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Monday, Feb. 26
The Indiana Daily Student

sports men's basketball

IU men's basketball faces No. 24 Wisconsin in regular season finale

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Of the six times a ranked team has come to Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall, only one has left with a victory. IU men’s basketball has outscored ranked teams at home by a combined 52 points. 

The only loss came Jan. 26 to then-No. 17 Maryland by a single point. 

“For us to be 19-11, 9-10 with one to go in this league, I think we're continuing to trend in the right way,” IU head coach Archie Miller said.

IU will welcome another ranked team to Assembly Hall on Saturday afternoon for senior day against No. 24 Wisconsin. The Hoosiers will honor guards Devonte Green, Adrian Chapman, forward De’Ron Davis and three student managers. Green and Davis combined for 10 points and five rebounds the last time they faced Wisconsin.

In that matchup Dec. 7 in Madison, Wisconsin, the Badgers won by 20 points. It was the first road game of the season for the Hoosiers.

Sophomore guard Kobe King scored 24 points and shot 10-15 from the field to lead Wisconsin. But King is no longer with the program after transferring to Nebraska. He played in 20 games while the Badgers compiled a 12-8 record. Since his departure, Wisconsin is 10-2 and has won its last seven games by an average of 9.4 points.

The Badgers are projected to be the No. 4 seed in the Big Ten Tournament, but a loss could drop them to fifth. Illinois has two games remaining and have the head-to-head win against Wisconsin. If the Badgers lose to the Hoosiers, it would force them to play Thursday rather than Friday in the conference tournament.

The Hoosiers are predicted to be the No. 11 seed in the Big Ten Tournament and would need some help from other teams to move up. If Purdue loses its next game, then IU would become the No. 10 seed, and if Michigan loses its next two games, IU would move up the standings. 

None of that will matter, though, if IU doesn’t win against Wisconsin. But the momentum is there from IU coming off a win over Minnesota on Wednesday night. Junior center Joey Brunk scored in double digits for the first time since Jan. 23 against Michigan State. He also had eight rebounds, which was his most since Jan. 15 against Rutgers. 

Brunk struggled the first time IU faced Wisconsin when junior forward Nate Reuvers limited him to two points and six rebounds in 16 minutes. Reuvers took advantage of Brunk in the paint, scoring 20 points while shooting 8-12 from the field. Reuvers has only scored in single digits seven times this season. He leads Wisconsin in points and blocks but also averages 3.1 fouls per game. IU’s usual game plan is to get freshman forward Trayce Jackson-Davis scoring early. If Reuvers gets in foul trouble in, that could play a factor in the Hoosiers’ success.

Miller said on his radio show Monday that Jackson-Davis sprained his ankle against Purdue last week, but in the last two games, he’s averaged 15 points and 10.5 rebounds. 

“Saturday is going to be a big challenge for all of our frontcourt players with how Wisconsin plays,” Miller said. “We had no answer for them way, way back. But we're going to have to be a lot better engaged defensively on Saturday.”

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