Game Notes: The Indiana Hoosiers (8-6, 1-1)) resume Big Ten play on the road against the Wisconsin Badgers (8-7, 1-1) at the Kohl Center in Madison, Wisconsin. Tip-off is set for 7:00 PM EST on Tuesday, January 2nd. The game will be broadcast on ESPN with Dave Fleming and former Indiana guard Dan Dakich on the call. Greg Gard is in year three as the Wisconsin head coach. His overall record is 50-25 since becoming head coach at Wisconsin and he is 4-1 against IU. Indiana leads the all-time series against Wisconsin 96-73. Wisconsin is a 5.5 point favorite to win the game. KenPom has Wisconsin as a 6 point favorite.
THE DREADED KOHL CENTER
Wisconsin opened the doors to the Kohl Center on January 17, 1998. 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. Hoosier fans likely thought at the time that their domination of Wisconsin would continue on despite the new 17,000 seat arena.
Since then the series script has been flipped. Wisconsin owns a commanding 26-9 series advantage since that 1998 IU win at the Kohl Center. Much of this reign of terror coincides 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 15 in a row at the Kohl Center. Take a look at those 15 games:
All of those low scoring games likely bring back bad memories of the various methodical and slow deaths Indiana has suffered over the last 18 years. For the most part the games have followed the same script — Wisconsin controls the pace, doesn’t commit turnovers and gets to the free throw line. As you can see, IU has actually been on something of a scoring hot streak in Madison over the last 3 games. In the 12 games prior to that IU was averaging an agonizing 54 points a game.
A CHANCE IN 2018?
While this certainly has not been one of Indiana’s better seasons thus far, the same holds true for Wisconsin. As their 8-7 record indicates, the Badgers have been struggling. The main culprit is a young inexperienced team that surrounds All-American Ethan Happ. Historically Wisconsin has had an experienced team led by Juniors and Seniors. This year the Badgers rely on several freshmen and sophomores and the results have been inconsistent.
Wisconsin has already lost at the Kohl Center to Xavier, Ohio State and Marquette. Ohio State won by 25 and Marquette by 19, so those losses certainly were not flukes. If this were a better Indiana team we’d be optmistic, but this is the Indiana team that has lost by similar margins at home to Indiana State and Fort Wayne. So while we’re telling you there’s a chance, for now it is hard to feel confident about this edition of the Hoosiers.
THE 1998 GAME
If you’d like to relive what it feels like to see the Hoosiers win in Madison, the full game is here for your viewing pleasure:
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