Preview: No.15 Indiana vs. No.14 Wisconsin

Having the second longest winning streak entering the Big Ten Tournament, No.14 Wisconsin plays the team Friday afternoon with the longest winning streak, as No.15 Indiana has won five in a row and is playing in front of the home crowd.

No.15 Indiana (25-7, 11-7 Big Ten) vs. No.14 Wisconsin (23-8, 12-6 Big Ten)

Date/Time - Friday, March 9, approx 1:30 p.m. Central

Arena – Banker's Life Fieldhouse (18,345)

Television - ESPN (Dave O'Brien and Dan Dakich)

Radio - Wisconsin Radio Network (Matt Lepay and Mike Lucas)

Series – Indiana leads 93-64 (Indiana leads 2-0 in neutral site)

Last Meeting – Wisconsin won, 57-50, on January 26, 2012 in Madison

Wisconsin Probable Starters

5 Ryan Evans (6-6 Junior Forward, 10.7 ppg)

11 Jordan Taylor (6-1 Senior Guard, 14.6 ppg)

21 Josh Gasser (6-3 Sophomore Guard, 7.9 ppg)

31 Mike Bruesewitz (6-6 Junior Forward, 5.9 ppg)

40 Jared Berggren (6-10 Junior Forward, 10.4 ppg)

Off the Bench

1 Ben Brust (6-1 Sophomore Guard, 7.7 ppg)

12 Traevon Jackson (6-2 Freshman Guard, 1.3 ppg)

33 Rob Wilson (6-4 Senior Guard, 3.1 ppg)

44 Frank Kaminsky (6-11 Freshman Forward, 2.0 ppg)

Indiana Probable Starters

1 Jordan Hulls (Junior Guard, 11.1 ppg)

2 Christian Watford (Junior Forward, 11.8 ppg)

4 Victor Oladipo (Sophomore Guard, 11.2 ppg)

10 Will Sheehey (Sophomore Forward, 8.7 ppg)

40 Cody Zeller (Freshman Forward, 15.4 ppg)

Off the Bench

12 Verdell Jones III (Senior Guard, 7.8 ppg)

23 Remy Abell (Freshman Guard, 2.7 ppg)

30 Matt Roth (Junior Guard, 4.7 ppg)

32 Derek Elston (Junior Forward, 4.7 ppg)

Last Time Out

If senior day is meant to showcase and honor the talents of that year's senior class, No.14 Wisconsin couldn't have done a more fitting job than the way it honored seniors Taylor and Wilson. Actually, it was more along the lines of Taylor and Wilson wanting to close out their Kohl Center career and head into the post season playing their best.

Taylor scored eight of his 16 points and Wilson's six of his eight points in a dominant first half that set the tone for their 70-56 victory over Illinois in the regular season finale at the Kohl Center.

"It felt great," said Wilson. "To come out here and get a win will always put the icing on the cake on senior day."

Wisconsin (23-8, 12-6 Big Ten) got four players in double figures to finish the season on a three-game winning streak and closes Big Ten play alone in fourth place – extending their streak to 11 straight seasons under UW coach Bo Ryan.

The win improves Ryan's 11-year record at Wisconsin to 265-99, putting him in a tie for first place for most wins in school history with Bud Foster, who went 265-267 from 1935-59 and won the school's only national championship in 1941.

On Wisconsin's 14-2 run to open the game's first six minutes, Taylor and Wilson combined to score nine points and go 3-for-3 from 3-point range, but it was Wilson that drew some of the loudest cheers.

Following Taylor's three, Wilson hit a 3-pointer from each elbow in two of the next three possessions. On the possession he didn't score, Wilson tipped a rebound away from an Illinois defense to Ryan Evans (who extended his double-digit scoring run to 10 games following his 10 points), whose baseball pass to Josh Gasser resulted in an easy lay-up and a frustrated Illinois coach Bruce Weber calling timeout.

