Preview: Wisconsin at No.2 Indiana

Although Wisconsin has won the last 10 meetings in the series, the Badgers will need to have a lot of things go right to extend the streak against a much improved Indiana squad - ranked No.2 in the country - tonight in Bloomington.

Wisconsin (12-4, 3-0 Big Ten) at No.2 Indiana (15-1, 3-0 Big Ten)

Date/Time -Tuesday, January 15, 8 p.m. Central

Arena –Assembly Hall (17,456)

Television - ESPN (Mike Tirico, Dan Dakich & Sam Ponder)

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

Series – Indiana leads 93-65 (Indiana leads 51-26 in Bloomington)

Last Meeting - Wisconsin won, 79-71, on March 9, 2012 in Indianapolis

Wisconsin Probable Starters

1 Ben Brust (6-1 Junior Guard, 11.1 ppg)

5 Ryan Evans (6-6 Senior Forward, 11.4 ppg)

12 Traevon Jackson (6-2 Sophomore Guard, 5.3 ppg)

31 Mike Bruesewitz (6-6 Senior Forward, 7.2 ppg)

40 Jared Berggren (6-10 Senior Forward, 13.4 ppg)

Off the Bench

3 George Marshall (5-11 Freshman Guard, 5.2 ppg)

15 Sam Dekker (6-7 Freshman Forward, 9.3 ppg)

32 Zak Showalter (6-2 Freshman Guard, 2.6 ppg)

44 Frank Kaminsky (6-11 Sophomore Forward, 4.6 ppg)

Indiana Probable Starters

1 Jordan Hulls (6-0 Senior Guard, 11.6 ppg)

2 Christian Watford (6-9 Senior Forward, 12.9 ppg)

4 Victor Oladipo (6-5 Junior Guard, 13.8 ppg)

11 Yogi Ferrell (6-0 Freshman Guard, 6.6 ppg)

40 Cody Zeller (7-0 Sophomore Center, 16.6 ppg)

Off the Bench

0 Will Sheehey (6-7 Junior Forward, 11.4 ppg)

12 Hanner Mosquera-Perea (6-8 Freshman Forward, 1.9 ppg)

23 Remy Abell (6-4 Sophomore Guard, 6.2 ppg)

Last Time Out

MADISON (BadgerHerald) - If there were any doubts that Wisconsin is a legitimate offensive threat, they were buried within the first 20 minutes of its game with Illinois Saturday afternoon at the Kohl Center.

The Badgers opened up the game on a 14-0 run thanks to seven quick points from redshirt senior center Jared Berggren, eventually extending their lead to 31-7 in the game's first 15 minutes and never looking back.

Wisconsin out-rebounded Illinois 43-24, racking up 18 offensive boards, a ghastly number for Illini head coach John Groce considering the Badgers racked up 23 points off second chances.

"I thought [Wisconsin] dominated every facet of the game, especially in the first half," Groce said. "At the end of the day their competitive spirit was better than ours to start the game. That is unacceptable."

It was a complete 180 for an Illinois team who hung tough with the No. 1 offensive rebounding team in the country, Minnesota, on Wednesday, only allowing seven offensive rebounds.

"We were hungry on the glass, and it showed," redshirt senior Mike Bruesewitz said, who recorded eight rebounds on the game.

Berggren recorded the first double-double of his career, with a team best 15 points and leading all players with 12 rebounds. Sophomore point guard Traevon Jackson recorded a career-high 14 points against the Illini, while freshman Sam Dekker and redshirt senior Ryan Evans scored 13 and 10 points, respectively.

A key part of the offensive explosion by UW, Berggren was a force all-day on both ends of the court, making several tips on rebounds for baskets and bringing in seven offensive rebounds, including an alley-oop from Dekker to bring the lead to 29-7 in the first half and send the Kohl Center into a frenzy. Berggren also recorded two blocks on the game, giving him a Big Ten-best 33 on the season.

"It's about time," Berggren said with a smile about his double-double. "Hopefully it's the first of many."

Dekker and Evans provided some fireworks in the second half with a pair of electrifying dunk. Dekker's came at the 11:10 mark of the second half following his own steal, as he took the ball coast-to-coast and finished with a one-hand slam. Evans came just thirty seconds in to the second half, driving to the hoop with a man draped over him and throwing a two-handed slam over his defender.

Wisconsin held Illinois to just 26 percent shooting in the first half and 35 for the entire game, including star Illini guard Brandon Paul to just 1-for-11 from the field. Paul finished with just eight points on the day, well below his season average of 18 points per game.

Last Meeting

INDIANAPOLIS (BadgerNation) - As expected, a senior guard led the University of Wisconsin. The name of the guard, however, is the shocking part.

Rob Wilson's career high was 13 points – a mark he hit over two years ago – entering Friday's Big Ten Tournament quarterfinal against No.15 Indiana at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Since that day, he struggled with hamstring injuries last year – to the point where UW coach Bo Ryan admitted in hindsight that the UW medical staff should have redshirted him.

