The most emotion shown from IU men’s basketball didn’t come from anyone on the court.
It came from a baffled IU head coach Archie Miller as he took a knee and started slapping the floor, begging his players to show some type of spark as the Hoosiers got run out of the Kohl Center 84-64 by Wisconsin.
Miller knew that going up to Madison, Wisconsin for IU’s first road game of the season was going to be a challenge.
Even though the Hoosiers played their best game of the season against No. 17 Florida State University on Tuesday, the difference between the Seminoles’ style of play and the Badgers’ was night and day.
“It's a complete 180 from Tuesday night,” Miller said Friday. “Florida State's pressure and Florida State's depth and their style of play is the complete opposite of what you're going to deal with when you play Wisconsin, especially in Madison.”
Wisconsin’s slow and methodical style of play unsurprisingly was the kryptonite for IU’s No. 25 ranked offense.
It looked like Hoosiers were shooting on a carnival rim throughout the game as they couldn’t find the bottom of the net, shooting only 42% from the field.
“It was disappointing for everyone,” Miller said. “I think our team was literally pleading with one another, pleading with each other in the four minute timeouts, talking on the bench and searching for that breakout moment to get our two feets back on the ground and everyone to say ‘ok we’re fine, we’re ok,’ and we never really got there.”
It couldn't have gotten much worse for the Hoosiers' Defense.
Earlier in the season when IU faced off against the University of North Alabama, I said that the Hoosiers' first half defensive effort in that game would have gotten them blown out against any Big Ten team.
Guess what happened?
IU somehow played worse in the first half against Wisconsin than they did against North Alabama and found themselves in a 20-point hole going into the break. IU allowed the Badgers to shoot 62.5% from the field in the opening half and make six 3-pointers as Wisconsin put the game out of reach before IU even knew what hit them.
Going into the FSU game, I had a gut feeling that it might play out the same way the game against Marquette University did last season.
As it turns out my gut was correct, but it also meant that the next game — also IU’s first road game last season — would probably end up as a letdown.
Hey what do you know, two-for-two.
Unlike last season’s loss to the University of Arkansas that came down to the buzzer and felt more like a wasted opportunity, this game felt like IU snapped back to reality and was reminded of its shortcomings.
Last season’s loss to Arkansas at the time felt like a blip on the radar that turned out to be an ambush as IU’s season quickly crumbled during Big Ten play. This loss to Wisconsin however feels like an artillery barrage that may wipe out the Hoosiers before they even get started.
An unassuming game at Madison Square Garden against an inconsistent University of Connecticut team all of a sudden becomes an important test for a young IU team that is trying to rebound after its first loss of the season.
For a second it looked like IU struck gold Tuesday. now the Hoosiers have left many wondering if they were bamboozled.
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