The Wisconsin Badgers are one of the highest ranked teams in the Big Ten. Can they avoid an upset at the hands of the Indiana Hoosiers?
TV Schedule: Friday, January 19, 8:30 PM ET, FS1
Location: Kohl Center in Madison, WI
Both the Wisconsin Badgers and Indiana Hoosiers are licking their chops as they enter the Kohl Center for a Friday night clash. The Big Ten squads are each coming off losses, disappointing for different reasons.
Indiana went into Tuesday's contest after winning two of three, hoping to give the Purdue Boilermakers at least a little bit of a scare. The Hoosiers had no answer for Zach Edey, though, and were blown out by 21 points. There's a lot of talent on Mike Woodson's roster, but it hasn't coalesced in any consistent fashion so far.
Meanwhile, the Badgers were riding high before Tuesday, the only Big Ten team without a blemish on their conference record. That changed in Happy Valley as Penn State recorded its first win over a ranked foe under Mike Rhodes, an 87-83 upset of Wisconsin.
Wisconsin is going to have its hands full with Indiana's bigs. Despite the Hoosiers' underwhelming season, they have several scary guys up front, including Malik Reneau, Mackenzie Mgbako, and Kel’el Ware. It's going to be a tough assignment for Steven Crowl.
In general, the defense is going to have to play better for Wisconsin. The law of averages suggests it will. The 87 points allowed to the Nittany Lions was an aberration, surpassed only once this season when the Badgers took it on the nose at Arizona. They give up only 66.6 points per game and should play closer to that at home.
For better or worse, Indiana's schedule has allowed them to stay off the road. That's helped them grab more wins, perhaps, but also leaves them untested at true road environments. The Hoosiers' only road victory this season was a three-point win at a bad Michigan squad.
The Badgers definitely have a home-court advantage at the raucous Kohl Center. Greg Gard's team has only lost on their home court once this season. Don't expect it to happen again on Friday.
Prediction: Wisconsin 74, Indiana 62