Date/Time – Sunday, February 5, 12 p.m. central
Arena – Kohl Center (17,287)
Television – CBS (Carter Blackburn and Clark Kellogg)
Radio –Badgers Radio Network (Matt Lepay and Mike Lucas)
Series – Indiana leads 95-81 (Wisconsin leads 41-40 in Madison)
Last Meeting – Wisconsin won, 75-68, on January 3, 2017, in Bloomington, Ind.
WISCONSIN PROBABLE STARTERS
3 Zak Showalter (6-3 Senior Guard, 7.8 ppg)
10 Nigel Hayes (6-8 Senior Forward, 13.3 ppg)
22 Ethan Happ (6-10 Sophomore Forward, 14.5 ppg)
24 Bronson Koenig (6-2 Senior Guard, 14.1 ppg)
30 Vitto Brown (6-8 Senior Forward, 7.6 ppg)
OFF THE BENCH
0 D'Mitrik Trice (6-0 Freshman Guard, 5.8 ppg)
15 Charles Thomas (6-8 Sophomore Forward, 2.9 ppg)
21 Khalil Iverson (6-5 Sophomore Forward, 4.3 ppg)
PLAYER TO WATCH
Happ is the nation's only player to lead his team in points (16.8), rebounds (8.7), assists (2.9), blocks (1.3) and steals (2.7) during conference play.
INDIANA PROBABLE STARTERS
2 Josh Newkirk (6-2 Junior Guard, 8.0 ppg)
4 Robert Johnson (6-3 Junior Guard, 14.5 ppg)
11 Devonte Green (6-3 Freshman Guard, 4.1 ppg)
13 Juwan Morgan (6-8 Sophomore Forward, 6.7 ppg)
31 Thomas Bryant (6-10 Sophomore Center, 13.2 ppg)
OFF THE BENCH
0 Curtis Jones (6-4 Freshman Guard, 4.0 ppg)
15 Zach McRoberts (6-6 Sophomore Forward, 1.0 ppg)
20 De'Ron Davis (6-10 Freshman Forward, 6.0 ppg)
PLAYER TO WATCH
Coming off his sixth double-double of the season with a career-high 31 points and 11 boards against Penn State, Bryant is averaging 22.3 point and 8.0 rebounds in the last three games.
LAST TIME OUT
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – No.10 Wisconsin held an 11th team to a season-low point total, as the Badgers’ length and experience flustered Illinois in a 57-43 victory at the State Farm Center Tuesday.
“As seniors we don’t like to shoot well anyway,” Hayes joked. “We would just rather play defense.”
Happ registered his eighth double-double of the season with 14 points and 13 rebounds and Hayes added 11 points and eight rebounds for Wisconsin (19-3, 8-1 Big Ten), which won its second road game in four days.
The Badgers’ big men dominated the game in the post, out-rebounding Illinois 45-36 and securing 19 offensive rebounds. Five of those came on the final possession of the first half, as UW had the ball for the remaining 1:41 and capitalized with a Vitto Brown’s put-back with a second left to give UW a 13-point lead entering halftime.
Six different players for Wisconsin had an offensive rebound, including Happ with six, Brown with four and reserve Aaron Moesch with all three of his coming on that last first-half possession.
Koenig scored all nine of his points in the first half, Showalter dropped in eight and Iverson added six points, three steals and two blocks off the bench.
Illinois (13-10, 3-7) came in shooting 49.9 percent from the floor and 42.8 percent from 3-point range in 12 home games this season, but shot 27.6 percent from the field and 5 of 21 from beyond the arc, including 1 of 11 in the second half.
The Illini have lost 11 straight to the Badgers, including five on their home court, and been held under 70 points in 23 of the last 24 meetings against UW.
Part of that total was due to the Badgers holding Malcolm Hill – fifth-leading scorer in the Big Ten at 17.5 points – to only 10 points on 4-for-14 shooting.
While Wisconsin has had only two conference games where it shot over 43 percent in each half, the Badgers led wire-to-wire thanks to opening the game on a 16-2 run. But while UW has used its size to out-scored teams by 12.4 points in the paint per game, Wisconsin saw Happ, Koenig, Hayes and Showalter all hit jumpers and the shots kept falling early.
After making only five field goals in the first half Saturday, extending its streak of three straight games shooting less than 40 percent in the first half, Wisconsin made 12 of its first 23 shots and shot 42.4 percent in the opening half.
Even when UW cooled, going 4 of 14 to start the second half to allow Illinois to cut the lead to 42-26 with 10:55 remaining, Showalter hit a 3-pointer to spark a 9-1 run that rebuilt a lead that stayed in double digits for the final 8:52.
Since 2002, Wisconsin is 22-5 (.815) vs. the Hoosiers, including winning 16 of the last 18. Prior to that, UW was 49-90 (.353) all-time vs. Indiana.
The Badgers have won 14 consecutive games against the Hoosiers in Madison. Indiana’s last win at the Kohl Center was in 1998. UW’s active home win streak vs. IU is the third-longest ever against the Hoosiers, behind a 19 game streak to Purdue (1901-22) and 15 to Michigan State (1992-2011).
UW’s streak of 14 straight home wins over IU is the second-longest active streak in the Big Ten. IU’s 14 straight losses in Madison is their longest active streak against Big Ten teams. The Hoosiers’ next-longest is 3 straight at MSU.
