Coming into this game, Wisconsin had won 13 out of their last 15 games against Tom Crean and the Indiana Hoosiers. They piled on another win tonight, winning 75-68 at Assembly Hall. The Badgers started the game with a bang, opening up a 13-0 lead. But the Hoosiers clawed their way back into the game and kept it close until the very end.
The Badgers were led by sophomore standout Ethan Happ. The budding star was in attack mode on both ends of the court, totaling 19 points, six rebounds, four assists, one steal, and a block. Bronson Koenig tacked on 17 points, hitting all five of his three-point attempts.
-Wisconsin is finally starting to look like a vintage Wisconsin team in terms of taking care of the ball. After struggling with their ball security all season, they only turned it over seven times today. That is a really promising sign.
– When Ethan Happ is in attack mode like he was today, he is as good as any player in the country. That’s not an exaggeration. He played like that in the NCAA Tournament last season, and we saw flashes of it in non-conference play this season. But today, he was aggressive from start to finish and Indiana had no prayer of stopping him.
-This win was huge for the Badgers. Road wins in conference play are always tough, especially against teams as talented as Indiana. This was also their first victory this season over a likely NCAA Tournament team (although with Crean at the helm, you never know). In addition, this win puts them in the driver’s seat of the Big Ten title race, especially with Purdue sitting at 0-1.
-One negative today was shot selection. When Wisconsin was playing through the post and moving the ball, Indiana couldn’t stop them. But the Badgers stopped themselves quite a bit with bad shot selection. Bronson Koenig took a couple contested, deep two-pointers, Nigel Hayes tried a couple fadeaways, and Vitto Brown took a pair of jump shots with a hand right in his face. All of those were early in the shot clock, and most of them resulted in Indiana buckets on the other end.
-I love Greg Gard. I think he’s doing a great job. But I hate that whenever a player picks up two fouls, he sits them for the entire first half. A lot of coaches do it, but in the game today, it made no sense. Bronson Koenig is a senior point guard. He is smart enough not to pick up a third foul. To make matter worse, he was feeling it, having already drained 3/3 from beyond the arc. Sitting him for the last nine minutes of the half was a very poor decision that could have cost the Badgers a victory.
– Beating Tom Crean just never gets old. I really hope Indiana keeps him forever.