His consistency and confidence went though and ebbs and flows and played eight minutes or less in six consecutive games from Jan. 18 to Feb.9.

That's all in the past now. With Wisconsin's other senior guard, Jordan Taylor, struggling though poor shooting and foul trouble, Wilson came off the bench to score 30 points on an efficient 16 shots to help No.14 Wisconsin outlast the Hoosiers, 79-71.

Wisconsin (24-8) beat Indiana (25-8) for the 10th straight time to lead the Badgers into the Big Ten semifinals for the first time since 2008.

"The weight of the ball felt like it was going in today," said Wilson. "I don't remember that feeling in a long time."

Wilson's performance assaulted the record books, as he set a new UW record for most points in the Big Ten Tournament (surpassing Devin Harris' 29 points against Illinois in 2004), his 11 made field goals surpassed Harris and Alando Tucker's 10, his made 3-pointers were more than Harris' five against Michigan State in 2004 and his 70 percent from 3-point range was better than Sean Masson's 57.1 percent against Iowa in 1999.

Most of all, it was unexpected for a player that scored 36 total points his entire junior year and hasn't started a game all season.

"He's been doing this in practice, in these last few games, and he's really been coming on for us," said junior Jared Berggren, who added 16 points and nine rebounds. "I can't honestly say I expected him to have 30 before this game. I knew he was capable of putting up good numbers, so it was fun to see."

Fun, and necessary. With Taylor a nonfactor shooting 3-for-12 and sitting at lengths on the bench because of foul trouble, Wilson carried the offense. After Indiana – which got 17 points from Jordan Hulls, Christian Watford and Cody Zeller - cut a seven-point lead down to one early in the second half, Wilson hit 3-pointers on consecutive possessions to push the UW lead to 48-41, both coming off assists from Josh Gasser and Mike Bruesewitz.

"It's crazy," Gasser said of Wilson, who scored nine straight points for UW during that stretch. "He deserves a performance like this. When he hits one or two shots you feel great because he's a senior who has worked himself up being one of the hardest workers on the team."

All of those shots fail to compare to his final dagger. With Indiana cutting the lead to four with 70 seconds remaining and a partisan Hoosiers crowd on their feet, Taylor swung the ball to Wilson at the right elbow and unleashed a fist pump when Wilson buried it at the end of the shot clock.

"Needless to say we had a player who was in a zone," said coach Bo Ryan, who recorded his 266th victory at UW, the most in program history. "And his teammates found him. He worked hard to get open. I think Rob Wilson's the story of the game as far as our offensive end goes."

Series Notes:

UW's 10-game win streak over IU is the most consecutive victories against the Hoosiers by any team since 1919. The last team to win at least 10 in a row vs. Indiana was also Wisconsin, ripping off 11 straight.

UW's 10-game win streak vs. the Hoosiers is also the 2nd-longest active streak of victories over a single opponent in the Big Ten, trailing Ohio State's 16 game win streak over Penn State.

The Badgers have won the last 10 games against Indiana by an average of 15.0 points per game.

The Badgers have won in each of their last four visits to Assembly Hall. UW is the only team in history to beat Indiana four consecutive times in that building.

Wisconsin's 4-game win streak at Indiana is also the longest by any team since 1923.

Bo Ryan is 16-3 all-time vs. Indiana. Ryan also boasts a 12-3 all-time record vs. Tom Crean, with 7 of those decisions coming while Crean was at Marquette.

Wisconsin has held Indiana to an average of 57.6 points per game during the 8 meetings with Tom Crean as the IU head coach.

Wisconsin Notes

Evans has been arguably the Big Ten's most consistent player dating back to last season. The 5th-year grad student has scored in double figures in 15 consecutive Big Ten contests, the longest active streak in the conference. He also ranks 2nd in the Big Ten averaging 7.8 rebounds per game.

With his next win, Bo Ryan (663-208, .761) will tie the legendary John Wooden (664-162, .804) for 38th place on the NCAA all-time wins list.

UW is 11-0 when shooting a better FG percentage than its opponents and 1-4 when the opponent shoots better. The Badgers have won 83 of their last 84 games when owning the better FG percentage, including 14 consecutive such wins. Wisconsin's only loss since 2009 when shooting a higher FG percentage was a 67-66 loss at Iowa (2/23/12).

In 12 seasons at the helm of Wisconsin, Bo Ryan's teams are 42-49 (.462) in games vs. teams ranked in the AP Top 25. Wisconsin is 1-2 against ranked teams this season.

UW's last road win over an AP top-10 team was a 63-60 win at No. 8 Ohio State last season (2/26/12). Wisconsin's only 2 road wins over AP top-5 teams came in a 72-71 win at No. 4 Ohio State (1/26/80) and an 82-66 win at No. 5 LSU (12/19/53).