That set the tone for Wisconsin winning on senior day for the 11th straight time under Ryan.

- By Benjamin Worgull – Badgernation.com

Last Meeting

Brust hit the big shots, Bruesewitz got the big rebounds and Berggren shut down true freshman Cody Zeller, all of which helped turn a game with 10 lead changes finally in their favor in a 57-50 victory over No.16 Indiana.

Not only do they have their first five-game winning streak in Big Ten play since Feb. 5-19, 2009 and their ninth straight win over the Hoosiers, the Badgers showed for the second time on their torrid stretch that it can win games when it gets outshot by their opponent.

How could he not, especially on a night where senior point guard Jordan Taylor goes 5 of 14 from the field and 0 of 5 from three-point range? Wisconsin (17-5, 6-3 Big Ten) certainly didn't shoot well, finishing at 39.6 percent, but got Brust to hit the big shots when they needed him to.

Even when his shooting was at a worse for wear, an 8-for-26 slump during UW's skid, Brust just kept firing. He knew it had to come eventually. After all, he was too good of a shooter not to find his groove.

But after showing he was more than a three-point marksman at Illinois – the first time he scored at least nine points a game without hitting a three-pointer – on Jan.22, Brust went back to his comfort zone, hitting three three-pointers for the sixth time this season, but just the second time in Big Ten play. They came at the right time.

With Indiana (16-5, 4-5) threatening to pull away up five, Brust hit a three-pointer from the corner and came back three minutes later to hit another triple, giving UW a 41-39 lead with 9:22 to go.

He was also active in the paint - cutting through the lane to get a perfect pass from Bruesewitz that resulted in a wide-open layup on the right block – and opportunistic on the glass, grabbing his own offensive rebound with 1:34 remaining and UW leading 51-50.

That eventually led to a pair of Evans' free throws - two of his perfect 8-for-8 performance from the line and two of Wisconsin going 12-for-12 from the line after starting 3-for-7 - after he grabbed an offensive rebound. Evans finished with 12 points and a team-high nine rebounds.

In the final 3:36, the Hoosiers didn't have a rebound, as the Badgers grabbed the last seven boards of the game, or made a three-pointer in the final 5:39, a big surprise coming from a team that ranked second in the country in three-point shooting percentage (44.9 percent).

- By Benjamin Worgull – Badgernation.com

Series Notes:

Wisconsin has won 9 straight games against Indiana and 15 of the last 18 meetings. The Badgers have won the last 9 games against Indiana by an average of 15.8 points per game.

UW's 9-game win streak vs. the Hoosiers is the team's longest vs. IU since winning 11 in a row from 1912-19. It also ranks as the 2nd-longest active streak of victories over a single opponent in the Big Ten.

UW's 9-game win streak over IU is the most consecutive victories against the Hoosiers by any team since 1935.

Bo Ryan is 15-3 all-time vs. Indiana. Ryan also boasts an 11-3 all-time record vs. Tom Crean, with 7 of those decisions coming while Crean was at Marquette.

In his last 3 games against Indiana, Jordan Taylor has averaged 25.7 points, including a career-high 39 points in a 77-67 win at Indiana last season.

Wisconsin Notes

The Badgers have earned a first-round bye for the 12th-straight season, the longest streak in Big Ten history. UW is looking for its first win in the Big Ten tournament since winning the championship in 2008.

Wisconsin owns a 14-12 (.538) overall record in Big Ten Tournament, winning championships in 2004 and 2008 and advancing to the finals in 2005 and 2007.

The Badgers have lost 3 straight games in the Big Ten tournament, with their last win coming in the 2008 Tournament Championship Game.

Bo Ryan's teams are 10-8 in the BTT.

The Badgers are a No. 4 seed for the fifth time in tournament history and the 3rd time in the last 4 years. UW is just 1-4 as a No. 4 seed, with opening game losses in each of the last three instances.

