GAME INFO/HOW TO WATCH
Who? Wisconsin (11-9, 3-4 in Big Ten, #59 in Kenpom) vs. Indiana (17-3, 7-0 in Big Ten, #20 in Kenpom)
Where? Kohl Center, Madison, Wisconsin
When? 7 p.m., Wednesday
Vegas? INDIANA (-2)
Kenpom? Indiana with a 57% chance of victory, likes Indiana 70-68.
WHAT THE BUCK(Y) IS GOING ON IN MADISON?
Last season, Wisconsin was the darlings of the country with Frank The Tank awkwardly doing awkward things in an awkward way. Their win over Kentucky in the Final Four launched them to superhero status.
Long gone are those days of celebrating in packed hotel lobbies over a Final Four win. Departing with them this season, in quite grand fashion, was Bo Ryan. As most know, Ryan retired abruptly following Wisconsin's win over Texas A&M Corpus Christi.
Under interim head coach Greg Gard, the Badgers have struggled, though that was certainly the case even under Ryan earlier this season. Since Ryan's departure, the Badgers are 4-4 with wins over Green Bay, Rutger, Michigan State and Penn State, the latter two wins by one and six points, respectively.
Losses in that stretch, however, have come to Purdue by six, IU by one, Maryland by three and Northwestern by five, though Northwestern was the only road game of those losses aside from the trip to Bloomington.
The Kohl Center, which was once one of the toughest places to play in America, has certainly lost its mystique this year.
IS THIS GAME GOING TO BE BORING?
The answer is most likely yes. Despite all the change that has occurred this year for the Badgers, one things still holds true: they play the least aesthetically pleasing basketball in the country.
Wisconsin ranks 340 out of 351 teams in adjusted tempo and 349 in average possession length. Both of those figures are, unsurprisingly, dead last since conference play.
The Badgers have broken the 70-point mark just twice in conference play, and once was to Rutger, which doesn't really count. The Hoosiers, on the other hand, have scored under 70 points just once in Big Ten play. The opponent? Wiscconsin.
|INDIANA (#19 Adj. Offense)||61.3% (2nd)||20.6% (300th)||39.9% (10th)||34.4% (230th)|
|WISCONSIN (#65 Adj. Defense)||48.6% (131st)||18.5% (163rd)||26.8% (57th)||34.5% (134th)|
|INDIANA (#46 Adj. Defense)||48.2% (113th)||20.7% (55th)||29.1% (133rd)||29.7% (44th)|
|WISCONSIN (#88 Adj. Offense)||47.6% (266th)||17.1% (88th)||35.7% (33rd)||
The Hoosiers have a very ugly history in Madison. Their last win in the Kohl Center was during the Clinton Administration. Yes, you read right: The Hoosiers haven't won in Madison since January 25, 1998 as the Badgers have won 13 straight and 14 of the last 16 meetings at home.
If there was ever a year to pull it off, this would be it for IU. The Badgers' normally hyper-efficient system has its cracks this year. They rank 311th in the nation in defensive 3P% and are the worst in conference play.
They do lead the way during conference play in steal % and defensive turnover %, two big factors for the Hoosiers to have success as the Hoosiers' turnover problems are well-documented.
MATCH-UPS TO WATCH
Nigel Hayes vs. Collin Hartman/Max Bielfeldt - One of the big names left in the Badger line-up is Nigel Hayes, who turned down the NBA Draft to return to Madison. In 35.9 minutes per game this year, he's averaging 16.3 points, 6.1 rebounds and is shooting 32.4% from three. Hartman and Bielfeldt, however, are an interesting match-up for Hayes as they can play outside and in and shouldn't be out of their comfort zone guarding Hayes like many opponents are. In the first match-up, he was held to 15 points on 3-of-13 shooting from the field. OG Anunoby could see some time on Hayes as well.
Bronson Koenig vs. Yogi Ferrell - Koenig stepped in and played some big minutes on last year's Wisconsin team when Traevon Jackson went down. This year as the starting point guard, he's upped his production, averaging 14.0 points in 35.3 minutes. However, he was forced into an ugly 4-of-12 shooting night in the previous meeting against the Hoosiers and let Ferrell score 19 points. The latter will need to have a big day offensively for IU to advance as Ferrell is averaging 18.9 points in conference games this year with 6.3 assists.
Indiana's 3P% (2nd) vs. Wisconsin's d3P% (14th) - As previously mentioned, the Hoosiers are going to get their shots at the three-point line. In the first match-up, the Hoosiers were 7-of-17 from beyond the arc, the fewest threes attempted by the Hoosiers in a Big 10 game this year. If IU can hit threes a clip near what they have the last few games, it will be a big boost for their offense.
- Yogi Ferrell is coming off his first ever (how!?!) Big Ten Player of the Week award after putting up 16.5 points, 7.5 assists and 61% three-point shooting in a pair of blowout wins.
- Avi Zaleon makes the argument that, like him or not, Crean is coaching himself into award contention this season.
- In the latest Power Rankings, Ben Raphel has Wisconsin 9th and the Hoosiers 2nd.