NCAA: No. 2 Indiana falls to Wisconsin

NCAA

Indiana’s Cody Zeller and Wisconsin’s Mike Bruesewitz go after a loose ball. Indiana coach Tom Crean looks on with an on-the-spot official.

As the pre-season No. 1 team in the NCAA, Indiana had everyone around college basketball talking. They had the pre-season pick for player of the year in Cody Zeller, have the shooting, have the defense, have the team. As the season started, they’ve shown just how good they are and that they deserved the No. 1 spot. They ran over opponents early on until their neighbors in Indiana, the Butler Bulldogs, came to town and knocked them off the top of the hill. The Hoosiers fell from the No. 1 spot and for the last few weeks have been fighting and clawing their way back. This week they came 64 total votes from regaining the No. 1 spot, which ended up going to Louisville, and landed in the No. 2 spot. A couple more wins and they’d most likely be right back where they started, at No. 1.

That was, until the Badgers from the University of¬†Wisconsin came to town…

The Badgers (13-4, 4-0) aren’t one of the six Big Ten teams in the Top 25, nor have they been getting much love from the pollsters because they have lost four games thus far (Florida, Creighton, Virginia and Marquette). In the last two weeks they have beaten Penn State, Nebraska, Illinois, and now Indiana. This win puts unranked Wisconsin at the top of the mighty Big Ten Conference at 4-0. No. 2 Indiana can’t say that they are undefeated in the Big Ten (3-1), neither can No. 5 Michigan (3-1), or No. 9 Minnesota (3-1), or No. 11 Ohio State (3-1), or No. 18 Michigan State (3-1), or No. 23 Illinois (1-3).

Wisconsin used their typical patient offensive style to take every second off the shot clock they could before attacking the basket. The Badgers protect the ball as well as any team in college basketball, as evidenced by their eight turnovers on the game. Remarkably, Indiana only tossed up 12 triple attempts in the game, connecting on a dismal three (25%) of those. Compared to the long-range shooting exhibition the Hoosiers put on against Minnesota in their last game, where they connected on 8 of 19 (42.1%), most of them in the first half have en route to a 23-point mid-game advantage they had against the Gophers.

At the end of the first half, Indiana held a 32:31 advantage.

The Hoosiers got a quick three to open the second half, but then went cold for over six minutes, only able to tally six points. The Badgers, on the other hand, took control of the game and with just over 12 minutes left, led 39:47.

Indiana decided to bump up the tempo and get back to their style of hoops, the move paid off and they got into a groove, going on a 10:1 scoring run to pull to within one, 51:52, with only 4:40 to play.

Wisconsin held firm and never relinquished the led, outscoring the Hoosiers 8:12 in the final minutes to cap off a 59:64 victory that will no doubt force yet another major overhall of the polls next week.

Ryan Evans dropped in 13 points and grabbed 8 rebounds to pace the Badgers, Traevon Jackson added 11, Sam Dekker and Mike Bruesewitz each contributed 10 to the win.

Zeller’s 23 points and 10 rebounds topped Indiana, Christian Watford added 11, and Victor Oladipo contributed 10 in the loss.

Next up for Wisconsin is a road game at Iowa on Saturday, then a home match-up with Michigan State on Tuesday.

Indiana travels to Northwestern on Sunday, then entertains Penn. State next Wednesday.

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