We told you this would be the game of the week, didn’t we?
As the only Big Ten game of the night, all eyes were on Wisconsin and Indiana as they battled in Bloomington on Tuesday night. They gave us a show. Let’s take a look at how it went down, and what it all means moving forward.
Game of the Night:
-No. 13 Wisconsin Badgers 75, No. 25 Indiana Hoosiers 68.
I had the same feeling at the end of this game as I did after watching Mad Max: Fury Road. I hope those of you who watched felt the same way. If not, I urge you to, at the very least, watch highlights. It was a dandy.
The meeting was played at a completely furious pace. An old school game where disputes were settled at the rim and three-point possessions were recorded the hard way.
Besides a short-lived 14-point lead early on for Wisconsin neither team was ever able to get out to, and sustain very large advantages. A first half that saw most buckets promptly answered by the opponent ended with the Badgers clinging to an ever so slim 38-37 edge. If these two teams are truly the best that the conference has to offer, they sure made that abundantly obvious on Tuesday night.
The game really picked up at the 11-minute mark of the second half. The score was locked up at 51, and the student section was about as loud as you’ll ever hear it. The Hoosiers had trailed for most of the game, although never by much, and did not want to let Wisconsin go on a scoring run and potentially get out of town with a solid road win over a ranked team in conference. There are plenty of conference games left to be played, but the Hoosiers were staring an 0-2 start to the Big Ten season and a third consecutive loss right in the eyes.
After a De’Ron Davis free throw tied the game at 51, the Badgers responded with a Bronson Koenig–who finished with 17 total points–three pointer on the other end, and that’s when all hell broke loose.
The two teams furiously exchanged buckets for the next 6 minutes of the contest, and this game had the feel of a sibling fight where both would end up in timeout and the dispute would remain unresolved.
Ultimately, however, in a very old-fashioned game, it was the three ball that ended up being the difference for Wisconsin. They shot 10-20 from deep, while the Hoosiers went just 5-15, also turning it over 13 times.
Indiana head coach Tom Crean said at the half: “We didn’t start on time, for some reason. I mean, our digs were so slow, we were so non-existant with pressure, and they got wide open threes.”
“It was like they were in the gym by themselves.”
With under a minute to go in the game and the Badgers already up 5, senior forward Vitto Brown put the game away with, you guessed it, a dagger from outside the arch.
With a 2-0 mark in the Big Ten, Wisconsin will now prepare themselves for yet another road test against a ranked opponent. They’ll return to the state of Indiana to face Caleb Swanigan and the Purdue Boilermakers on Sunday night on CBS. You’ll want to tune in for that one, I have a feeling a certain Big Ten focused blog will be calling that the game of the week in the not so distant future.
As for the Hoosiers, they drop to 0-2 in the Big Ten, but with a winnable home game on tap against Illinois, Saturday on ESPNU. Indiana is going to be fine, and I would expect their turnaround in conference play to begin against the Illini this weekend.