Since Tom Crean got to Indiana, Wisconsin owns a 14-2 all-time record vs. the Hoosiers. UW has held IU to an average of 62.1 ppg in the 16 meetings of the Crean era. The Hoosiers currently lead the Big Ten in scoring (83.0 ppg).
Wisconsin has won 16 of 18 since Indiana coach Tom Crean arrived and six of the last eight in this historic venue. Most importantly, the Badgers weren’t perfect but still extended its winning streak to nine.
Wisconsin hadn’t played a game closer than nine points the entire season, so finding itself in a back-and-forth affair was something new for this group. Of course this group is mostly old veterans who had been down this road before, going 11-9 in games decided by 10 points or less a year ago.
A one-possession game from 15:12 to 6:10 in the second half, Wisconsin relied on its veterans. Happ, Bronson Koenig (17 points), Zak Showalter (14) and Nigel Hayes (12) scored 31 of Wisconsin’s 37 points in the second half, including 22 in a row down the stretch.
The work down the stretch was methodical and balanced. After Hayes and Happ attacked and scored in the low post, Showalter did the same, executing a little pump fake to open up a clean alley for him to attack the basket. One possession later he nailed a 3-pointer to push the score to 66-59, UW’s largest in 12 minutes.
Happ scored 11 of his points in the second half, but his defensive stand on center Thomas Bryant might be the standout play. After hitting a layup to make it 68-63 with 1:51 remaining, Happ – playing with four fouls – prevented Bryant from attacking the lane and forced him to take an off-target fade away.
Happ recovered the rebound and Vitto Brown hit his own bucket of the second half – a 3-pointer – with 41 seconds left to make it 71-63. Ball game.
Losers of three straight, Indiana (10-5, 0-2) entered the conference’s top rebounding team at 44.0 per game, Wisconsin entered as the conference’s top defensive rebounding team at 27.0 per contest and both were tied at the top of the conference with a plus-13.8 rebounding margin.
The Hoosiers also led the conference in scoring (86.5 point per game) and field goal percentage (49.8 percent) and were second in 3-point percentage (39.1 percent).
Wisconsin allowed them to shoot 53.1 percent from the field on 61 possessions, numbers the Hoosiers helped generated by scoring 38 points in the paint. Twenty of those came in the first half, benefited by 13 second-chance points that helped erase a Wisconsin lead that was as many as 14 points.
A friendly reminder by Gard to box out in the second half helped the numbers recover, holding the Hoosiers to only 12 rebounds (three offensive) in the second half and two second-chance points.
Considering the point total and holding them to 5 of 15 from 3-point range, UW can live with losing the rebounding battle 32-25.
Winning 18 in a row at home, the seventh-longest active streak in the N.C.A.A, Wisconsin is 270-39 (.874) all-time at the Kohl Center.
Wisconsin is averaging 75.0 points per game, a figure that would serve as the team's highest scoring output since averaging 77.9 ppg in the 1993-94 season.
The Badgers are third in the Big Ten and 29th in the N.C.A.A. with just 11.2 turnovers per game.
UW has had a commanding advantage on the offensive glass, grabbing 278 offensive boards compared to just 178 for its opponents. UW's 12.6 offensive rebounds per game ranks fourth in the Big Ten.
The Hoosiers defeated Penn State at home 110-102 in triple overtime on Wednesday. It was IU’s second 3OT game ever. The other came in 1987 at Wisconsin where the Hoosiers captured an 86-85 triumph.
Last year, Hoosier starters missed 21 Big Ten games (Blackmon, Jr./Johnson). This year injuries project to keep out Hoosier starters for 35 games (Hartman/Anunoby/Blackmon. Jr./ Morgan).
IU is the first school to have seven players record a double/double in the same season since North Carolina did in 2009-10. (Anunoby, Morgan, Blackmon, Jr., Bryant, Newkirk, Johnson, Green)
Since 2014-15, the Hoosiers have averaged 9.4 3-pointers per game, the most of any major college program. Defending national champion Villanova is second (8.9).
Three months ago this was viewed as one of the bigger games in the Big Ten conference, an expected match-up of top 25 teams (heck maybe even top 10 teams) as a Super Bowl appetizer. Wisconsin has held up its end of the bargain; Indiana has not.
A large part of that is injuries. Indiana hasn’t had Colin Hartman since he had knee surgery in August, so the Hoosiers had time to adjust without him. But in an eight-day span in late January, Indiana lost 6-8 sophomore OG Anunoby (a projected NBA first round pick) for the season to knee surgery and then leading-scorer James Blackmon (17.6 ppg) to a knee injury. He’s missed the last two games and is listed as “out indefinitely.” The other part of the equation is Indiana continues to be careless with the ball, averaging 15.2 turnovers per game to rank them 319th out of 347 Division-1 teams.
The battle to watch will be around the rim. The Big Ten’s best defensive unit and sixth nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency, according to Ken Pomeroy’s stats, Wisconsin will be tested against an Indiana team that out-rebounded the Nittany Lions, 56-35, dominated the paint, 66-40 and went 22-for-32 at the line.
Indiana has only one true road win this season (which came on a 3-pointer at the buzzer against Penn State), don’t have two of its top players and do not know the recipe to beat Wisconsin in any venue. Far from a slam dunk considering the amount of top-10 teams that fell this weekend (three lost to unranked opponents lost at home) and Big Ten road teams are 4-0 this weekend, but the Badgers have an 83 percent chance to win according to Pomeroy’s win probabilities.
Wisconsin by 15.
Worgull's Record: 20-2
Points off Prediction: 183 (8.3 per game)