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Wisconsin 68, Indiana 66.

Last night's game was a sadly appropriate ending to one of the worst days in the history of IU's basketball program. Brian Butch banked in a three pointer in the closing seconds to give Wisconsin a 68-66 lead. Jamarcus Ellis missed a three pointer at the other end, and that was that. Wisconsin's win remade the Big Ten standings. The Badgers are back in the hunt, a game behind Purdue and a half game ahead of IU. The Boilers, as the only one loss team in the conference and with only one game against the top 4 remaining, are now the prohibitive favorite. Even if IU manages to beat Purdue next Tuesday, given IU's roadie to MSU still remaining, Purdue will have to lose at Ohio State or blow a gimme game if IU is to grab even a share of the conference title.
Here's the box score. The Badgers made 7 of their first 11 three point attempts and finished 11-26 for the game, including the game-winner by Butch. The Badgers' flurry of three point baskets, including some that were closely guarded, neutralized a fine first half offensive performance by IU. The Hoosiers shot 56 percent from the field in the first half and 8-10 from the line and only led by one. IU continues to be lulled into slow play. This was a 58 possession game. While IU's offense was fairly efficient, despite the 3-13 three point performance, Wisconsin's 1.15 points per possession was IU's second worst of the season (the loss to Xavier was worse). Ultimately, IU played well enough to win on the offensive end but simply could not deny Wisconsin's three point offense. One positive: the turnover numbers have decreased significantly. IU turned the ball over only 5 times (8.5 percent), season bests by any measure. It's hard to say where the Hoosiers will go from here, but this was, in many respects, a hard luck loss.
The individuals:
  • Gordon scored 23 points on 7-17/0-4 shooting, thanks to 9-10 from the line.
  • DJ White managed 17 points on 10 shots, mostly in the first half. He also had three blocks.
  • Jamarcus Ellis had a rough night: 2 points on 1-5 from the field, and he missed a good look for the win. He did have 8 rebounds.
  • Deandre Thomas played well at times, but again, the failure to play with intelligence is what keeps Deandre off the floor. After he missed a shot, he committed an inexcusable foul 90 feet from the basket. He really does have good skills for his size, and hopefully whoever coaches the team next year can reach him.

Next up: Michigan State, needing some luck to stay in the Big Ten title hunt. After a tough loss at Purdue, the Spartans' luck is improving. IU is in disarray, to the point that it's unclear who will be coaching on Saturday, and the ESPN Gameday crew will be in town. What a train wreck.