What to Expect: Wisconsin

  • 01/25/2016 2:12 pm in

Indiana will look to push its Big Ten record to 8-0 and its winning streak to 13 on Tuesday night in Madison when it takes on Wisconsin at the Kohl Center. The Badgers are 11-9 overall and 3-4 in the Big Ten.

The game will be broadcast at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN with Bob Wischusen and Dan Dakich on the call:

How significant would a win at Wisconsin be for Indiana? Consider this amazing stat: The Hoosiers have won just once in the Kohl Center. That was in January of 1998, the same year and month the building opened. Since then, IU has lost 13 straight in the building.

But the Badgers, unlike in previous seasons, aren’t invincible at home this year. Wisconsin lost three non-conference games at home and has already dropped league games to Purdue and Maryland in Madison.

Are the Hoosiers up for ending the streak? A win would go a long way in solidifying this team as a legitimate contender for the Big Ten crown.

MEET THE BADGERS (all stats are for conference games only)

After dropping three straight (at Indiana, Maryland, at Northwestern), Wisconsin has rebounded in its last two for wins over Michigan State (in Madison) and at Penn State.

The Badgers are essentially playing a seven-man rotation in league play with freshmen Charlie Thomas and Khalil Iverson getting spot minutes depending on the matchup.

The primary names on the scouting report remain juniors Nigel Hayes and Bronson Koenig, but redshirt freshman Ethan Happ is quietly playing well in Big Ten play. Hayes, a popular pick in the preseason for conference player of the year, is scoring a team-high 16.3 points through seven conference games. His efficiency, however, hasn’t been great as he’s shooting just 40.6 percent on 2s. Hayes has been one of the top six players so far in the conference in terms of getting to the line, so it’ll be a major test for guys like Collin Hartman, OG Anunoby and Juwan Morgan to defend him without fouling.

Koenig is hitting close to 41 percent from 3 in Big Ten play and is playing a team-high 35.1 minutes per game. In 92 isolation possessions this season, Koenig has 104 points, which ranks him in the 92nd percentile nationally according to Synergy Sports. Without other capable scorers surrounding him in the backcourt, Koenig is shouldering a major scoring load. His effective field goal percentage (52) in league play is very solid considering his surroundings.

Happ, a 6-foot-8 forward, has emerged as a legitimate third scorer for interim coach Greg Gard. Happ is averaging 12.9 points and 8.1 rebounds in Big Ten play and is shooting 54.1 percent on 2s. From a percentage perspective, he’s second in the conference in both defensive rebounding (30.8 DR%) and steals (4.7%). He comes into Tuesday fresh off of his second Big Ten freshman of the week award this season.

Zak Showalter starts at the off guard spot and is a low usage player who has scored in double figures in six of the team’s seven conference games. Showalter is making 43.8 percent of his 3s and 78.9 percent of his 2s in Big Ten games.

Beyond those four, there’s a steep drop off in offensive production. Junior forward Vitto Brown, who was thought of as a potential breakout guy this season, is averaging just 4.7 points and two rebounds over his last seven games. He’s shooting just 31.6 percent and is losing minutes to freshman Alex Illikainen.

Illinkainen, who was offered a scholarship by Indiana, has been solid on the offensive boards (7.1 OR%) and is making over 56 percent of his 2s in Big Ten games.

Sophomore guard Jordan Hill is backing up both guard spots and averaging close to 20 minutes per game in conference play. However, he’s averaging just 2.9 points on 30.8 percent shooting.

As Wisconsin’s season shot chart via ShotAnalytics below shows, the Badgers aren’t really above average this season from anywhere on the floor:




The first meeting between these two teams, played on Jan. 5 at Assembly Hall, came down to the final minutes with Indiana escaping with a 59-58 win. As the four factors below show, the Hoosiers really struggled with turnovers, didn’t get many offensive rebounds and put Wisconsin at the line quite a bit.


A repeat performance in those areas, particularly with the turnovers, is a recipe for disaster on the road. Wisconsin is turning Big Ten opponents more than anyone else in the conference, so keeping the turnover percentage number in the mid-to-high teens will be a challenge.

