Indiana facing Wisconsin in clash of opposite styles

CHICAGO — The unstoppable force meets the immovable object again on Saturday at the Big Ten Tournament, with the immovable object being 1-0 on the season.

Wisconsin, Indiana’s opponent in today’s 1:40 p.m. semifinal, represents the Hoosiers’ diametric opposite and ultimate foil. The Hoosiers want nothing more than to get out in open spaces and run, and with arguably the best transition game in the nation. Wisconsin, meanwhile, has taken stall-ball to an entirely different level. Of the 347 teams in college basketball, just 36 play at a slower pace than the Badgers, who average 62.0 possessions per game.

But that style of play is, of course, effective, and its been a problem for Indiana this year and in previous seasons. It was good enough to beat speedy No. 5 seed Michigan on Friday — though the Badgets shockingly scored 51 points and shot 60.7 percent from the field in the second half after scoring 17 points on 5-for-29 shooting in the first — and it was good enough for the Badgers to go 22-10 this season and finish fourth in the conference.

The Badgers defend well by any measure. They lead the Big Ten in scoring defense, allowing just 56.0 points per game. That’s not entirely a product of slow tempo, though, as they rank fourth in the nation in defensive efficiency, allowing just 84.7 points per 100 possessions.

And it seems to work even better against teams that want to run, because Wisconsin’s approach is so antithetical to everything they want to do. The Badgers won both games against Michigan this season, also a good transition team, along with that win over Indiana.

“That kind of showed again tonight,” freshman swingman Sam Dekker said. “Michigan obviously is an uptempo team. They can beat anyone on any given night. That’s kind of what we are like too. We just play our style and we dictate the tempo and don’t let teams really get at us. … We can’t let teams dictate how we play.”

Said senior forward Jared Berggren: “If we take care of the ball, don’t let them get running out in transition, make them defend, use some of the shot clock, make them guard our cuts, move the ball, move bodies, make them work on defense, it makes things a little more difficult on offense when they can’t just get a quick rebound, run out and score. Play at our place is something that works well for us and is gonna be key tomorrow.”

The Badgers have won 11 straight against Indiana with the Hoosiers’ last win coming on Jan. 31, 2007. They were careful to say that streak doesn’t necessarily mean they own the Hoosiers, because most of those wins came while Indiana was in clear rebuilding mode.

“Obviously, they went through a rebuilding phase where they had some new guys in there and a new coach,” Berggren said. “That’s definitely a part of it. The last few matchups we’ve done just enough to come out and find some wins. It’s gonna be a big game again tomorrow. Obviously we’ve had some success against them. We know they’re gonna be hungry to get some revenge on us. It’s gonna come down to who can get it done in 40 minutes. It’s gonna be a battle.”

AUDIO: Sam Dekker

AUDIO: Jared Berggren

8 comments

  1. Bring it “Bucky”….we win this by 14 pts & start the reversal of fortunes vs. Wisc. What did we beat them in the 70s & 80s & 90s, like 40 – 2 or so? Jeremy….a little help?

    Our #1 is all but sowed up now. Duke & G-town lost so we are a solid MW #1. Dayton then Indy. Kinda wish for a large dome to get us ready for Indy & Atlanta.

    Happy to see CWat back today. Expect Hulls to be big tomorrow.

    1. Since you asked — after a Wisconsin win on Jan. 5, 1980, Indiana won the next 31 in a row and 35 of the next 36 dating to Jan. 5, 2000 — 20 years on the nose. But since then, it’s been Wisconsin winning 19 of 24.

  2. A #1 seed probably is probably sewn up, but not the MW region in Indy. Yet. Need to get this monkey off our back. Have to believe that Evans won’t hit another no look turn-around prayer to crush our soul this time, and Bozowitz doesn’t hit more than two Hail Mary’s at the end of the shot clock. (Yes, I’m still bitter…) But we have nobody for Vic to key on, Berggren can take Cody outside, and it’s going to take a total team effort to shut them down this time. Be patient, and if Yogi can finish his drives again, he should be the difference. Hoosiers win by nine.

  3. Duke sewed up the MW Regional for us last night. We’ve got it locked up. Thanks for losing to a mediocre team in the quarterfinals, guys. It’s gonna take some real Dookie cheerleading to justify giving a #1 seed to a team that didn’t win their conference regular season and got completely manhandled in the quarterfinals by the #7 seed in their conference tourney. They’ve earned a #3 but should get a #2. If they get a #1 the selection committee is gonna have egg on their face.

    I think we’ll go deep into the bench early today. Hanner may even see some time. Perhaps they’ll engage in a foul fest against Wisky and we have more fouls to give than they do.

    It could get brutal. If we can play that kind of game, and I think we have the personnel to play any kind of game, in theory at least, CTC will have the guys convinced they’re unstoppable.

    I want Peter to stroll out onto the floor for the opening tipoff wearing red elbow pads (to hide the blood). Bo would start puking into a bucket wondering where he was gonna find 10 basketball players on his bench.

    I think it could be very entertaining and I concur with that prediction that we win by 14.

  4. A couple of things, since Duke lost to MD, has overtaken them as the No 1 in aggregated data analysis, No 1 seed, (I call it PUTS), regardless Duke and IU hold a 15% plus margin over UL and it grows over any competitor down from there. The insider’s know this but TV and media still want the speculation, meaning three No 1 sewn up only the west is uncertain between UK, NM and Zag, yes Alford’s team is statistically right there w/o the hype. If the committee politically gives it to the Zags (only 3 games against RPI Top 25,2-1), then UK probably is 2 and NM goes traveling, my bet is Indy…dripping with anticipation, kind of like an insider’s way of sticking it to IU for overlooking their favorite son…anyway, the Lobo’s are very good as well.

    Now as for Wisc-IU, the key will be rebounding as a means of forcing the tempo, Wisc gets one of the largest % of points from the 3 pt shot, far more (34%) but they shoot about 22 shots, making just under 8, meaning 14 bounce off the rim, those long rebounds should offer some oppty’s. We cannot walk up the ball against Wisc, we have force them to go deep into their bench, esp at the guards where we pressure them and use our bench.

    In back court hopefully Elston is OK so he can log some minutes against them, with our Hollowell Perea and Creek. Really would like to see IU go 11 deep with contributions to the game and minutes and force Wisc into defensive fatigue.

    Ultimately if IU can crack 72 points Wisc will be hard pressed to keep up if IU can maintain perimeter defense in the half court and rebound defensively—NO ZONE!

  5. Sorry about the mistakes just woke up getting ready for a weekend gathering of IU alum and friends in the vac home, meant KU, meant back court and meant that we should not be afraid of Wisc if we force things on them, not force the game with stupidity. Force the physical nature of our game onto them…really hope Elston and Creek contribute 3-5 minutes with Hollowell, Abell and Sheehey’s usual contribution, not confident that Perea is more than an fast stiff who is three thoughts slow to the game’s flow, that is just me….Remember if any of you have been to the UC its sight lines and background are totally different and 3 point shooting can be a problem, go ask Hulls and Ferrell.

  6. welll since they lost to Wisconsin..I love Jordy Hulls BUT his size IS a liability. I dont think he even scored today;and as much as i really do appreciate his effort for 4 years,cant ewait for the recruits to come in. We really need guards that can go over the top of defense…Dante Exum ,I hope

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