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Wisconsin at Indiana: Game Day Essentials | Tale of the Tape | Keys to Victory

On paper, Wisconsin is not the cure for what ails Indiana.  Not based on the recent history anyway.

The Badgers come into Bloomington tonight having won five straight against the Hoosiers since January 2016 and 19 of the past 21 meetings dating back to 2008.

When you combine that recent head-to-head futility with Indiana’s struggles this year it is difficult to imagine an IU victory.  But these Hoosiers haven’t given up, and all indications are that it will be another close contest where the team that makes plays late will come out on top.

With a favorable schedule to close out the season, the Badgers will look to continue their run of success against IU and make a final push for a share of a Big Ten title.

Indiana has managed to win two of their last three against Wisconsin at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall, and will look to build on that to keep their slim postseason hopes alive.

GAME DAY ESSENTIALS

No. 19/18 Wisconsin (19-8, 11-5) at Indiana (13-14, 4-12)

  • Tip time:  9:00 p.m. Eastern
  • Location: Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall, Bloomington, Indiana
  • Television:  ESPN2 (Dave Flemming and Dan Dakich)
  • Series:  Indiana leads 96-74 (Wisconsin won the last meeting 71-61 on Jan. 2, 2018)
  • Point Spread:  Wisconsin is a 3 point favorite.
  • Tickets (Seat Geek affiliate link)

Greg Gard is in his 4th season leading the Wisconsin program and has a career record of 83-49.


Additional Coverage:


WISCONSIN NAMES TO KNOW

Ethan Happ.  If you have even passively followed the Big Ten over the last four years, then you know of Happ.  A four year major contributor, Happ is putting together another strong season.  He averages a double / double with 17.7 points and 10.2 per game, and also leads the team with 4.7 assists per contest.  While Happ makes 54.3% of his shots from the field, he knocks down just 43.6% of his free throws.

D’Mitrik Trice. The closest thing the Badgers have to a point guard, Trice plays with more of a scorers mentality.  Think Jordan Bohannon, including the similar stat line with Trice’s three-point field goal percentage (43.4%) higher than his two-point percentage (41.5%).  Trice is Wisconsin’s second leading scorer, averaging 12.6 per contest.

Brad Davison.  The sophomore guard is that guy that makes all of the little plays that drive you crazy.  He’s good for drawing a couple offensive fouls per game, or flops if you prefer.  Davison plays big minutes, rarely turns the ball over and also shoots three-pointers at better than 40% while averaging 11.5 points per game.

Nate Reuvers. A rising star in the program, Reuvers will be the next Wisconsin big man that will have seemingly played for a decade.  As a sophomore, Reuvers is leading the team with 2 blocks a game and has developed into a very strong perimeter shooter while averaging 8.4 points per contest.

TALE OF THE TAPE

See how the Hoosiers and Badgers stack up statistically:

KEYS TO VICTORY

This IS your father’s Wisconsin.  Slow, methodical, effective.  The Badgers possess the ball longer than anyone else in the Big Ten, and they force you to defend for the full shot clock with their swing offense.  With a lethal combination of Happ on the inside and shooters on the outside, they patiently work their way into good shots.  Indiana has played its best defense of the year over the last two games, and they will be tested once again.

Defending Happ. Do you double?  As Wisconsin’s leading assist man, Happ is a willing passer.  Does De’Ron Davis take Happ one-on-one?  That will be a major challenge against the crafty and nimble Happ and a recipe for foul trouble for Davis.  Juwan Morgan?  Happ has a major size advantage, and once again — foul trouble will be a major concern.  The likely answer is for Indiana to attempt to keep Happ’s post catches as far away from the basket as possible, and then flash doubles to force him to pick up his dribble.

Attack the offensive glass.  Wisconsin has been somewhat vulnerable giving up offensive rebounds, with opponents snaring nearly 27% of their misses.  With little threat of the Badgers getting out in transition, and IU needing all the help they can get on offense, a strong night grabbing offensive rebounds would go a long way towards a Hoosier win.

Get out in transition.  Archie Miller knows the Badger defense.  It’s the same pack-line he implements at IU.  So when he says a key will be for IU to get out in transition before Wisconsin gets set up, you should listen.  Wisconsin has the 6th most efficient defense in the country and the second best in the Big Ten according to KenPom.  They beat you by forcing you into the half court and then reducing you down to contested attempts late in the shot clock.  The more points that IU can get in the fast break or with put backs, the better their chances against the Badgers.

PREDICTION:  Wisconsin 66  Indiana 60.


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