Breakdown: Indiana at No.14 Wisconsin

Back on track with five straight wins, including three over ranked teams, No.14 Wisconsin has a chance to open the NCAA tournament in Milwaukee down the road. In the present, however, the Badgers have some unfinished business with Indiana when the Hoosiers visit the Kohl Center tonight. BadgerNation breaks down the matchup.

Indiana (15-11, 5-8 Big Ten) at No.14 Wisconsin (22-5, 9-5 Big Ten)

Date/Time -Tuesday, February 25, 8 p.m. Central

Arena –Kohl Center (17,230)

Television -ESPN (Mike Tirico, Dan Dakich and Allison Williams)

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

Series – Indiana leads 94-67 (Indiana leads 40-38 in Madison)

Last Meeting -Indiana won, 75-72, on January 14, 2014 in Bloomington, Ind.

Wisconsin Probable Starters

1 Ben Brust (6-1 Senior Guard, 12.6 ppg)

12 Traevon Jackson (6-2 Junior Guard, 10.6 ppg)

15 Sam Dekker (6-8 Sophomore Forward, 13.5 ppg)

21 Josh Gasser (6-3 Junior Guard, 9.0 ppg)

44 Frank Kaminsky (7-0 Junior Forward, 13.3 ppg)

Off the Bench

10 Nigel Hayes (6-7 Freshman Forward, 7.9 ppg)

13 Duje Dukan (6-9 Junior Forward, 2.6 ppg)

24 Bronson Koenig (6-3 Freshman Guard, 3.2 ppg)

Indiana Probable Starters

0 Will Sheehey (6-7 Senior Forward, 10.2 ppg)

1 Noah Vonleh (6-10 Freshman Forward, 11.7 ppg)

5 Troy Williams (6-7 Freshman Forward, 6.9 ppg)

11 Yogi Ferrell (6-0 Sophomore Guard, 17.7 ppg)

33 Jeremy Hollowell (6-8 Sophomore Forward, 6.5 ppg)

Off the Bench

10 Evan Gordon (6-0 Senior Guard, 5.9 ppg)

13 Austin Etherington(6-6 Sophomore Forward, 2.0 ppg)

22 Stanford Robinson (6-4 Freshman Guard, 5.9 ppg)

Last Time Out

No.16 Wisconsin never folded when the vice was tightened in the second half, resulting in the Badgers delivering another eye-popping resume win with a 79-74 victory at No.15 Iowa Saturday afternoon.

Winning at Carver-Hawkeye Arena for the first time in three years, Wisconsin (22-5, 9-5 Big Ten) has won five straight, are 7-2 against Top25 teams, have eight top-50 RPI wins and are 10-2 away from home, not bad for a team that everybody forgot about last month.

"People were writing us off, saying the sky is falling and stuff, but you've just got to stick with it," said Sam Dekker, who registered his second straight double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds. "It's basketball. It happens, but now we've got on a little bit of a roll here."

Behind Frank Kaminsky's 21 points and 12 each from Gasser and Bronson Koenig, the Badgers' second straight road upset keeps hopes alive for their first conference title since 2008 alive, moving alone into third place and staying two games behind Michigan and Michigan State in the loss column. Those two teams play each other in Ann Arbor Sunday.

And just like the game in Michigan last weekend, when the Badgers saw a big lead cut down to three in the second half before responding, Wisconsin didn't blink when they saw a double-digit lead evaporate.

"They just stuck with it," said UW coach Bo Ryan. "… Our guys had plenty of energy. Our guys aren't looking for excuses. They aren't looking for anybody to feel sorry for them. They just play."

In a second half that saw eight lead changes over the final 11 minutes, it appeared that Iowa (19-7, 8-5) was going to take control multiple times, especially with a little over six minutes remaining. Kaminsky, who had made so many stellar post moves throughout the game, missed a short post shot inside, leading to a transition bucket for Iowa, giving the Hawkeyes their largest lead in the second half at 62-58.

"In the second half we unfortunately let it slip away a little bit," said Gasser, who made three 3-pointers in a seven minute stretch of the second half that gave UW the instant offense it needed, "but then we made a couple big plays to stay with them."

After guard Josh Oglseby hit a jumper to give Iowa a 68-66 lead, Gasser buried a 3-pointer to put UW up one with 2:48 to go. The answers continued. After former UW player Jarrod Uthoff delivered a baseline runner with 2:11 to go, freshman Bronson Koenig notched his career-high 12th point on a jumper with 1:21 remaining.

Oglesby, who scored 15 of his 17 points in the second half delivered another jumper off a low-post ball screen to put Iowa up 72-71 with 61 seconds remaining, but Kaminsky took over from there. He answered with a jumper with 37.1 seconds left that gave Wisconsin a one-point lead, and then stripped Iowa's Roy Devyn Marble on a drive to the basket and hit two free throws as the Badgers went up 75-72 with 24.5 seconds left.

