Balanced Badgers pose challenge for Hoosiers

  • 01/26/2012 9:46 am in

Last year, Jordan Taylor was a Hoosier killer.

The Wisconsin guard ruined two upset attempts by Indiana by scoring a combined 67 points in two meetings last season. In the game at Assembly Hall, Taylor went off for 39 points and hit 7-of-8 attempts from 3-point range.

While he has only scored more than 20 points once this season — a loss to Michigan State — Taylor will still be a focal point for the Hoosiers’ defense on Thursday night.

But the key to Wisconsin’s success might actually be the play of its rarely mentioned role players, including forward Jared Berggren.

Berggren, a 6-10 senior, averaged only 2.4 points in 6.9 minutes per game for the Badgers last season, but he has emerged as the second scorer Wisconsin so desperately needs.

With the departure of Jon Leuer, coach Bo Ryan and the Badgers struggled early this season to find a consistent inside scorer. Berggren can play both inside and on the perimeter, and he’s averaging 11 points and five rebounds per game in nearly 27 minutes.

“Berggren provides more athleticism than he gets credit for,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said in a release. “He is a terrific shot blocker and rebounder based on his length and his athleticism.”

The No. 25 Badgers (16-5, 5-3) have four other players scoring between 6.5 and 9.7 points per game.

One of the main reasons for Wisconsin’s balance is Taylor’s willingness to give up the ball and find the open man. Taylor is averaging 4.4 assists per game, compared to only 1.5 turnovers per contest.

“I think you would be hard pressed to find a league that has the level of players at one position that our league does,” Crean said. “[Taylor] does a great job of leading his team and he has confidence in each of his teammates, but if he needs to look for himself to score, he will.”

Secret to Badgers’ home-court advantage?

Wisconsin has always been a difficult team to beat at home. While the Badgers have already lost three games at the Kohl Center this season, they only dropped one home contest all of last year.

The secret to their home-court advantage? Verdell Jones offered one you don’t hear every day.

“The fan support they always get is one thing,” he said, “and with it being a hockey arena as well, it is always a little colder in there.”

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  • MillaRed

    Well Kokomo_Joe is all jazzed up on caffeine today. This comes down to simple math Joe. We are not expected to win. Most teams are not supposed to win here. So I don’t see how it’s a must win.

    Is it beating OSU or KY at home? No. But it would be a pretty darn good upset. I just want us to play well.

    Do us all a favor, do not get anywhere near a shotgun during the game tonight. It’s for the best.

  • Plane1972

    I agree, Milla. His lack of a consistent touch from 3 has limited his effectiveness in being able to attack the rim. Opponents have adjusted to the things that made him so lethal early this season. You’re right. He’s still young with some great games to come.

  • MillaRed

    Look Danner, are we actually saying the reason it’s hard to win at Wisconsin is due to the hockey rink? I mean, seriously? I have seen 40 games on this court. No one is ice skating out there. In fact, it doesn’t even perspire like many combo courts do.

    Is it cooler? I suppose so. To the extent The Badgers benefit from that? Uhhhhhh. That really sounds dumb to me.

    Coming from Verdell, who seemingly has ice on every court hence is turning the ball over, I would take it with a grain of salt.

  • CreamandCrimson

    I just don’t think losing this game relegates us to an 8th or 9th place finish. 

    Clearly you do and that’s fine.  Your tone of condescension is noticed and unnecessary.  For me, “must win” means win or you are putting your NCAA tournament chances in jeopardy.  I don’t think that’s the case with this game.

  • CreamandCrimson

    I just don’t think losing this game relegates us to an 8th or 9th place finish. 

    Clearly you do and that’s fine.  Your tone of condescension is noticed and unnecessary.  For me, “must win” means win or you are putting your NCAA tournament chances in jeopardy.  I don’t think that’s the case with this game.

  • CreamandCrimson

    I don’t agree with you on the former string of comments you have posted.  However, I absolutely agree with this.  If we don’t show up and are getting blasted like we were in Columbus, a message needs to be sent via playing time. 

    Guys like Austin Etherington, Remy Abell, Tom Pritchard and Derek Elston getting significant minutes won’t get us back in the game but it will definitely send a message to the starters that an effort like the one seen in Columbus isn’t acceptable.  Plus, we might actually be able to see if Remy is indeed worthy of taking VJIII’s minutes as so many on this board keep hoping for.  Anyway, I agree.  If the effort is lacking, send the proper message.  Hopefully this isn’t a necessity at any point for the rest of the season.

