By MIKE McCURRY Indiana, considered by many as the favorite to win the Big-10 following non-conference victories over Kansas and UNC, is now in danger of falling out of the Top-25 after losing to No. 13 Wisconsin, 75-68, on Tuesday.The Hoosiers have now lost three straight games—to Nebraska, Louisville, and the Badgers—including an 0-2 start in league play. Sophomore Ethan Happ scored a game-high 19 points on 8-of-11 shooting to go along with 6 rebounds and 4 assists for Wisconsin, who quieted Assembly Hall early by starting the game on a 13-0 run. Bronson Koenig had 17 points, aided by a 5-of-5 line from long distance, while Zak Showalter’s 14-point evening gives him 32 thru two conference games this year. Wisconsin has now reeled off nine straight wins heading into Sunday’s showdown in West Lafayette against Purdue, a matchup that Badgers’ coach Greg Gard is already preparing for.
Shifting gears to Indiana, turnovers and three-point shooting differential continue to plague the Hoosiers. During its three-game losing streak, IU has committed 45 turnovers while forcing just 30. Indiana has been outscored 63-30 in the “points off turnovers” department in this span. Pitt transfer Josh Newkirk doesn’t appear to be the answer at point guard. Over the same duration, the normally sharpshooting Hoosiers have been outscored by a combined 21 points from the three-point line. Indiana has made 33 percent of its triples, compared to 47 percent for the opposition during this stretch—the latter of which IU coach Tom Crean attributes to “over-helping and late challenges.” And on Tuesday, the trio of James Blackmon, Thomas Bryant, and OG Anunoby, which entered the night averaging nearly 42 points per game, totaled just 25. Indiana better regroup quickly if it still has any remaining aspirations of competing for the Big-10 regular season title. Earlier this year, IU was extremely mercurial, sprinkling in a loss to Fort Wayne in between the Kansas and UNC triumphs. Lately, though, the Hoosiers have been trending toward consistency—just not in the direction they want. Photo: @BadgerMBB Follow Mike on Twitter Follow Adam Zagoria on Twitter And like ZAGS on Facebook
Reporter: Who's your biggest competition in Big Ten this year?Gard: Purdue. Reporter: Just Purdue? Why? Gard: They're next. — WWWWWWWWWisconsin 🏀 (@BadgerMBB) January 4, 2017