Marble had 21 points and 11 assists for the Hawkeyes, who lost their third home game in four tries. Including Kaminsky's two free throws, Wisconsin made its final six free throws, never letting Iowa get closer than three the rest of the game. - Benjamin Worgull, BadgerNation.com

Last Meeting

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - No.3 Wisconsin shot the lights out, finishing at 53.3 percent and put all five starters in double figures, but couldn't stop Indiana's post penetration or the Hoosiers' offense throughout the second half in a 75-72 defeat at Assembly Hall.

Indiana (12-5, 2-2) shot 51.6 percent from the field to counter UW and scored 69.3 percent of its points (52) in the paint on UW's interior lineup.

"We gave up a lot of layups and dunks and stuff in transition," said Brust, as Wisconsin has given up 39.3 points in the low post the last three games. "Stuff we need to take away if we're going to be successful."

Jackson led Wisconsin with a season-high 21 points, but said the Badgers struggled contesting shots with the way Indiana's guards draw fouls and how the game was being officiated.

Wisconsin was looking to tie the 2006-07 UW team for the longest win streak in the modern era, a streak that also ended in Assembly Hall. That '07 Hoosiers win also marked the last time Indiana had beaten Wisconsin, a span of 12 games that was tied for the longest losing streak Indiana had against any program.

It appeared like the dominance would continue opening stretch of the second half, thanks to Jackson. After playing only eight minutes in the first half because of foul trouble, Jackson hit his first five shots in the half – seven straight overall - and scored 11 of UW's first 14 points in the half.

When Dekker hit a 3-pointer with 13:28 left that capped a 17-8 run to start the half, a pin drop could be heard in the arena. It didn't stay that way for long.

Wisconsin went scoreless for the next 4:52, allowing the Hoosiers to rip off a 12-0 run to take its first lead since the opening three minutes. The run eventually ballooned to 19-5 and the Badgers never fully regained control, not with Indiana running through the Badgers in transition, staying aggressive and finishing at the hoop.

Wisconsin kept the game close the final 8:36, tying the game four more times and never trailing my more than five, but only managed four free throw attempts and didn't makes its first one until there was just over a minute remaining.

The Badgers had a chance to tie in the final 18.5 seconds, but that was almost as disorganized as UW's post defense. Out of timeouts and down three, Jackson attempted a 3-pointer over the outstretched arms of 6-10 freshman Noah Vonleh that went off the front iron.

Gasser corralled the rebound and kicked it out to Brust in front of the UW bench, but Brust attempted an off-balanced attempt with 6.6 seconds left that had no chance. Indiana grabbed the rebound, dribbled out the clock and sent the students on to the court.

- Benjamin Worgull, BadgerNation.com

Series Notes

Wisconsin has defeated Indiana 11 straight times at the Kohl Center. The Hoosiers have not won in Madison since 1998, prior to Bo Ryan's arrival.

Bo Ryan is 18-4 (.818) all-time vs. the Hoosiers. Prior to Ryan, Wisconsin was 49-90 (.353) all-time vs. Indiana. Ryan also boasts a 14-4 all-time record vs. Tom Crean, with seven of those decisions (and three of the four losses) coming while Crean was at Marquette.

Ryan's .818 winning percentage against Indiana is the second-best mark all-time among Big Ten coaches (behind Illinois and Purdue coach Ralph Jones' 12-0 record from 1910-20).

Indiana won this season's first meeting in Bloomington, Ind. 75-72. That Hoosiers win snapped Wisconsin's 12-game winning streak in this series. Overall, the Badgers have won 18 of the last 22 meetings.

UW's earlier 12-game win streak over IU equaled the most consecutive victories against the Hoosiers by any team in history. The only other team to win 12 in a row vs. Indiana was Purdue, from 1908 to 1914.

Wisconsin Notes

Over UW's last 3 games, Frank Kaminsky is averaging 21.0 ppg and 8.0 rpg, including 25 points and 11 boards at Michigan followed up with 21 points at Iowa. Arguably the most improved player in the league, he has increased his scoring by 9.1 ppg and his rebounding by 4.5 rpg from 2012-13.

The Badgers are also 6-1 this season against teams that were ranked in the AP poll at the time they faced them, beating Michigan State (8), Florida (11), Michigan (15), Iowa (15), Iowa (22) and Illinois (23).

The Badgers have 7 wins against teams currently ranked in the AP Top 25, beating Florida (2), Saint Louis (10), MSU (13), Virginia (14), Iowa (15) and Michigan (20). No other team in the nation has more than 5 wins over the current ranked teams.