  • Bucky

    Interesting stat in this morning’s paper:  this UW team is allowing only 3.3 made 3-pointers per game, which is the lowest by any Bo Ryan team.

  • MillaRed

    And…….my stomach just got more sour than it was already.

  • Anonymous

    A win at the Kohl center would do wonders for the teams confidence, just as long as it doesn’t go to the players heads.

  • millzy32

    The Nebraska game was a must win and it was a loss.  Not sure what to expect from this team in this game.  Could IU win?  Certainly but I’d give it about 20% chance at this point of happening.  I do think that a loss tonight will continue the deflating of this team and that this team probably isn’t worthy of its top 20 ranking.  A win tonight would really restore some confidence and justify the lofty ranking.

  • Anonymous

    If we can force Wis to double Cody or CWat it will get a lot of open looks for shooters…If CWat has solid game and IU limits TO we will have a chance to win. Wis isn’t an overly athletic team and has scoring lapses.

  • cooper

    If Taylor doesn’t go off which is a huge if, IU should win.

  • cooper

    If Taylor doesn’t go off which is a huge if, IU should win.

  • millzy32

    His scenario assumes one and done in the Big Ten tourney which would mean an overall losing big ten record of 9-10 including the tourney game and 22-10 overall and that is probably about right for an 8 or 9 seed scraping by in the tourney.  That 8/9 game is always tough so his assumption actually seems pretty legit considering we’d be 4-5 after a loss tonight which would make 22-10 even harder to achieve since we’d be on track for 21-11 based on 8-11 in big ten including tourney.

  • millzy32

    Solution.  Since VJIII doesn’t like the Wisconsin court how about he take a seat next to Crean for this game and we see what a little addition by subtraction looks like.  I love the guy for his enthusiasm and I do really think that he tries hard but I am so tired of cringing every time he has the ball or is guarding someone.  Maybe a break is due.

  • millzy32

    Solution.  Since VJIII doesn’t like the Wisconsin court how about he take a seat next to Crean for this game and we see what a little addition by subtraction looks like.  I love the guy for his enthusiasm and I do really think that he tries hard but I am so tired of cringing every time he has the ball or is guarding someone.  Maybe a break is due.

  • Anonymous

    If gets like that I would start Remy, Roth, Sheehey, Elston, and Zeller in the 2nd half.  Sometimes teams need to know what they must do.  Hell, I would have sat some players against Penn St.

  • millzy32

    I second the motion.  I already have seen enough to have Remy playing significant minutes at this point.  Sure he makes freshman mistakes but he attacks the bucket and is high energy and for some reason he actually makes his wide open 3’s.

  • millzy32

    Tressel ball in an Arena.  Sounds like a plan.

  • millzy32

    A win tonight won’t go to their heads.  The OSU win went to their heads and the Nebraska game brought them back down to earth.  I think they are grounded and maybe even a little deflated right now.  A tough road win would actually be just what the doctor ordered.

  • Taylor is not actually a super athletic guy. He gets his more from the perimeter than getting into the lane. Actually think IU pulls this one off tonight. Not sure where I’m getting the confidence I just believe that we matchup favorably with Wisky.

  • Iucharlie

    IU isn’t tough enough physically or mentally to win at Kohl center. Watched MSU last night, now they know how to be tough, they play D and they rebound!! IU talks a great game about defense and rebounding, but I have yet to see it in a game in Big Ten play. We have lost 3 of last 4 and barely beat PSU after hitting 16 of 24 threes. IU will lose tonight, then Iowa at home is must win, because we then have 2 tough road games. I hope that I’m wrong about tonight, but I think IU is still a year away, we need a point who can distribute the ball, play D, get to the rim, not turn it over so much, ie Yogi. And a forward who can help Zeller rebound and with interior D, ie Perea and Hollowell

  • Iucharlie

    IU isn’t tough enough physically or mentally to win at Kohl center. Watched MSU last night, now they know how to be tough, they play D and they rebound!! IU talks a great game about defense and rebounding, but I have yet to see it in a game in Big Ten play. We have lost 3 of last 4 and barely beat PSU after hitting 16 of 24 threes. IU will lose tonight, then Iowa at home is must win, because we then have 2 tough road games. I hope that I’m wrong about tonight, but I think IU is still a year away, we need a point who can distribute the ball, play D, get to the rim, not turn it over so much, ie Yogi. And a forward who can help Zeller rebound and with interior D, ie Perea and Hollowell

  • I hear you man. No more moral victories. You know what moral victories get you? Nothing but a “man if we would have done…. So maybe not a must win but it would not bring solace to have played well but still lose. This is not the elementary track meet where everybody is a winner. To have the mindset of just hoping that we play well is to have the mindset of a loser IT’S INDIANA! Get a meaningful road win and go on a terror the rest of the way Hoosiers!

