Game Info / How to Watch:
Who? Indiana Hoosiers (15-8 (5-5), #41 KenPom) vs. #10 Wisconsin Badgers (19-3 (8-1), #10 KenPom)
When? Sunday, February 5th, 1:00 PM, CBS
Where? Kohl Center, Madison, Wisconsin
Vegas? TBA (probably Wisconsin by a dozen or so)
Pomeroy? Wisconsin by 11, 17% chance of Indiana victory
The last time these two teams got together, Indiana outscored Wisconsin 55-40 during a nearly 30-minute span in the middle of the game. Wisconsin won by 7. Yes, in just under 11 minutes that spanned the first 3:48 of the game and the last 7:06, the visitors outpaced the Hoosiers in Bloomington by 22 points.
The beginning of the game was a blur. The end was a nightmare. And Indiana was left 0-2 in Big Ten play.
Not much has gone right since, either. The Hoosiers have just one win that could be considered anything close to quality, a home squeaker over Michigan State, and blowout losses to Michigan and Northwestern. Additionally, they have played considerable stretches of the last eight games without at least one of the following: O.G. Anunoby, Juwan Morgan, and James Blackmon.
As for Wisconsin, all they've done since is roll through everyone, except Purdue, en route to sitting atop the Big Ten with Maryland at the halfway point. They seem primed for a Big Ten championship, a protected seed, and a deep run in the NCAA Tournament.
If that game in January, where Indiana let 11 dreadful minutes undo 29 quality minutes of mastery, was a turning point for both teams, perhaps this weekend's contest could be the same thing if Indiana can get its first win in Madison since the ice age, or at least for the Hoosiers (It was actually 1998, but it might as well have been before the wheel was invented.)
Indiana now finds itself looking at a bottom-half seed and is one bad loss away from being squarely on the bubble. But a win over the Badgers could give them some breathing room, as well as confidence, as they get into the dog days of February when they'll play Purdue twice, see Northwestern again, and have to go to The Barn, Iowa, and Ohio State. And frankly, this team could use some breathing room.
HERE WOULD YOU LIKE SOME FACTORS?
|INDIANA (#16 Adj. Offense)||56.9 (12th)||21.2 (313th)||38.4 (10th)||11.2 (297th)|
|WISCONSIN (#6 Adj. Defense)||45.9 (27th)
||23.6 (7th)||10.2 (119th)
|INDIANA (#144 Adj. Defense)||47.5 (59th)||16.0 (320th)||28.0 (110th)||12.7 (45th)|
|WISCONSIN (#24 Adj. Offense)||53.6 (56th)||17.0 (66th)||37.3 (12th)||8.5 (123rd)
WHAT TO WATCH
- Will James Blackmon play? The junior guard has missed the last two contests since suffering a lower-body injury at Michigan. After we all feared that it would be season-ending when hearing that he would be out indefinitely, his father cleared up that the injury wasn't so serious and that he might only miss a couple games. If Blackmon is ready to go in Madison, he should have legs under him, and hopefully that will mean a nice night of shooting for the team's leading scorer.
- Will it matter? Probably not. Indiana appears to be completely overmatched against Wisconsin. Bronson Koenig and Nigel Hayes have both had plenty of success against Indiana in Madison over the years and now they've got the assistance of Ethan Happ who, at least from an analytics standpoint, is having a better season than even Caleb Swanigan, who is garnering attention as a Big Ten and, possibly, National Player of the Year candidate. Happ has been better offensively, scoring and rebounding, and has held his own on the defensive glass compared to Swanigan. But I digress. Basically, the Badgers are just far, far better.
- If Blackmon does play, who's gonna help? During the game in Bloomington, Thomas Bryant and Josh Newkirk were abysmal. McSwain, McRoberts, and Jones combined for 3 points. And other than Blackmon, only Deron Davis and Robert Johnson took more than 5 shots. (For what it's worth, Blackmon wasn't any good that night either.) At least one someone will have to step up in a way that the Badgers didn't allow in the first meeting if this outcome is going to be any different.