Madison tough for Matta

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Last updated: 02/01/2014 2:04 AM
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Men's Basketball
Madison a Tough Place for Matta
By Rob Ogden

Thad Matta has only a few good memories of games played in Madison.

The Ohio State coach is 1-8 against the Badgers on their home floor during his tenure with the Buckeyes. The lone win came two years ago, when the No. 3 Buckeyes downed Wisconsin 58-52 inside the Kohl Center.

At Butler in 2001, Matta's first season as a head coach, the Bulldogs went to Wisconsin and defeated the No. 10 Badgers 58-44.

But since that game, success in Madison has been hard to come by.

Why?

"Because they're always really good," Matta said. "That's something that's possibly overlooked. It's a great venue and a great environment. You know what you're walking into when you walk in there."

Last year, the No. 13 Buckeyes walked out with a 71-49 loss. It was the type of loss Matta preferred to forget.

"I'm trying to go back to the situation we were in last year," he said. "I don't know if it's selective memory but I don't remember it real well."

Unfortunately for junior guard Shannon Scott, he remembers the game all too well.  

"That's just a bad memory for us," he said. "There was no point of the game where we felt like we could win the game. That's a horrible feeling to have when you're playing a basketball game. We know if we get in that situation again it's gonna be all bad for us, so we have to do everything we can to make sure that doesn't happen."

Both teams come into Saturday's game struggling. Ohio State has lost five of six Big Ten games while Wisconsin has lost four of five. The Badgers were beaten handily by Northwestern on their own floor on Wednesday.

It was a rare home loss for the Badgers, where the have been especially good against the Buckeyes. Coach Bo Ryan has a 9-1 record against Ohio State at home, though the teams have split the last 12 meetings overall.

The Buckeyes were in the same type of funk when they fell to Wisconsin last year. The loss was their third in four games. But following the game in Madison, Ohio State won its next 11 contests, winning the Big Ten Tournament and advancing to the Elite Eight.

They're hoping for the same type of turnaround, beginning Saturday.

"Last year when we lost to Wisconsin, that's was definitely kind of an embarrassing loss for us," junior Amir Williams said. "We just didn't play our best basketball that day. I don't think any of us showed up to play that game.  During the four-game losing streak it was kind of the same thing, we didn't play our best basketball and it's been embarrassing because none of us had ever lost four-in-a-row.

"After the loss to Wisconsin last year we realized we have to step up because this program has a tradition of winning and we want to continue to win."

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