Upon Further Review: Wisconsin

HoosierNation.com takes a look back at Indiana's 71-66 win over No. 2 Wisconsin, a victory that snapped the Badgers' NCAA-best 17-game winning streak. We name the game's MVP, look at what were some of the most concerning and surprising things to come out of the win, and hear what the players and coaches had to say afterwards...

Game MVP - A.J. Ratliff. D.J. White set the tone in the second half by scoring seven points in the half's first four minutes and taking six of IU's first seven shots coming out of the locker room, but it was Ratliff who delivered for the entire second half. First, he led an 11-0 IU run that turned a three-point deficit into an eight point lead with a pair of 3-pointers and a bullet pass to White on the break that was turned into a conventional three-point play. After the Badgers erased that lead and tied things up with five minutes to play, Ratliff connected on another 3-pointer followed by a pirouetting layup that put the Hoosiers on top by five. Ratliff delivered his final dagger with a 12-foot baseline jumper at the 1:11 mark that gave IU a 70-66 cushion, capping an 18-point, 6-of-7 shooting second half for the Indianapolis guard. He came up one point short of his career-high with 20 points, but it was clearly the best game of Ratliff's IU career. With Armon Bassett limited due to foul trouble, Ratliff delivered big buckets throughout the half against the best team IU has faced this season.

Biggest Surprise… Indiana utilized a zone defense to contain Alando Tucker in the second half. The Hoosiers bounced back-and-forth between man and zone in the first half, and Tucker wound up with half of Wisconsin's 28 points on their way to a 28-26 lead at intermission. But in the second half IU played the zone extensively, and it worked wonders in limiting Tucker's opportunities. While the Hoosiers were in a zone, they were constantly shading the zone in the direction of Tucker, and everyone was well aware of where the All-America forward was at all times. When he touched the ball he quickly found himself swarmed by Hoosier defenders, and he wound up taking only six second-half shots. Wisconsin had to instead rely more on the 3-point shot more than they normally like, and the Badgers hit only 3-of-12 in the second half and 5-of-20 for the game.

What I Found Most Impressive… After watching a 10-point second half lead vanish, Indiana regrouped and executed down the stretch to get the win over the second-ranked Badgers. When Kammron Taylor's 3-pointer dropped through at the 4:53 mark to tie the game at 59, the tide had seemed turn. Wisconsin appeared poised to win its 18th straight, and Indiana appeared destined to put up another valiant effort against an elite team, only to come up on the wrong side of the scoreboard. But that didn't happen this time around. Indiana scored on five of its next seven possessions and committed only one turnover in the game's final five minutes. The closing minutes did have its scary moments – IU missed three of four free throws in the final minute and Kelvin Sampson had to race onto the floor to call a timeout after Earl Calloway had lost his footing and nearly the ball as well with 47 seconds remaining – but Indiana made enough plays and played with enough composure to get its biggest win in years.

What I Found Most Concerning… It didn't wind up making much of a difference, but Armon Bassett picked up a couple of careless fouls that landed him on the bench with foul trouble and nearly made him a non-factor in the game. Bassett picked up his third foul with 7:28 remaining in the first half and sat out the remainder of the period, and then he picked up a reach-in foul one minute into the second half and was on the bench again with four fouls. Bassett spent the next 10 minutes seated on the IU sidelines, but to his credit he eventually returned and hit a couple of huge baskets – he went to his favorite shot where he gets into the lane, draws contact from his defender, and then elevates for a mid-range jumper to put IU up 55-51 with 6:51 remaining, and he then added a 3-pointer a minute later that gave IU a 58-53 lead. Bassett gets plenty of credit for responding from his disappointing start to still have an impact on the game's outcome, but IU needs him to avoid foul trouble and stay on the floor.

Turning Point: Ratliff had plenty of big moments in the second half, but it was his back-to-back buckets once the clock ticked under five minutes that saved the Hoosiers. Wisconsin had knotted the game at 59, but a Ratliff 3 wrestled the lead back, and he then stole the ball from Kammron Taylor and converted in the lane to put IU up five. The Badgers would get no closer than two the rest of the way.

Notes:
Indiana's bench outscored Wisconsin's 30-16. Ratliff, Mike White and Joey Shaw combined to make 12-of-15 shots off the bench…IU football recruit Jerimy Finch sat courtside for Wednesday's game, flanked by IU Coach Terry Hoeppner and All-Big Ten wideout James Hardy. Finch also talked with former IU defensive end and current St. Louis Ram Victor Adeyanju who was in town for the game…Indiana shot 50.9 percent from the floor (27-of-53) marking the sixth time this season they've shot 50 percent or better (Lafayette, Chicago State, IUPUI, Purdue and Michigan).

Quotable: "I don't think we've beaten a top three team since I've been here. It's real big for me and my career. It is something I'll remember for a long time." – AJ Ratliff.

"Coach told me right after halftime to be more aggressive. To go to the hole and try to get the foul, and that's what I tried to do." – D.J. White, who attempted six of IU's first seven shots in the second half.

"I felt somebody had to step up and make plays. D.J. made plays and my teammates were counting on me to make the shots. It was opening up and I had all the confidence in the world. Coach had confidence and my teammates had confidence in me and my confidence was sky high." – AJ Ratliff

"We shot 50 percent. Going on the road and being able to do that with what they have been doing to people in here, that I can live with. In transition, they pulled some of those 3s quickly. Those are the same shots that other teams have had in transition, and pulled it quick and when they missed, and then we get the rebound. It hurts when you make them go down to the other end and guard you. But when they go in, it hurts us." – Wisconsin Coach Bo Ryan

"This was a collective effort tonight. Our crowd deserves as much credit as wel do. They were great tonight…tonight we had to raise our level of play and so did (the fans)." – IU Coach Kelvin Sampson.

"Tomorrow I'll get them back down to earth, but tonight I'm going to let them enjoy it." – IU Coach Kelvin Sampson

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