Who? Indiana Hoosiers (8-6, #90 Kenpom) at Wisconsin Badgers (8-7, #70 Kenpom)
When? Tuesday, January 2 at 7 p.m. EST - ESPN
Where? Kohl Center, Madison, Wisconsin
Vegas? Wisconsin (-6) <- double check me on that
Pomeroy? Wisconsin 69-63, 31% of Indiana Victory
After what has been a rollercoaster of a non-conference schedule between home losses to Indiana State and IPFW to solid performances against Duke and Notre Dame, IU will restart the Big Ten slate against Wisconsin this evening. IU hasn’t won in Madison since 1/25/1998, roughly one month before I came into this world.
Both teams enter this game riding small winning streaks albeit against mostly cupcake opponents. Indiana is coming off wins against Tennessee Tech (KenPom #215) and Youngstown State (#325), meanwhile the Badgers have won four in a row against Western Kentucky (#80), Green Bay (#286), Chicago State (#345), and UMass-Lowell (#301).
But what can the Hoosiers do in order to snap that almost 20-year long drought?
Surprise surprise this game is going to be awfully slow as Indiana and wisconsin rank 275 and 347 respectively for their adjusted tempo on KenPom in what is likely going to be another first to 40 points wins.
When comparing offenses, both teams are pretty even in offensive capability but Wisconsin’s defense blows Indiana’s out of the water as it ranks 82 spots higher than the Hoosiers
The most notable stat to look at this evening is Indiana’s ability to scoop up the offensive boards. The Hoosiers rank in the top 40 nationally for offensive rebounding percentage whereas Wisconsin ranks top 30 for preventing opponents offensive rebounding percentage.
Looking at the individuals of Wisconsin they are once again going through the big men on the court. Wisconsin’s top two players for percentage of players used belong to, you guessed, a pair of 6-10 centers with junior Ethan Happ and freshman backup Nate Reuvers.
Happ is ranked 15th nationally overall for percentage of possessions used on a Wisconsin team that is starved for experience. The matchup between Happ and De’Ron Davis should be one to keep an eye out for tonight.
They’re called free throws for a reason: Indiana has actually done a solid job of getting to the free throw line as they rank 72 in the nation whereas Wisconsin doesn’t crack the top 200. The Hoosiers have struggled from the line this year with a 66 team free throw percentage, especially De’Ron Davis who has only hit half of his free throws for the year. On the brightside though, Davis ranks in the top 50 in the nation by drawing an average of 7 fouls per 40 minutes played. It’ll be tough to get the ball down low to Davis when he’s up against Happ but if done correctly he can cause some havoc.
Who needs snow when you have rain?: Indiana’s been quite poor when it comes guarding the perimeter this year against opponents. But, no worries! Wisconsin’s trash too. The Badgers rank 251st in for opponent three-point percentage. This could lead to an effective three point performance by the likes of Robert Johnson who is in desperate need of confidence as he sits with 32.4 three-point percentage on the year.
Stay at home: I strongly advise that no one attend this game. The temperature in Madison at tip off is somewhere around eight degrees today. Going to the Kohl Center to watch two teams that will struggle to finish above 500 in a game that will likely end with 38-34 final score in this weather is completely asinine. Seriously.