A player to watch: Wisconsin

It was only one game and a career-high 17 minutes of action off the bench, but Saturday's Penn State game for Austin Etherington could be the start of a more significant role for the redshirt sophomore.

With each game this season we'll put the spotlight on an Indiana player that we believe is someone to keep an eye on for that particular game.

For tonight's game against Wisconsin, we'll take a look at sophomore Austin Etherington:

For most of the season to date, Etherington is the last player you would have expected to find in the player to watch segment. But his effort against Penn State on Saturday warrants a look. The big question is was his game against the Nittany Lions an anomaly or is it a sign of things to come?

Against Penn State, Etherington came up big. He had five points, two rebounds, tied a career best with two assists and set a new career best with two steals. He hit 1-of-2 shots from the field (his miss was a layup) and hit his only 3-point attempt. He made both of his free throws. His 3-pointer with 1:22 to play put IU up 73-72 and the Hoosiers never trailed again. Tom Crean said of Etherington on his radio show Monday night that the sophomore had been relegated to the Scout team in recent weeks but his play last week had drawn the attention of the coaching staff. He practiced like he deserved to get some playing time and the coaching staff obliged. He played 17 minutes against Penn State, which was a career high. This from a player that the game before did not even get his warm up shirt off against Michigan State.

So fluke or the real thing? This is what makes it interesting. Depending on the ongoing Jeremy Hollowell saga, Etherington could be in line for some significant minutes. What will be important for him is what he does with those minutes. As a shooter, he needs to come in and knock down a perimeter shot or two. If he can do that, and become an outside contributor, Etherington could begin to average double digit minutes of playing time. At the same time, his 3 against Penn State could also be his season highlight.

Follow Terry Hutchens at Twitter.com/Foxsportshutch

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