The free throw discrepancy has also been a problem for the Hoosiers in conference play, but has been negated by hot perimeter shooting. Will the hot shooting of the past two games at Assembly Hall (32-of-64 from deep) travel north? It’ll be a major factor in whether IU can emerge from the Kohl Center with a win.


KenPom likes Indiana to win by two with a 57 percent chance of victory and the Sagarin predictor likes the Hoosiers by 3.5. The Hoosiers are also slight favorites in Vegas (-3) as of early Monday afternoon.

Indiana is obviously playing very well since the start of league play, but going on the road to Wisconsin is much different than winning at Rutgers, Nebraska or Minnesota. Yes, the Badgers have lost several games in Madison this season, but they also own a win over Michigan State in the Kohl Center. Despite the 11-9 record, this Badgers team is no pushover.

Pace is obviously pivotal in this game as Wisconsin is going to do its best to make this a halfcourt contest. If the Badgers can play with a lead, they’re a team capable of making a six or eight point lead seem much larger.

Can Indiana break the 13-game losing streak in Madison? Are the Hoosiers surging towards an 8-0 start in Big Ten play? Or will the win streak come to a halt? We’ll get those answers and more on Tuesday night at the Kohl Center.

Filed to:

  • Chi-Town Hoosier

    He is the biggest defensive liability based on this: 1. He plays with his arms at his side and has trouble defending the drive. This was more obvious last year when no one played help defense. 2. Compare his defensive stance with Rob’s next game
    3. He doesn’t have the greatest awareness and generally on switch situations doesn’t get high enough out on the 3 point shooters leading to easy 3s
    4. There is a reason why he doesn’t ever guard the opposition’s best player and other coaches generally go after him
    5. Have you ever seen him play post defense?

    Now after saying all that, I agree that he is a strong rebounder. I was merely thinking of switching it up at the start of this game for matchups.

  • Swishmac IU

    Really – take a look through the string of comments following the Duke or Maui losses and then tell me that those same posters have not either changed their tune or gone quiet. I tend to agree with BL except Hoosier fans (of which I am a huge one), tend to rip coach first and a few players later (RJ for example). The great thing about this forum is it is full of diversity in beliefs – nothing wrong with that. The TEAM (players and coach) are executing better now than they were and when the TEAM fails, my point was that those woodwork critics will once again find a voice. TC and players deserve credit for the turnaround, especially the defensive adjustments. I will be interested in seeing some of the posters comments when we hit the brutal part of our schedule.

  • ForeverIU

    That would be a very lame chant. Let them chant it. I just hope Bo is not coaching through telepathy.

  • ForeverIU

    Sometimes there’s a trade-off between the kind of defense you want him to play and being there for the rebounds. Whatever he’s doing seems to be working, as long as he keeps turnovers within a reasonable limit. Also, he and Yogi are leading the team in steals, so he is doing something right on defense. Part of good coaching is not just getting players to do want you want them to do but also learning how to adapt to their strengths and weaknesses. And I think Crean is doing a masterful job so far in this respect. Having said that, tonight is a real test of our mettle on the road.

  • TomJameson

    Do you not remember our last loss there? The chant was number 13 then of course. 🙁

    One chant I’d like to hear … Bo must go … Bo must go …

  • vicbert caladipo

    So that’s the name You can’t say or get deleted? I thought it was Ned 14th of Feb? Seriously though, If he’s reffing tonight we are in trouble. All elbows below the waist or he will be at he monitor for 10 minutes admiring his face time and checking for flagrant fouls. As we all know inadverdantelbowstillhurt!

  • showjo

    Like our chances a lot more if tv teddy isn’t doing the game

  • Koko

    I ment to say unlucky number

  • Koko

    They didn’t foul very much at our place either….lol.

  • vicbert caladipo

    I see on the premium forum there’s a discussion on why UM dumped MB. That’s simple. The didn’t have an extra scholly for him having to dole out 2 for one guy. Mohammed Ali Abdul Jabbar Rahchman.

