Know Your Role

Shooting a combined 38.4 percent overall (91 of 237) and 25.8 percent from 3-point range (25 of 97) in its last four road games, No.10 Wisconsin will need players other than Jon Leuer and Jordan Taylor to step up in the final stretch, starting with last-place Indiana on Thursday.

MADISON — For achievements sake, Wisconsin posting a perfect record at home for the third time in Bo Ryan — and consequently the third time in 80 years — should be celebrated as a strength of the Badgers program.

It also may make Wisconsin fans nervous for the madness that is March.

Although they sport a perfect 16-0 mark at the Kohl Center, the Badgers have gone just 6-6 away from Madison this year when you combine true road and neutral games. Seeing as every game from here on out will be outside the state of Wisconsin, this may be cause for concern as UW looks to wrap up its season on top and solve their road problems at the same time.

"It is an atmosphere thing," UW forward Keaton Nankivil said. "We spend all summer, all preseason and all postseason with the majority of practices on our floor playing with our ball on our background. You get a really good feeling from doing the same thing every day.

"We are playing with a different ball, different background and it is not an excuse but that is the type of thing that can be reflected in shooting percentages."

While the Wisconsin players may not be making excuses, the fact remains that a .500 record away from home is the worst of any team ranked in the top 10 by far, whatever the reasons.

Even the last two wins the Badgers have scored on the road have come under extreme duress. Needing overtime to beat Iowa and a bank, buzzer-beating three- pointer from Josh Gasser to overcome Michigan doesn't exactly scream Wisconsin is ready to put together their best basketball of the season for the most important month.

"It is a concern for sure because it has gotten us into some trouble," Nankivil said. "But down the road everyone is playing with a standardized ball in new arenas and that levels the playing field at a certain point in the season."

The best way to prove the road struggles have been a fluke would be to control Indiana from start to finish Thursday. Although the Hoosiers stayed in the game at the Kohl Center thanks to some excellent shooting, the Badgers should have no problem bumping their road record up a notch if they knock down shots they make with ease at the Kohl Center.

And with the final true road game at Ohio State, it would behoove Wisconsin — and ease some trepidation among their fans — to ride on the positive side of the fickle beast known as momentum.

"We have obviously been playing well at home and if we can string out some good performances to end the regular season on the road here that would be huge for us," UW freshman Josh Gasser sagely stated. "All the tournament games would be away from home obviously, so to get a couple big wins on the road would be the way to start off tournament time."


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