Wisconsin ranks 3rd in the Big Ten shooting 37.1 percent from deep. UW shot 33.0 percent from 3-point range a year ago, good for seventh in the Big Ten.

Indiana Notes

On Saturday, the Hoosiers had a season-low seven turnovers against Northwestern and allowed just three points off turnover.

The 46 points allowed against Illinois Jan.26 were the fewest points a Hoosier opponent has scored in B1G play in the Tom Crean Era (since 2008-09 season). Since 1996- 97, Tom Crean's teams have notched four of the eight best Big Ten defensive efforts an Indiana team has had.

In the last 98 games, no team from a major conference has made more free throws during that span (1,819) than Indiana . The Hoosiers also leads in 3-point FG percentage (39.7) and free throw percentage (74.5).

Senior Will Sheehey is now 46th on the school's all-time scoring list with 1,021 points. He is the sixth player in six seasons under Tom Crean to eclipse the 1,000-point mark.

Prediction

It's amazing what back-to-back road wins over ranked opponents – for the first time in program history no less – can do for a team's already impressive profile. Following Wisconsin's Saturday win at Iowa, the results are in and they should excite Wisconsin fans.

The Badgers control their own fate for opening the NCAA tournament only 80 miles from the Kohl Center at Milwaukee's Bradley Center – one of seven opening-weekend sites scattered throughout the country – for the first time since 2004.

Our bracketologist – Kyle Reichert – says Wisconsin moved up to a two seed following those resume-boosting wins over Michigan and Iowa, giving UW five straight wins, a 7-2 record against the Top25, eight top-50 RPI wins and a 10-2 away from home. Others agree, especially when you dive deeper into UW's profile.

UW is No. 5 in the Ratings Percentage Index and is 5-2 vs. teams in the RRI Top 25 of the RPI, 8-3 vs. the Top 50 and 14-4 vs. the Top 100. UW is also 7-2 in road games and 3-0 in neutral-site settings, with eight of those 10 combined victories coming against RPI Top 100 teams (three of those victories coming on the road against the top 33).

UW's best two victories came at home over Florida (No.1 in the AP poll, No.3 in the RPI) and a neutral-court win over Saint Louis (No.10 AP, No.12 RPI).

While the third-place Badgers need a lot of help to win the conference championship, sitting two games behind Michigan and one behind Michigan State with four left to play, Wisconsin has plenty to play for with its tournament seeding … just don't tell that to UW coach Bo Ryan.

"People are talking about Milwaukee? Are you kidding me? We're talking about Indiana," he said. "And these kids are in the moment. These kids are playing right now. These kids are trying to enjoy their college careers."

Wisconsin was enjoying life a month-and-a-half ago when the Badgers were sitting 16-0 and No.3 in the AP poll and No.1 in the RPI, but the Badgers' 75-72 loss at Assembly Hall sent off a sting of five losses in six games. That stretch dropped Wisconsin from the list of true contenders for the Big Ten title, made opening the tournament in Milwaukee seem impossible and exposed UW's flawed interior defense.

Indiana's Yogi Ferrell, who is second in the Big Ten in scoring in conference games (18.6 ppg), scored 19 of his game-high 25 points in the second half, not to mention 16 of Indiana's 52 points in the paint. Freshman Noah Vonleh scored 13 points, grabbed six rebounds, dished out three assists and tied a season-high with four blocked shots, a performance that led him to one of his seven Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors.

Both of those players were part of the reason the Hoosiers erased a 52-42 Wisconsin leads with 13:28 left in the second half with a 12-0 run over the next 4:30 to take a 54-52 lead. Right next to UW's home loss to Northwestern, the loss was one of the low points of the season.

But this recent stretch of success has turned the ship around for Wisconsin while the Hoosiers have been reeling, and have seen their arena start to fall apart. Indiana is 3-6 since beating Wisconsin and it likely will get worse. With last Tuesday's game at Iowa postponed at Assembly Hall, the Hoosiers are playing three games in six days, all against ranked teams, before closing the year against bubble team Nebraska at home and finishing at Michigan.

Wisconsin's closing stretch is not overly difficult, but full of RPI potholes. Indiana (96), Penn State (116) and Purdue (122) all could deliver a serious blow to UW's resume and the Badgers' road game at Nebraska (46) won't be a pushover either.

Of UW's final four, however, this one appears the easiest. The Badgers are playing some of their best defense of the season and will face an Indiana team it's held to an average of 59.2 ppg during the 11 meetings with Tom Crean as the coach.

Revenge will be delivered Tuesday night, as the Badgers win by 15.

Worgull's Record: 17-10

Points off Prediction: 255 (9.4 per game)


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