  • Lance76

    Rewatched the first IU vs Wisconsin game. Wisconsin has gotten better, but our keys to the win;
    1- low TO’s
    2-Feed TB they have no answer
    3- move ball and players
    4- put OG( JM) on Hayes he bothered him

  • BL

    We’ll have to disagree on that one. I think TW’s handles are every bit as good as RJ’s. Moreover, we’re talking 2 vs. PG. Anyway, we’re splitting hairs. Both have been TO prone by primarily driving into trouble which really has nothing to do with ball handling. Happy TC found a way to force improvement on that front with the 17’s.

  • Lance76

    That was good. I think UM has/will regret that decision. Seems like Max is fairly happy with IU. He is a class act and hope he hangs 20-10 in Ann Arbor.

  • Yes, I guess it does.. Despite the fact that we’re playing a whole lot better now and they are playing a whole lot worse… To be honest, I think we gave up against them.. I think they punched us in the mouth and we took our marbles and went home.

  • vicbert caladipo

    #5 Get rid of Ned Feb 14th ad the rest of the UW favored refs

  • vicbert caladipo

    Plus they have been without Jefferson for their string of losses and he played against us.

  • BL

    Agree but I hope he’s learning how to avoid such under the new defensive rules. Frankly, in many cases he’s just not athletic enough to get into position in time. CH has really found his shot and offensive aggressiveness as of late which has been a big boost for the team. Really important we don’t get him into match ups where he’s doomed to fail defensively. Feeling Hayes may be one of those match ups. If TC sticks with the recent starting 5, could put CH on Brown who is less aggressive offensively and try TW on Hayes although that could be a physical mismatch in Hayes’ favor. Oh well, thankfully we have OG to the rescue if necessary.

  • Chi-Town Hoosier

    Agreed – I didn’t mean to bash Troy, he is playing amazing right now, just pointing out the ways he can improve. I guess it wouldn’t make sense to mess around with a lineup that works. 🙂

  • BL

    No question RJ is consistently a better defender and many times I see what you described regarding TW. However, I’ve also seen TW lock down a defender; shutting down a perimeter shot and then brilliantly cutting off the drive. I believe it’s effort; something TC could easily affect with threatened (and actual) bench time. Also, if we agree TW should start, the real question is whether we’re better off with RJ or OG as the 5th man. In my view, we’d be better off with OG. In addition to really good on ball defense, he adds rim protection and rebounding.

  • That’s true. I wonder if any Dukies are calling for Coach K’s head on a platter.. They’ve lost 4 out of their last 5.. And after the game, he’s pretty much been throwing them under the bus.. at least in some comments I heard. Even the great ones can lose if they don’t have the horses..
    I wonder what ever happened to Pinson. Wouldn’t he be a Sophomore now? He didn’t enter thee draft last year.. I didn’t hear his name mentioned the other night when I watched part of the game…

  • BL

    #6 – NZ light it up vs. 2-7.

  • BL

    Plus, we were still playing an undersized 3 guard approach.

  • CreamandCrimson

    I assume you are talking about Theo Pinson…he is at UNC and plays 20 minutes a game for the #1 (or #2 depending on the poll you prefer) team in the country. Pinson is struggling to hit shots but he is averaging just under 6 points a game, 3.8 rebounds a game and 2.7 assists per game.

  • vicbert caladipo

    I don’t like the idea of TW guarding Hayes. Not strong enough and I’d rather see CH in foul trouble then TW. OG would be our man, but we all know CTC has his regular substitution patterns. I know this probably won’t happen how about TB on Hayes sometimes. CH isn’t much smaller than Happ and probably as quick. Not sure TB is good enough defensively, but it’d give Hayes a look he may be uncomfortable with.

  • oh that’s right. My bad, I was thinking we lost him to Duke. Yeah, cause they also got Kennedy Meeks didn’t they, that we were recruiting along with Vonleh?

  • BL

    Worse than getting TW in foul trouble? Getting TB in foul trouble. Best to go with CH and know we have OG and JM in the bull pen.

  • CreamandCrimson

    Yes, Kennedy Meeks plays about 23 minutes a game and averages 12 and 6.5 per game…he’s a load but has never really gotten into what one would call “peak basketball condition” it appears. Reminds me of a poor-man’s Sean May. Anyway, yes, Kennedy Meeks and Theo Pinson are both playing for the Tar Heels.

