The team’s entered Saturday’s affair going in opposite directions. Indiana was 8-0 coming off of an impressive home victory over no. 17 Florida State, while Wisconsin was 4-4 and in search of answers after being blown out by NC State earlier in the week.
However, the Kohl Center proved to be the medicine needed for the Badgers as they jumped on the Hoosiers early and had a 47-27 halftime lead. The onslaught continued in the second half as Indiana trailed by as much as 30 before the final settled as 84-64 Badgers.
Now, let’s take a look at what we learned.
What We Learned
1. Indiana Still Needs To Prove It On The Road
The Hoosiers came out of the gate on the season with a perfect 8-0 start. All of these were home games. The Kohl Center is always a tall task for most teams, but with Wisconsin struggling there was some thought that the Hoosiers could take that good start and go into Madison and come out with the victory.
Didn’t work out that way.
Indiana came out sluggish and a mess defensively. Wisconsin shot 62 percent from the field in the first half. Kobe King nearly surpassed his career-high in the first half with 17 points at the break.
Offensively, it wasn’t much better for the Hoosiers. They shot 33 percent from the field in the first half and 25 percent from beyond the arc. Those numbers improved in the second half, but by that point, it was too late. Indiana ended with 1.03 points per possession for the game, its second-lowest mark on the season.
What this game proves is that Indiana is still two different teams home and away. At Assembly Hall, they can probably beat just about everyone, but they are going to need to improve on the road to move this season forward.
2. Don’t Bury Wisconsin Yet
Coming in at 4-4, Wisconsin’s season teetered on the edge of the abyss. The Badgers needed a well-played home victory over a conference opponent to kickstart things for conference play.
Saturday delivered that for them.
Wisconsin looked like a different team on Saturday. They were smooth on offense, excellent defensively, and didn’t turn the ball over. The games by King and Nate Reuvers were exactly what Wisconsin envisioned at the start of the season with its big men.
There’s still a long way to go, but one thing became clear on Saturday. Wisconsin isn’t done yet, and you still don’t want them at home in conference play.
3. Kobe King Shows What’s Possible
At times, it has been an up-and-down season for Kobe King. The sophomore had great games against Eastern Illinois, Green Bay, and Marquette, but also struggled against New Mexico, Saint Mary’s, and NC State.
Saturday was the best game of King’s career.
King was efficient, confident, and aggressive in his involvement in the offense. He can sometimes defer to the other guards on the team, but he came out intending to score on Saturday.
You have to wonder how much of this will translate from game-to-game, but maybe this game can be a springboard to bigger things for King. If King can continue to score efficiently, that takes away some of the offensive pressure on Reuvers and Wisconsin’s other guards.
Saturday showed what that could mean to King and the Badgers. It could be something that pulls Wisconsin up from their non-conference struggles.
Indiana squares off against UConn in the Jimmy V Classic from Madison Square Garden. Wisconsin hits the road to go to Rutgers in their second Big Ten matchup.