Indiana Notes:

The Hoosiers are one of the most improved teams in the country defensively ranking sixth in the nation in field goal percentage defense with a Big Ten best (36.4 percent) and third in the country in rebound margin (+11.1). After two weeks of Big Ten play, the Hoosiers lead in conference games only holding their three opponents to 36.5 percent shooting.

Senior Jordan Hulls leads the nation in 3-point field goal percentage at 52.5 percent. He is averaging 16.5 points and shooting 57.1 percent from the field and 60.0 percent from long distance in his last two games. He had 19 points and four rebounds against Minnesota and 14 points at Penn State.

Sophomore All-American Cody Zeller He is fourth in scoring (16.6), second in rebounds (7.8) and in field goal percentage (63.4 percent). In 40 minute stats, Zeller leads the Big Ten in points/assists/rebounds per game at 36.9.


People had reasons to be skeptical of Wisconsin heading into its toughest Big Ten stretch in years, especially after back-to-back ugly wins to open conference play and that UW had massively failed to put together any kind of complete performance against the two ranked teams on its nonconference schedule.

Wisconsin assistant coach Gary Close has been around the game long enough to not be surprised by anything a basketball does on any given night. So when Wisconsin throttled down to be Illinois by 23 points, the Badgers' biggest victory over the Illini since 1974, Close wasn't surprised as much as he was relieved that a complete performance.

"We got off to a good start, which we haven't done consistently this year," said Close. "We jumped off with some really good defensively possessions and we really sustained it throughout the entire game. I thought we really played good basketball for 40 minutes.

"Of course when you knock down shots, everything looks better."

The task now is to finally play a complete 40 minutes away from home, something Wisconsin hasn't done in five previous opportunities and would appear to be a huge thing to ask going into Bloomington tonight.

Yes, Wisconsin has won the last 10 meetings in the series, including the last four games at Indiana's Assembly Hall. The only difference between this Indiana team and the ones Wisconsin beat over the past 10 meetings is the Hoosiers are the better squad: using a mix of senior leadership with young talent that makes them hard to defend.

Indiana leads the nation in scoring at 87.1 points per game as well as scoring differential (26.6) and free throws made (333). The Hoosiers are shooting 51.1 percent overall, 41.9 percent from 3-point range and 73.8 percent from the free throw line to lead the Big Ten in all three categories, not to mention assists at 17.1 points per game.

With all those numbers, it's not a surprise that Indiana is the only Big Ten team to have five players averaging at least 11 points per game.

"They've added pieces every year and it's culminated this year with some very experienced players," said Close, who handled the scouting report. "They have some talented players and a lot of have them have improved. Some of those players they had before aren't the same ones they've got now."

Close went right down the list of players who he felt made a big jump from last March to now, starting with Oladipo (who leads the Big Ten with 2.4 steals per game) to Watford (110 starts) to Hulls ("He's a tough sucker," said Close).

"They are just crushing people," said Close.

Since that is the case, Wisconsin will have to stick to what it does well and not get sucked into the Hoosiers' style of play (things that hurt Wisconsin when it played Creighton, Florida and Marquette). Over the last three games, Wisconsin has held each of its opponents to points per possession totals of less than .90.

Berggren, who leads the Badgers with 13.4 points per game, has a league-high 2.1 blocked shots per game and is coming off his first career double-double, will have to play against Zeller the way he played against him and former Buckeyes center Jared Sullinger in Columbus last year. Zeller shot 7-for-16 from the floor in two meetings against Wisconsin last year, but is averaging 16.6 points and 7.8 rebounds per game and is shooting 63.4 percent from the field this season.

The Badgers will also have to play above their youth, as UW has three freshmen and two sophomores among its top nine players in minutes while Indiana's Hulls and Watford have a combined 211 starts. That means Jackson will have to play with better poise and control than his previous road games, which could be generously labeled as ‘below average.'

"You just have to stick to what you do well and do it when it gets difficult, which is inevitable at (Assembly Hall)," said Close. "If we can stay composed, we have a shot."

Winners of six in a row since the loss at Marquette, it's easy to tell that Wisconsin is starting to consistently take steps up the mountain instead of taking two steps forward and one step back. It's been important, as well, that the Badgers have been playing without Gasser for nearly three months and Bruesewitz, the team's energy man, is back on the court at full strength.

It's been a learning process at a lot of positions with a lot of youth getting extended minutes. Wisconsin has played in an environment like this before (at Gainesville) that the Badgers should have an idea what to expect. I expect UW to play better tonight than it has on the road this season, but Indiana is so tough and balanced that they can wear down young teams.

Wisconsin keeps it close, but falls to the Hoosiers for the first time since January 2007 by 12.

Worgull's Record: 11-5

Points off Prediction: 191 (11.93 per game)

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