BOZICH: Will Wisconsin's Win Over IU Put U of L in Indy?
CHICAGO (WDRB) – Some things are forever. Diamonds. Rising taxes. Traffic on Dan Ryan. And Wisconsin beating Indiana in basketball.
In a year when the Hoosiers won the Big Ten regular-season title outright, they won't win the Big Ten Tournament. Wisconsin made that happen, defeating Indiana, 68-56, in the semifinals at the United Center Saturday.
Make it down as Wisconsin's 12th consecutive victory over Indiana as well as the second Badgers' win over IU this season. The Badgers are the only Big Ten team that Indiana failed to defeat this season. It was also Indiana's only loss by double figures.
Credit Wisconsin's trademark defense. Indiana failed to shoot 40 percent (38.2) and made only five baskets in the final 12 minutes.
By losing in the semifinals, Indiana opened the question about their NCAA Tournament seeding. The Hoosiers figure to remain a Number One seed, but the loss might bump them out of the Midwest Regional in Indianapolis. If Louisville defeats Syracuse in the Big East final Saturday night, the Cardinals will be in position to replace them Indy, instead of a possible trip to Dallas.
THREE-POINT STORY: Making three points had been an issue for Indiana against Wisconsin. The Hoosiers had failed to make more than three in a game the last three times the teams had played.
That changed Saturday – briefly. Tom Crean's team made four threes in the first half. But the problem returned in the second half when IU made only one of nine three-pointers.
BO KNOWS – Bo Ryan has been right there with Tom Izzo of Michigan State as the best coach in the Big Ten for the last decade. The reason? His team is able to impose its will.
Wisconsin is rarely going to be in a hurry and it showed early in the second half. The Badgers ran at least 28 seconds off the clock on three of their first four possession. That resulted in three baskets and two Indiana fouls.
RETURN OF REMY – Former Eastern High School star Remy Abell has endured a challenging sophomore season. He's averaged only 4 points per game and had made only two three-point shots in Big Ten play.
Abell looks to be ready to launch again. He made a three-point shot against Illinois in the quarter-finals Friday and then made another in the first half against Wisconsin. Crean went to Abell early in the first half of both games because he needs another ball-handler and defender in the backcourt. Abell gives IU more size and bulk than starters Jordan Hulls and Yogi Ferrell. Abell finished with six points.
RED REIGNS – Red was the dominant color in the United Center Saturday. It was easy to spot the Michigan State fans in their trademark green because the three other semifinals – Indiana, Wisconsin and Ohio State – all wear red.
For the third consecutive day, the Big Ten sold standing room tickets for the event
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