UW's current roster owns a combined 10 games of Big Ten Tournament experience and 36 total points. Jordan Taylor has scored 24 of those 36 points, averaging 8.0 pts, 3.0 rebs, 2.7 asts in 3 games.

After a 1-3 start to Big Ten play, Wisconsin finished with a 12-6 record and just one game out of first place in the nation's top-rated conference. Wisconsin has now finished among the top 4 in the Big Ten for each of Bo Ryan's 11 seasons in Madison. That streak of 11-straight top-4 finishes is the Big Ten's longest in 80 years and the 2nd-longest of all-time.

Indiana Notes:

Indiana is 2-2 as the No.5 seed and 9-14 all-time in the Big Ten Tournament.

Hulls and Zeller combined to score Indiana's first 22 points in its opening round win over Penn State. Hulls scored 13 and Zeller scored nine in the first 13:22 of the first half.

Hulls' four 3-point field goals tied Verdell Jones and A.J. Guyton for the most even by an Indiana player in the Big Ten Tournament.

Indiana's 45 rebounds tied its season high and are tied for the eighth most rebounds in a Big Ten Tournament game.

Prediction

Indiana's season has been filled with firsts for the Tom Crean Era. IU pulled off its first win over a top-five team in early December when it beat No. 1 Kentucky at Assembly Hall. Then the Hoosiers won multiple road games during the non-conference schedule for the first time under Crean, and they later won multiple conference road games, again for the first time in Crean's tenure.

After becoming the first league school in nearly six decades to beat a No. 1 and No. 2 team in the same season, after winning a school record 18 games at Assembly Hall and producing the first perfect non-conference season since 1989-90, Indiana now has its first postseason victory since beating Gonzaga in the first round of the 2007 NCAA tournament.

Their last win in Big Ten tourney play was a 61-56 decision over Wisconsin on March 10, 2006 and was 0-3 just up the road from its campus under Crean before Thursday's beating of Penn State.

Although the Hoosiers finished just below .500 (5-6) on the road, their game against the Nittany Lions had the look and the feel of a home game. That should bode well for them against the Badgers, who have their own issues in the Big Ten Tournament (having dropped their last opening game appearances after winning the title in 2008).

If Wisconsin wants to hang out in Indiana's capitol city for at least one more day, it's going to have to find a way to contain Zeller. Registering his fourth double-double of the season Thursday, Zeller has scored in double figures 27 times this season. One game he didn't reach that mark was in Madison, when the super freshman was held to only seven points on 2-for-7 shooting. He also didn't get to the free throw line, making 3 of his 4 attempts. Against Penn State, Zeller made 11 free throws, the most made by an Indiana player in tournament history.

One player the Badgers might not have to worry about is Jones, who suffered a serious-looking right knee injury with 5 minutes 45 seconds left in the first half against the Nittany Lions. Jones screamed in pain when his knee gave way and he had to be helped off the court.

"I was hopeful when he went down that it wasn't as significant," Crean said. "I'm going to keep holding out that hope but obviously I don't feel good about that."

Jones went 6-for-10 with 12 points against UW this season and is Indiana's lone senior in the rotation. If he can't play, that would e a huge blow.

Simply put, Wisconsin has to contain Zeller, hit some shots early to take what will be a pro-Indiana crowd out of the game and ignite its own fan base and get to the foul line. In the 57-50 win over the Hoosiers, Wisconsin hit 15 of 19 free throws and got four players in double figures. Indiana made only 5 of 10 attempts.

They may have renamed Conseco Fieldhouse to Bankers Life Fieldhouse, but it's still the same arena where UW struggled to make shots last season … and that team could shoot consistently. UW is coming in cold while Indiana was the best of the eight teams that played Thursday. Playing close to home where it knocked off three top five teams, IU ends a dominant UW with a five-point decision.

Worgull's Record: 25-6

Points off Prediction: 281 (9.06 per game)


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