Wisconsin opened the doors to the Kohl Center on January 17, 1998.
Just eight days later Indiana waltzed in and beat the Badgers 69-59. That 1998 win extended IU’s series lead over Wisconsin to 87-47, and Hoosier fans likely thought at the time that their domination of Wisconsin would continue on despite the new 17,000 seat arena in Madison.
Perhaps handing Wisconsin their first ever loss in the arena started the Kohl Kurse?
Since then the series script has been flipped. Wisconsin owns a commanding 27-10 series advantage after that 1998 IU win at the Kohl Center.
Much of this reign of terror coincided with the 2001-2015 tenure of former Badger head coach Bo Ryan, who compiled an incredible 24-5 record against the Hoosiers.
While Wisconsin has been a tough out for Indiana over the last two decades irrespective of the venue or the coach, the Kohl Center has been a veritable house of horrors. Since their 1998 win in Madison, Indiana has lost 16 in a row at the Kohl Center, losing by an average score of 71-58.
GAME DAY ESSENTIALS
Indiana (8-0) at Wisconsin (4-4)
- Tip time: 4:30 p.m. ET
- Location: The Kohl Center, Madison, Wisconsin
- Television: Big Ten Network
- Series: Indiana leads 96-75
- Point Spread: Both Vegas and KenPom like Indiana by 1 point.
- Tickets (Seat Geek affiliate link)
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
A look at Wisconsin’s noteworthy KenPom metrics
- No. 337 Average Possession Length: Wisconsin loves its methodical offense, which translates to nearly the slowest pace in the country.
- No. 25 Opposition FTA / FGA: IU leads the nation in free throw attempts, Wisconsin doesn’t foul. Indiana’s free throw attempts will clearly be a number to keep an eye on.
- No. 273 Opposition 3FG%: The Badgers haven’t been effective at defending the three-point line, allowing opponents to make 36.1% of their shots. Coincidentally, that is exactly what IU is shooting from long range.
- No. 277 in Bench Minutes: Wisconsin isn’t deep. Indiana is much deeper and bigger. Could IU wear down the Badgers down the stretch?
HAVE REBOUNDS, WILL TRAVEL
IU head coach Archie Miller spoke before the season about finally having a roster with Big Ten size. With his 8-0 squad currently sitting at No. 5 nationally in rebounding margin (+11.8), that size is paying big dividends.
But is it truly “Big Ten” size? We are about to find that out.
If there is one strength of his team that Miller believes can be an asset on the road in the league, it is his team’s rebounding prowess.
“I would hope to think that rebounding travels,” Miller said on Friday afternoon. “I would hope to think that’s something that we’re trying to really establish, regardless of where you play, what we do, it’s something we take a lot of pride in. In this league on the road, rebounding is everything. It will be everything on Saturday.”
As always, the Badgers are a fundamentally sound program that doesn’t allow a lot of offensive rebounds. On the season teams are gathering their own misses just 21.9 percent of the time against Wisconsin, which puts the Badgers at No. 13 nationally according to KenPom.
Wisconsin is tied for 96th with a +4.4 rebounding margin.
With this being Indiana’s first true road test of the season, Miller is hoping that if all else fails, his team can assert their will on the glass on Saturday.
“But without question, the rebounding is something that on the road has to travel with you, as does your defense and your discipline, but you’re going to deal with all kind of elements on the road,” Miller said. “The crowd, the officiating is never going to go your way, so you have to control what you can, and I think rebounding obviously is something that it travels, you know what I mean.”
ROB PHINISEE PROGRESSING WITH LATEST INJURY
Abdominal injury, strep throat, blow to the head, sprained ankle, oh my!
Just a couple months since the start of practice, and sophomore point guard Rob Phinisee has seen a little bit of everything.
The good news is, he appears to be down to one issue, which is his latest — the ankle. Miller indicated after the win over Florida State that Phinisee had suffered a sprained ankle on Monday, and the Hoosier head coach provided an update on Friday.
“He’s nursing a singular injury right now which is an ankle,” Miller said. “He’s doing underwater work and normal rehabilitation. He was on the floor yesterday without his boot shooting, and I think he’ll hopefully be able to progress a little bit more into that today.”
But before you get your hopes up, Miller all but shut down any thoughts of Phinisee playing at Wisconsin.
“I would say doubtful for this weekend and maybe early next week,” Miller added. “With no setbacks, maybe we see towards the end of December or middle games, our last few games in December where he gets in. My hope is that he continues to work towards getting back to practicing a little bit more.”
Interestingly, Miller made similar bleak comments about his point guard prior to the exhibition game against Gannon, and Phinisee played in that contest. Along those same lines, Miller seemed to suggest that senior guard Devonte Green was still a long way from returning just prior to a somewhat surprising first appearance against Troy last month.
If history is any indicator, don’t be stunned to see Phinisee at least attempt to give it a go before the game on Saturday.
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