor’s number throughout his career. The junior has faced OSU two times, rushing for only 41 yards in 2017 and 52 yards on 20 carries this season. The Badgers have no chance of hanging with Ohio State if they continue to try and ground and pound their way to victory as they do against most other opponents. The key to making it a game this time around will fall on the shoulders of Jack Coan.

Coan has played much better after his pedestrian effort in Columbus. Over his last four games, he has thrown seven touchdowns with just two picks. In a snowstorm last week against the Golden Gophers, the junior QB had one of his best outings of the season, passing for 280 yards and two TDs. The Buckeyes have shown a clear ability to shut down the Wisconsin running game, and so without inclement weather this time around, the Badgers will need another dominant outing from Coan to avoid a blowout.

Am I saying Wisconsin is going to upset Ohio State in Indy? No, no I'm not. However, if the Badgers can replicate Michigan’s gameplan for slowing down Chase Young, all while putting together a more balanced offensive attack than in the previous matchup, the score could wind up being a bit closer than most people would expect.

“Carton is a rising talent under Holtmann. He’s about to measure himself against one of the best players in the country. Ohio State is a rising program under Holtmann. It’s about to get a chance against one of the best programs in the country.”

- Stephen Means,

It can be easy at times to find yourself laser-focused on a potentially historically-great Ohio State football team, but you should not do yourself the injustice of missing out on the Buckeye men’s basketball team. Ohio State is 7-0 to start the year, is ranked No. 6 in the latest AP Poll, and already has a win over college basketball blue blood Villanova. Now, it will face its toughest test of the year, heading on the road for the first time this season to take on No. 7 North Carolina in Chapel Hill.

Chris Holtmann has done an unbelievable job of turning the program around, and his hard work was rewarded this past offseason when he pulled in three top-50 talents in a highly regarded recruiting class. The highest-rated of the trio, point guard D.J. Carton, has already shown flashes this season of his incredibly-high ceiling. The 6-foot-2 point guard is second on the team in scoring with 10.4 points per game, but faces his stiffest competition yet as he will face off with UNC point guard Cole Anthony.

Anthony was the No. 4 player in the 2019 recruiting class, and the No. 1 combo guard in the country. The freshman has become the Tar Heels best player right off the bat, leading the team with 20.7 points and seven rebounds per game, as he puts on display what appears to be one-and-done NBA-level talent time in and time out. While Carton certainly hasn’t had the sustained success Anthony is having in his first year, Wednesday night’s matchup will provide a measuring stick for the young Buckeye point guard to see how close he is to that elite level.

Carton is a rising talent on Ohio State’s roster, and his ability to impact a game is limited slightly by coming off the bench to start the year. However, the showdown between the two Top-10 programs will be a potential coming out party for both Carton and the Buckeyes as a whole.

As a fun little added wrinkle to what should be a phenomenal basketball game to highlight the middle of your week, Ohio State will be wearing these fantastic throwback jerseys — honoring the ones they used to wear in the early 1980s. You know what they say: look good, play good.

The game, which is a part of ACC/Big Ten Challenge, is scheduled to tipoff at 9:30 p.m. ET, and will be broadcast on EPSN. UNC is a three-point favorite as the home team in the contest.

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