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What We Learned: Wisconsin Badgers 65, Indiana Hoosiers 60

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What can we takeaway from Wisconsin’s victory over Indiana?

NCAA Basketball: Indiana at Wisconsin Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

On Sunday afternoon, the Indiana Hoosiers looked to get its season back on track with a big-time win against the No. 10 ranked Wisconsin Badgers.

Despite Wisconsin’s hot start with a 6-0 run, Indiana managed to stay on their tails, entering the half down by three points, 27-24.

Indiana (15-9, Big Ten 5-6) managed to stay within striking distance of Wisconsin (20-3, Big Ten 9-1) throughout a majority of the second, but was unable to capture the lead at any point in the game. Wisconsin would ultimately go on to pick up its ninth conference win of the season 65-60, fortifying its place on top of the Big Ten.

Let’s see what we learned from the game.

What We Learned

1. Wisconsin Has Undeniable Talent

Throughout the 2016-17 season, Wisconsin has played exceptionally well. The team’s ability to utilize its surplus of talent, while putting forward a collective team effort, has plagued opponents.

Against Indiana, the duo of redshirt-sophomore forward Ethan Happ and senior forward Nigel Hayes was lethal. Happ notched 20 points, seven rebounds and two assists, while Hayes put on a 15-point, 10-rebound and two-assist showing, picking up a double-double. Senior guard Bronson Koenig was also able to make a sizable contribution, posting 11 points, seven rebounds and three assists. This game wasn’t the exception for either Happ or Hayes, as both have performed at an elite level all season.

Happ is currently averaging 14.7 points and over nine rebounds per game, while Hayes is averaging 13.3 points and six boards per game. If these two stars can continue to propel their team to victories, look for Wisconsin to make a strong postseason push in the NCAA Tournament this year.

2. Indiana Needs To Put Together The Pieces

While Indiana may have had an impressive showing in the beginning of the season, taking down then No. 2 Kansas and No. 3 North Carolina, the team has since struggled to gain momentum in conference play.

The Hoosiers Big Ten record is currently under .500, despite possessing quality talent. In its loss to Wisconsin, Indiana had three players score in double figures. Redshirt-junior guard Josh Newkirk highlighted the Hoosier’s scoring with his 22 points. Sophomore center Thomas Bryant also added 11 points and six boards, while junior guard Robert Johnson had 11 points and six assists.

The bottom line is that Indiana has what it takes to beat top-tier teams, and they have shown it in the past. The Hoosiers must work together and learn how to generate victories once again. Although Indiana’s season may have not gone as planned, its talent is still present.

3. Wisconsin Will Likely Continue To Dominate

As you look at the remainder of Wisconsin’s Big Ten schedule, few upcoming opponents pose much of a challenge for the Badgers. In Wisconsin’s next three games it will face-off against Nebraska, Northwestern and Michigan, all of which are winnable games. Out of those three opponents, Northwestern will likely be Wisconsin’s greatest threat.

After that three game stretch, Maryland is the only team out of Wisconsin’s remaining challengers that will likely give the team a run for their money. If Wisconsin can continue to play with a sense of urgency, the Badgers will continue to be an extremely difficult team to take down in the Big Ten.

Overall

Indiana has another tough upcoming matchup against Purdue, while Wisconsin faces off against Nebraska. Indiana will hope to get something going in the remainder of Big Ten play, as Wisconsin gradually prepares for its postseason ambitions.