This afternoon marks the second straight nationally-televised game (CBS) for the UW men's basketball team as it hosts the Indiana Hoosiers at noon. UW has climbed to the top of the Big Ten standings and is coming off a tough, 64-53, victory last Tuesday against Michigan State.
Despite shooting only 39 percent from the field, the Badgers (17-5, 7-3 Big Ten) obtained their 13th straight home conference victory and were spurred to victory by their incredible defense. UW forced 15 Spartan turnovers en route to a decisive win, and combined with losses by Michigan and Purdue, the Badgers have leaped into a three-way tie for first place in the Big Ten.
As has been the case all season, the offensive attack was well spread out versus MSU. Three Badgers - senior guard Kirk Penney, sophomore guard Devin Harris and sophomore forward Mike Wilkinson each tallied 14 points in the game. But the most telling statistic was UW's season-low five turnovers.
Up next for Coach Bo Ryan and his troops is the Indiana Hoosiers (15-8, 5-5 Big Ten). The Hoosiers are coming off an important home victory over Michigan, as they not only got back to .500 in the Big Ten, but also ended their five-game losing streak.
Prior to the game Wednesday night, IU Coach Mike Davis shook up his starting line up as he benched senior guard Kyle Hornsby, replaced him with freshman Marshall Strickland at point guard and moved senior Tom Coverdale over to shooting guard.
Along with Strickland, another freshman that has had a major impact on the Hoosier squad this season has been guard Bracey Wright. Wright is the leading scorer on IU as well as third in the conference with his 17.6 points per game.
This is the 142nd meeting all-time between the two schools with IU holding a 91-50 advantage. UW won the most recent meeting between the two, last season, as the Badgers defeated the Hoosiers in Indiana for the first time since 1977.
THREE KEYS TO VICTORY FOR UW
1. Big Ten's Best - The Badgers turn the ball over less frequently than any team in the conference, with just 10.9 per game. They are coming off a season low five turnovers against MSU.
2. Team Success - UW is built on the team concept as four guys average over 11.2 points per game. The Badgers understand the importance of feeding off each other.
3. The Grateful Red - The home turf has been very friendly for UW during the Bo Ryan era. The players and coaches alike have said, "the fans are the sixth and seventh members of this Badgers team."
THREE KEYS FOR INDIANA
1. Phreshman Phenom - Bracey Wright has the skills to make it big in college basketball and ultimately the NBA. His 17 points and five rebounds are really pacing this Hoosier team. His presence was sorely missed during his absence from the lineup.
2. Second Chances - In their victory over the Wolverines this past week, Indiana had a 15-2 lead in second-chance points in just the first half. he tempo of the game could be in favor of the Hoosiers if IU continues to hit the glass and create second, third and fourth shots on possessions.
3. Blocks - IU is one of the better blocking teams in the Big Ten and junior Jeff Newton needs four more blocks to be the team's all-time leader in the category.
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