Hoopcap: Badgers Slow Down Speedy Hoosiers
Even with a rousing second half against Minnesota, Badgers fans didn’t know what to expect they would get on Friday night when Wisconsin took on Indiana. While Hoosiers had their struggles this season, they still have an explosive offense. That offense never got going as Wisconsin put on the clamps holding Indiana to only 60 points, and they were in full control of this game advancing to the semifinals to play Northwestern.
Ethan Happ bounces back
The biggest takeaway from this game is Ethan Happ took control of the pain again. This is Happ’s first double-double since January 31st. Happ seized the opportunity as Indiana did not have as much success as they did in Madison where they collapsed on him. If Happ reverts back to what we saw for the first part of the Big Ten season, Wisconsin becomes very dangerous in the next couple weeks.
Three’s were raining in for Wisconsin
Another welcomed sight to see for the Badgers is their three-point shooting came to life. Wisconsin made 10 of 22 threes carrying the load for the offense. Bronson Koenig made four threes which contributed to his 16 points, and D’Mitrik Trice had three 3-pointers as well that played a large part in their 10 threes. Wisconsin doesn’t need their threes to be the key factor as it has been for some other Badgers team, but it can be the difference.
Rough shooting doesn’t phase Nigel Hayes
This was a gritty effort from Nigel Hayes with 10 points and nine boards where he only went 4-for-12 from the field. Hayes didn’t really have it with shooting the ball, but he grabbed six defensive boards along with playing tough defense versus Indiana’s high-powered offense. One of the things that Hayes doesn’t get credit for is he really doesn’t let his offense affect his defense, and that’s a huge thing.
Maryland and Purdue losses hurt Wisconsin
Badgers have a path to make it to the Big Ten Tournament championship. There’s still much merit to win the tournament, and get hot in a major way heading into the NCAA Tournament. But for seeding purposes, I don’t know what a win against Northwestern and Michigan or Minnesota does for your seeding. Badgers are likely locked as a sixth seed and probably not going to Milwaukee for the first two rounds. I’d be surprised if anything changes there. That said, if Northwestern beats Wisconsin, it shouldn’t affect their seeding.
Players of the Game: Bronson Koenig (Wisconsin), James Blackmon Jr. (Indiana)
Next Up: Northwestern is their opponent this afternoon, and it should be a fun one. Cats have really had Badgers numbers in the past couple years, and they gave Happ all sorts of trouble. We shall see what happens this afternoon.