MADISON, Wis. — After an impressive home performance against No. 17 Florida State, any chance of Indiana getting ranked in the next AP Top 25 poll reduced to a fine dust on Saturday – within about five minutes. Indiana (8-1, 0-1) drops their first game of the season to the Badgers (5-4, 1-0) in a 64-84 blowout loss.
The Hoosiers traveled to Madison, Wisconsin to take on the Badgers for their first true road game of the season. In a place where Indiana had lost 16 straight meetings in the Kohl Center prior to today, the beginning of the game opened up with nothing but Wisconsin taking it to Indiana. Greg Gard’s ball club quickly rebounded from back-to-back losses and made a statement on the visiting Hoosiers.
The Badgers opened up with a 19-4 lead in the first seven minutes, including making their first three 3-point shots, something Wisconsin has not done well this season so far. Neither the players nor the staff made enough adjustments to overcome the big early deficit, and after the gap ballooned to 31, IU ultimately fell to Wisconsin, 84-64.
The starting lineup remained the same to start out the game, but after the quick start for Wisconsin, Archie Miller went looking for multiple rotations to try and stop the hot Nate Reuvers and Kobe King. Miller found a lineup that consisted of Devonte Green, Damezi Anderson, Trayce Jackson-Davis, and a mix at the last two spots that weathered the storm of the hot start for the Badgers.
King entered the afternoon with a previous career high of 18 points. Against Indiana’s lack of speed and guards, he was able to easily slice through the Indiana pack line defense without any resistance in the first half. By the intermission, he was already up to 17 points and three rebounds. King was king of the court today as he finished with an impressive line of 24 points on 10 of 15 shooting.
Indiana was not able to capitalize on their ability to get to the line and finish at the line. Wisconsin was a team that was known not to foul. The Hoosiers only made seven appearances at the free throw line, finishing just five of them. The second half improved and the Hoosiers were able to focus on drawing fouls around the rim, but with players like De’Ron Davis going zero for four, including an airball at the charity stripe, Indiana did not have enough opportunities to supplement their cold offense.
The offense finally began to find its role as we entered the end of the first half, but Indiana looked lost on offense the entire half and Wisconsin took advantage of the slow rotations and slow defensive stance from Indiana. IU scored a mere 27 points on 10-for-30 (33%) shooting in the first half.
Just as the Hoosiers were starting to find something on either side of the ball, the hot hand of Wisconsin beyond the arc opened up yet again, and extended the Badger lead by 20 points at the end of the first half. The Badgers came into this game shooting 29.7% from the 3-point line and 41.9% from the field. At halftime, they were shooting 42.6% from the 3-point line and 62.5% from the field. The Hoosiers could not find an answer for Reuvers and King, as the Badgers were leading 47-27 at the half.
While Hoosier fans hoped the second half would be a different result and Indiana would show some fight, the opposite continued, and Wisconsin continued to take advantage of Indiana having its worst game of the season. The largest lead of the game was 31 for Wisconsin, as Indiana had a game that was reminiscent of last season.
After the Badgers had their largest lead of the game, the Hoosiers had some signs of life in garbage time. They went on a 10-0 run in the middle of the second half to make the result a little more respectable. A pair of Durham three point shots and a pair of Franklin lay ups help reduce the margin further, but it was simply not enough.
By that point, it was too little too late, but at least they can go home saying it wasn’t a full 40 minutes that they were blown out. Even with Durham’s 17 points and a perfect eight of eight from the free throw line, the rest of the stagnant Hoosier offense could not overcome the lights out shooting from the Badgers.
Other double digit scorers for the Hoosiers included Green and Justin Smith.
The final score was 84-64 as Indiana will look to put this performance behind them as they prepare to travel to New York City.
Number of the Night: 31
In a game where Indiana was favored by 1.5 points, the largest lead for the Badgers was 31. Hoosier fans might not have expected a victory in a place they haven’t won in over two decades, but to lose by 20 to a team that has half the record you do is something that makes the loss sting that much more.
Indiana will have another test on the road in short order as they travel to New York City to play in the legendary Madison Square Garden for the 2019 Jimmy V Classic. Indiana faces a UConn (6-2) team that has been eagerly waiting since their last game on Wednesday. Dan Hurley’s Huskies will have nearly a week to game plan against Archie Miller’s squad.
You can watch that game about 30 minutes after the conclusion of #1 Louisville and Texas on ESPN. Expect the Hoosiers to tip off no earlier than 9:00 PM ET on Tuesday, December 10.
Featured Photo: IndianaHQ