Analysis: IU in a good position at Wisconsin

Indiana is a 15 1/2 point underdog tonight at Wisconsin. The Badgers are very good at home and have beaten IU 12 times in a row at the Kohl Center. The last time IU won there was 1998. But the most important thing for IU tonight is to find a way to be competitive on the road in a Big Ten game.

Indiana is in a great position tonight when the Hoosiers travel to Wisconsin to take on the Badgers.

Why? Because no one expects Indiana to have any chance in tonight’s game.

Wisconsin is 19-2 overall and 7-1 in the Big Ten and has a two-game lead over the pack in the conference standings in the loss column. The Badgers are No. 5 in the nation and nearly impossible to beat at the Kohl Center.

Only one conference opponent has lost to Wisconsin by single digits in Madison this season, the rest have been blow outs.

IU hasn’t won in the Kohl Center since 1998. That’s 12 losses to the Badgers on the road in a row.

And Wisconsin is a 15 ½ point favorite tonight, too.

It seems like a lock for the Badgers, right?

It may very well be. Indiana (16-6, 6-3 Big Ten) hasn’t played well on the road in Big Ten play against Michigan State and Purdue in particular, and for the final 30 minutes or so at Ohio State.

In fact, there’s no reason to believe that Indiana should even be able to hang around in this one.

But my gut tells me differently. I’m not predicting that Indiana is going to win tonight but something tells me that the Hoosiers will put up a good fight.

And you know what, that would be a positive moving forward for this Indiana basketball team. If IU could hang around, make it a game well into the second half, you just never know what could happen with the way IU is capable of shooting the ball.

Stranger things have happened. I’ll leave it at that.

But if IU goes in there and lays another Big Ten egg on the road that can’t bode well for the Hoosiers moving forward either. This team needs to prove to itself and to Hoosier Nation that it can be competitive on the road in the conference. Those early wins against Nebraska and Illinois were both big especially when you realize that both of those teams have been tough at home.

But IU is looking for a signature road performance. And tonight could very well be that opportunity.

Again, don’t get me wrong, I’m not predicting an IU win. In fact on our message board today, I picked Wisconsin to win 74-64. But I could see something like that happening where the Hoosiers hang around until late and then Wisconsin pulls away for a 10-point win. That would at least be respectable.

You just don’t want to go to Madison and do a belly flop.

Avoid that and the final eight games of the Big Ten schedule seem to favor Indiana. IU plays five of its final eight games at home and two of the road games are Northwestern and Rutgers.

They just need to be competitive tonight.


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