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Friday, Feb. 23
The Indiana Daily Student

sports men's basketball

Wisconsin shows recipe to beat Hoosiers

B1G Men's Basketball Tournament CAROUSEL

With the start of the NCAA Tournament days away, Wisconsin has provided the nation’s teams with a bold reminder of one way to fell mighty IU.

Saturday’s 68-56 loss was the Hoosiers’ most lopsided of the season and their 12th in a row against the Badgers, proof once again that the Badgers have their number.

In essence, the defeat was a showcase of the hallmarks of that streak: physical defense, timely shooting, careful shot selection and control of the game’s pace throughout.

“It seems like going to the hole, we’re not really getting the foul we want and we’re not really hitting the shots that we want to,” junior guard Victor Oladipo said. “It’s tough, but at the same time, we’ve got to withstand all that and continue to keep playing defense.”

A trademark of Wisconsin’s style, perhaps above all others, is the tempo, or rather the lack of it, as they often slow the game to a plod.

“They have been trying to slow it down on us all year,” sophomore forward Cody Zeller said. “We always want to speed up the pace, and you know, with our pressure, if we are getting after them on the defensive end, getting deflections, then that’s how we want to play. We didn’t do enough of that and enough to speed up the pace, which is why we got beat.”

Elements of Wisconsin Coach Bo Ryan’s system have permeated throughout the Hoosiers’ defeats all year.

In IU’s first loss of the season, Butler similarly slowed the tempo from IU’s preferred pace.

Illinois succeeded in disrupting IU’s momentum, keeping IU from pulling away with scoring sprees despite opportunities to do so.

Minnesota crashed the boards and physically beat down the Hoosiers in IU’s road loss in Minneapolis.

Yet no team has been able to defeat IU quite like Wisconsin. With the Badger’s strategy accounting for a third of IU’s losses, players admitted it is only natural for potential NCAA opponents to look to Wisconsin for a blueprint for how to attack IU.

However, Oladipo is not so sure any other team has quite the personnel to flummox the Hoosiers as the Badgers do, even if they try.

“I think a lot of team might do that,” Oladipo said. “I’m not sure if a lot of teams have the same players (Wisconsin does) and like to play like they do. Some teams might apply that.”

IU Coach Tom Crean said he is confident moving forward. The flaws of the defeat are all correctable, he said, from a lapse in 3-point shot defense to an inability to perpetuate momentum against the Badgers.

Wisconsin simply remains good at what they do, and Crean does not see that stopping any time soon.

“They are a very good team, extremely well-coached, disciplined, great staff, inside outside scoring, great balance and just an all-around great team,” Crean said. “They are an excellent team and have been for a long, long time. As long as he’s the coach there, they will be.”

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