Brendon Mulvihill is an RTC contributor. You can find him @themulv on Twitter. See bottom of the post for the Official RTC Star System.
Big Ten and WAC match-ups headline tonight’s conference action. Let’s get to the games.
#14 Indiana at Wisconsin – 9:00PM EST on ESPN HD (****)
- Indiana recently ended a three-game losing last Sunday by beating Penn State for the second time this season. The Hoosiers have been a bit sloppy on offense in Big Ten play, turning the ball over more, getting more shots blocked, and dipping under the 50% mark from inside the arc. However, it’s the IU defense that has seen the biggest dip against Big Ten opponents. Tom Creen’s squad is not creating turnovers and is getting lit up from two-point land to the tune of 52.2%. While Wisconsin is far from an offensive juggernaut, keep a close eye on how the Hoosiers lock-up on defense. Also, pay close attention to Indiana’s ability to get to the line. If the Hoosiers do not have a free throw rate (FTA/FGA) of at least 30%, there is a higher probability that they will lose the game.
- Wisconsin has suffered through its own three-game losing streak in the Big Ten this season. They have since put together a four-game win streak with strong defense. After a miserable start on offense, the Badgers have picked up their shooting in the last four games. Wisconsin can survive a poor shooting night because of strong defense. However, with a total eFG% under 50% and a two-point shooting percentage of 44.9% in conference, they have seen their fair share of dismal shooting displays that even stellar defense cannot overcome.
- There are three keys to this game that will determine the outcome. Indiana’s free throws, Wisconsin’s shooting, and Indiana’s ability to grab offensive boards. We have discussed the first two. If Indiana does not get to the line, they are much more susceptible to losing. Wisconsin does not have to shoot lights out to win, but if they are clanking too many, it’s over. The third key is very important though. Wisconsin has a tough time against teams that can grab their misses and pick-up second chance points. With Indiana’s size advantage in the this contest, pay close attention to the Hoosiers’ boarding on offense and subsequent trips to the line on hard fouls on the inside.