  • beat Kentucky

    For some reason I have a good feeling about tonight . I think this is the game they get their swagger back ! Go Hoosiers!

  • Bucky

    Same article referred to the IU shooters as “snipers.”   I thought that was cool.

  • Bucky

    Same article referred to the IU shooters as “snipers.”   I thought that was cool.

  • Munster

    Ive got that same weird feeling, something tells me our D will be vibing tonight.

  • Anonymous

    To challenge for the championship, I think we have to win 1 of three road games (OSU, WISC, MICH); mainly because of the loss to MINN at home. Obviously we also need to win out at home and on the road. I don’t see OSU, MSU, or MICH losing more than 5 games in league play; if that many. However, we can lose to WISC and MICH away and still end up in the upper tier (4or 5). Which probably is a more realistic expectation.

  • IUJeff

    Not so quick my friend. We also have to attack the rim to win this one. Need to get Taylor in foul trouble or no W. The more aggressive team will win this one.  

  • IUJeff

    Agreed. The big key for this game and ALL future games is for us to be the aggressor. Attack the rim VO, WS, and CWat. 

    Yes I said CWat and attack the rim in the same sentence. Need to see some thunder soon if there is any chance CWat goes pro. 

  • IUJeff

    Agreed. The big key for this game and ALL future games is for us to be the aggressor. Attack the rim VO, WS, and CWat. 

    Yes I said CWat and attack the rim in the same sentence. Need to see some thunder soon if there is any chance CWat goes pro. 

  • IUJeff

    You mean some actual dribble drive just like how everyone is owning us lately? That is the key and the cure for this team IMO. 

  • IUJeff

    You can’t let Taylor turn the corner going to his strong side. That is the key to the game along with attacking the rim and getting to the line early and often IMO.

    Do these 2 things and hold our own on D and rebounding and this is a W. 

    Refs reward strong aggressive play, even in Wisconsin. Bring it weak and you’ll get NO calls.   

  • IUJeff

    You can’t let Taylor turn the corner going to his strong side. That is the key to the game along with attacking the rim and getting to the line early and often IMO.

    Do these 2 things and hold our own on D and rebounding and this is a W. 

    Refs reward strong aggressive play, even in Wisconsin. Bring it weak and you’ll get NO calls.   

  • IUJeff

    You are correct C&C. Saying a W @ the Kohl is a must win is not very smart. We are not expecting to win the B1G at this point after losing to Nebraska and Minny. 

    The goal at this point needs to be playing above .500 ball in the toughest conference in America. 

  • IUJeff

    Sorry Joe. The 12 and 18 team from a year ago added CZ, Remy and AE. That is it. And 2 of them don’t play. 

    There are still several players on this team that are not B1G caliber players and the coaches we are playing against now are really good at identifying our weaknesses. Attack us off the dribble and look what happens. Get CZ in foul trouble and look what happens. Until our perimeter players learn to keep their man in front of them, we are vulnerable to any team in the league. Until we get back to attacking the rim and playing some hard-nosed D, we will not win often.  

  • IUJeff

    It’s pretty simple Joe. Every team in the B1G has a better starting PG than we do which equals a better floor general than we do. 

    And every team has more experience and beef in the inside than we do which equals better D and rebounding than we have.

    We have better shooters but if we are passive, the shooters are getting contested shots.

    Our key then is to be on the attack and to not settle for jump shots the whole game. Soften up the middle then kick it out to the best shooters in the country.  

  • Twymer41

    Zeller on the bench with 4 fouls way too long. Crean put him in with under 2 mins left. That’s ridiculous. By that time, WISC had the lead and momentum. What was he saving Zeller for? Let him play sooner. If he fouls out, then he fouls out. And then Remy gets in the game for 30 secs with 4 mins left. Why? What’s the point? Crean is still getting outcoached. His bench management is terrible and his X’s and O’s are late to the party. I understand you put in out of bounds plays as the season goes, but we still have no offense that we run consistently. Everything is off the dribble. I still believe Crean is motivator and recruiter, but his technical coaching skills are unimpressive to say the least. We should’ve won this game by 10 points. Pathetic.