The Big Ten only had one game on Friday, but it was a significant one between Indiana and Wisconsin in Madison. The Hoosiers were hoping to score a marquee road win while the Badgers were hoping to stay atop the Big Ten standings.
Let’s take a look at what happened.
Game of the Night:
-No. 11 Wisconsin Badgers 91, Indiana Hoosiers 79
A few months ago, there weren’t many who would have picked Wisconsin to be atop the Big Ten standings through roughly a month of conference play. While most thought the Badgers would be improved, this was a team that was 17-14 on Selection Sunday last year and went just 9-11 in Big Ten play. Taking that big of a step forward was hard to see.
However, heading into Friday night, that was reality. And Badger fans certainly wanted Wisconsin to keep things going with a beatable Indiana team at home. The Hoosiers were hoping to be the spoilers after a rough loss against Purdue earlier in the week.
The game would prove relatively uncompetitive. Indiana kept it close enough in the first half to call it a game, but the Hoosiers were never truly in position to win. Wisconsin consistently held a double-digit lead and absolutely destroyed Indiana’s defense en route to an absurd 1.40 points per possession. Max Klesmit led the way with 26 points. AJ Storr also had 15 points and two rebounds.
Wisconsin improved to 14-4 overall and 6-1 in Big Ten play with the win. The Badgers remained in sole possession of first place in the league standings with more manageable games ahead. The team gets arch-rival Minnesota on the road on Tuesday and then Michigan State at home next Friday. The Badgers should be solid favorites in both games.
On the other side, Indiana fell to 12-7 overall and 4-4 in Big Ten play with the loss. The team has now lost four of its last six games and remains winless against top 40 KenPom opponents. Unless the Hoosiers can start finding ways to beat quality competition, it’s hard to see how Indiana can make an NCAA push, especially with a tough slate awaiting. Fortunately, the team gets a week off before facing Illinois on the road on January 27th.