Current record Current RPI Current Sagarin
Series: Head Coach TV
With yesterday's win over Illinois, the Hoosiers defeated their tenth different Big Ten team this season. With a win over Wisconsin, the Hoosiers can claim at least one against every Big Ten team for the first time since 1993. More importantly, a win today would end a school record 11-game losing streak to the Badgers and would send IU to the Big Ten Tournament title game for the first time since 2001. I think the Big Ten Tournament title is almost secondary for IU fans in this one. We want to beat Wisconsin. I feel like a broken record because I keep saying this over and over. A losing streak that is now in its sixth season is particularly tough to stomach against a program that didn't beat IU even once between 1980 and 1997. The Badgers' comeback as a basketball program and as an athletic program, but enough is enough.
The Badgers are the Badgers. They will slow it down. They will clutch and grab. They will howl at the officials and fall to the floor if you lay a fingernail on them. Bo will beg for every advantage. They are infuriating to watch but they simply have to be respected. Over the years, the Badgers' low scores have been because of their slow pace, and not because of a lack of offensive efficiency. Typically they are nearly as efficient or more efficient on offense as on defense. This year is an exception. The Badgers are #3 nationally in adjusted defense and #50 nationally in adjusted offense, sort of the opposite of Michigan. In Big Ten play, the Badgers lead the league with .90 points per possession allowed, but are #8 on offense, scoring only .99 per possession. In a sense, even setting aside the revenge factor it's probably good that IU drew the Badgers. There is a perception that the formula to beat the Hoosiers has been discovered. If that is the case, then it's nice for IU to get another chance to defeat a physical, slow-paced team.
Joe Lunardi still has IU as the #1 in the midwest, with Louisville heading south. It would be very nice to lock that in with an IU win and with a Cardinal loss to Syracuse tonight.