  • Which is perfect, becuase the first three are precisely where IU is excelling right now. I rewatched the NW game (low space on the DVR so couldn’t go back to Wisconsin), and man, we are taking care of the basketball, moving incredibly well without the ball (sneaky, even), and moving the ball incredibly well. Those things have been improving steadily. As far as feeding TB, that’s been good as well except of course the last two games we had so many wide-open threes. Gotta take those when they’re served up on a platter.

    Then, yes, devote our best defense to Hayes, and the rest should take care of itself. OG and JW should be able to handle those duties, which is amazing and awesome to be able to say about a couple of freshman.

  • vicbert caladipo

    It would have to be if he wasn’t in foul trouble. TB actually does pretty well with fouls when he’s not letting his emotions get the best of him. Yes we don’t want him in foul trouble because he is a mismatch down low for Happ. I just hope he gets free and we go to him until he does get into foul trouble. My game plan would be to establish TB down low first few possessions and go to him. Don’t even try and see if your outside shot is falling in this gym where we shoot poor in. TB passes out of the post well and hit TW cutting more than once. He needs to be touching the ball down low often. If we do that, the outside shots will come. I’m pretty excited to see if we can actually score some points against them and wondering if our blowouts at home can somehow translate to finally slaying the dragon and score against these guys. Again TB down low. We have to force these refs into making a few calls for us.

  • I think the biggest difference from what I remember and after watching the NW dismantling for a second time, is how well we’re moving the ball and moving without the ball. We didn’t shoot so well from outside just because we were hot, we shot that well because we got so open–and because so many guys got so open. Yes, defense has improved, and yes turnovers have decreased (related to the improvement in our passing in general), but ball/player movement has been huge as well. That should also pay dividends in drawing fouls, if the officiating is halfway fair.

  • Hopefully defensive positioning has improved enough that we’re not fouling because we’re reaching. It has over the last few games, so we’ll see. And yes, that assumes good officiating, which is never a safe assumption.

  • Ban Blockage.

  • Or if they suck, that they suck in both directions.

  • I don’t quite agree that TW’s defense is “as good as anyone else on the team.” However, I agree that he isn’t a defensive liability.

  • I would, if it weren’t for the delay. 🙂


    Exactly !!


    I expect TB to struggle at least somewhat, simply because he’s a true freshman who is playing his very first game at Wisky. If he thinks there was some WTH calls, at home, against NW and Illannoy, he’s in for a surprise tonight in Buckyland. I see MB getting more than his usual minutes tonight.


    In a game with UW, where every possession takes on added importance, and TO’s are magnified, we really need good Troy to show up tonight. A good game out of him when it comes to defense and rebounding should be just as important, if not MORE important, as his point production in this game.


    I too fully expect a disparity in the number of free throws taken. How much of a disparity there is could very well determine the outcome.


    Egg Zak Ta Moon Dough !! This lineup, while not the only reason, is the biggest reason for our success of late, IMHO


    Correct, just like 3 guards was one too many, 1 guard is one short of being enough.

  • BL

    Probably correct. Hope TB surprises us.

  • calbert40

    I expect tonight’s game to be close, but we should come out on top. If you look at the stats from last game, we turned the ball over way too much, and we fouled them (or were called for fouls on them) too much. We’ve been better on both fronts lately.

    Also, we only scored at .95 PPP, but held them to .93 PPP. Through the conference slate, I believe we are averaging 1.16 PPP, but are holding our opponents to around .95 PPP. In other words, we held Wisky to a similar PPP rate that we have all B1G opponents, but we just didn’t score like we are accustomed.

    I believe the only way Wisky wins tonight is if we don’t shoot well, turn the ball over too much, foul too much, and play at their pace. I know the game is on the road, and it is always hard to win on the road, especially in Madison; however, a lot will have to go right for UW for them to win.

  • BL

    Glad to see someone else has pre-game jitters. Hope you convinced yourself 🙂

  • Eljay

    Our depth may be the key. Due to the number of players we can put on the floor (along with what appears to be phenomenal conditioning), we seem to be much stronger this year down the stretch—-while many of our opponents often look to be worn out by the end of the game.

    Next man up.