Current record: 16-5 (5-3)
Current RPI: 32 (IU is #20)
Current Sagarin: 8 (IU is #11)
Current Pomeroy: 3 (IU is #11)
2010-11 record: 25-9 (13-5), lost to Butler in NCAA Tournament Sweet 16
2010-11 RPI: 16
2010-11 Sagarin: 12
2010-11 Pomeroy: 7
Series: IU leads 94-63
Last IU win: 1/31/2007 (71-66 in Bloomington)
Last Wisconsin win: 3/3/2011 (77-67 in Bloomington)
Last IU win in Madison: 1/25/1998 (69-59)
Pomeroy scouting report
TV: 9 pm Thursday, ESPN2
Indiana tries to end two long losing streaks to Wisconsin when the Hoosiers travel to the Kohl Center tonight. When I say two losing streaks, I mean this: first, IU has lost 8 in a row to the Badgers. It's been nearly five years since IU beat Wisconsin, and because this is the only regular season meeting between the teams, it likely will extend to six years if IU doesn't win tonight. The last time IU had a 9-game losing streak against a Big Ten opponent? Against Purdue from 1929-1935. That's the first streak. The second is that IU has lost 10 in a row in Madison since the Hoosiers won at the Kohl Center for the first and only time in 1998. Bring back the Fieldhouse! This is a remarkable turn in a series in which IU won 31 in a row from 1980 through 1996. Before the current 10 game losing streak in Madison, IU's 10 previous losses at Wisconsin came in 1997, 1980, 1978, 1971, 1968, 1963, 1959, 1955, 1947, and 1943. IU's losing streak in Madison is second only to the long drought in East Lansing.
In the early part of the season, Wisconsin looked fairly vulnerable, and has not been the overwhelming force that it usually is at home. The Badgers, who were undefeated at home last season, already have three home losses this season (to Marquette, Iowa, and Michigan State) and Nebraska played the Badgers close, ultimately losing by five. Nevertheless, Wisconsin seems to have righted the ship during its four game winning streak, which includes road wins at Purdue and Illinois.
By now, in the eleventh season of the Bo Ryan era, Hoosier fans should know what to expect from UW. An extremely slow pace (59 possessions per game, #344 in the nation and a full 9 possessions behind IU's 68.8 pace), very strong efficiency numbers at both ends of the court, decent rebounding numbers, excellent offensive turnover numbers, and a defense that excels at field goal defense but doesn't take many chances or force many turnovers. In conference play only, Wisconsin is #3 in defensive efficiency, while IU is #3 in offensive effiiency; Wisconsin is #6 in offensive efficiency while IU is #11 in defensive efficiency (thanks, Northwestern!).
The last time these two teams met, Wisconsin's Jordan Taylor torched IU for 39 points, and overwhelmed what was a pretty solid performance (by 2008-2011 standards) for IU. Taylor got off to a rough start offensively this season, and his shooting percentages are significantly lower than they were last year, but he still is perhaps the most complete guard in the Big Ten, as an excellent point guard and the Badgers' top scorer. As always, the Badgers take a ton of three pointers (41 percent of their shots, #2 in the nation). The Badgers are only #8 in three point shooting percentage in Big Ten play, although that probably is skewed deceptively because of the Badgers' awful performance at home against Iowa. What really strikes me about this Wisconsin team is that they don't seem to have the sort of height they have had in previous seasons. Jared Berggren is the only Badger over 6-6 who plays more than ten minutes per game. Berggren, however, will be an interesting matchup for Cody Zeller at both ends. Berggren scored 18 points on 7-14 shooting in Wisconsin's win at Illinois.
This is a tough but not unwinnable game. The IU team of the first 13 games of the season absolutely could win this game, but the effort and execution, particularly on defense, will have to be better than what IU has shown over the last three weeks. This game begins what is the toughest remaining stretch on the Hoosiers' schedule. IU travels to Wisconsin tonight, plays Iowa at home on Sunday, travels to Michigan next Wednesday, and then goes to Purdue a week from Saturday. IU could play well and still end up 1-3 in the stretch and 5-1 overall. If that happens, it is far from the end of the world, as IU finishes with 5-7 at home. Still, if this team wants more than the bubble, it would be very nice to steal one of these next three road games against good-but-not-elite teams. Let's hope it starts tonight.