Men’s basketball looking to win 5th straight in Indiana

first_imgJoe Krabbenhoft and the Wisconsin men\’s basketball team look to make it five straight wins against Indiana.[/media-credit]Even though the University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team is riding a four-game winning streak and playing arguably its best basketball of the season, it won’t overlook an Indiana squad that has lost 18 games for the first time in school history.Perhaps the Badgers’ concerns are connected to their match with the Hoosiers at Assembly Hall last season, a game that Wisconsin won 68-66, thanks to a late 3-pointer from senior center Brian Butch.“Start to finish last year in that game, I mean it was a Big Ten basketball game,” Wisconsin guard Jason Bohannon said. “I mean, they started out, you know I think they got up by seven or eight right away. … I hit a three, [Michael Flowers] hit a couple. … That really was a big game for us. Not just conference-wise but just kind of our momentum going for the rest of the year.” That win did in fact give the Badgers a great deal of momentum, as they finished the season with 12 straight wins before losing to Davidson in the Sweet 16.Now, however, the new-look Hoosiers aren’t the same Indiana squad the Badgers faced last season. Record and talent-wise, they’re much worse. But don’t tell that to Joe Krabbenhoft.“Going into Indiana is as tough as going into any other place,” the senior forward said. “I think any player in the Big Ten would say that about Assembly Hall. Those fans are all over you’ we got a crazy win there last year, and I expect the same this year.”Junior guard Devan Dumes and freshman forward Tom Pritchard lead the Hoosiers offensively, averaging 13.8 and 10.6 points per game, respectively. While Indiana no longer can boast its Big Ten Player of the Year in D.J. White or NBA rookie star Eric Gordon, the Badgers are still ready to face whatever Indiana throws at them.“It’s different, no question,” Wisconsin assistant coach Gary Close said. “They’re a very dangerous team. They scare you. You look at their scorers and how they’ve played teams — they’ve been very competitive. They just haven’t gotten over the hump in a tough league.”Although the Badgers have yet to face Indiana this season, they have faced its head coach — Tom Crean — when he coached at Marquette. While the Hoosiers are not as talented as they were last season, Wisconsin players know that Crean prepares his teams as well as any other coach in the country.“Coach Crean obviously has been put in a tough spot there in Indiana,” Krabbenhoft said. “I love watching the Big Ten, so I’ve seen them play a lot and I can see he’s done a great job. They play as hard as any team I’ve seen play.”“He does a great job motivating his players to play basketball and play basketball the right way,” Bohannon added. “He’s a good Big Ten coach — he gets his players to play hard and realize that, you know, every possession has the game on the line.”Under Crean, Indiana switches its defense several times during its games — sometimes even in the middle of a possession. Close believes the changing styles of defense will be a challenge for the Badgers.“They play very hard; this team likes to change defenses a lot to keep teams off-balanced,” Close said. “I think basically they’re just a well-coached team that just gets after it, and you know you’re in a ballgame when you play a team that’s coached by him.”After winning four straight games, the Badgers are back in the NCAA Tournament bubble after losing six consecutive contests from Jan. 11 to Jan. 31. While some may view the match against the Hoosiers as a potential trap game, Wisconsin’s players aren’t thinking about the postseason just yet.‘That’s not the way we think about this game,” Krabbenhoft said. “We just think about it like any other game. Those guys play hard. Coach Crean has them playing really hard and believing that they could beat anybody. They’re going to go out there guns blazing and ready to beat us: we’ve just got to be ready for it.”last_img read more