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Men’s basketball: Hoosiers hope to end drought vs. Badgers

Indianhead coach Tom Crean shouts instructions his team during second half an NCAA college basketball game against MinnesotSaturday Jan. 12

Indiana head coach Tom Crean shouts instructions to his team during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Minnesota, Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013, in Bloomington, Ind. Indiana defeated Minnesota 88-81. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

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Updated: February 16, 2013 6:29AM



By the time Tuesday becomes Wednesday, one team will stand alone atop the Big Ten with an unblemished conference record.

But history leans toward unranked Wisconsin, not No. 2 Indiana, being conference front-runners after tonight’s game.

The Badgers (12-4, 3-0 Big Ten) haven’t lost to the Hoosiers since Jan. 31, 2007. Tom Crean, 3-4 against Wisconsin while head coach at Marquette, is 0-10 against the Badgers during his time at Indiana.

In Wisconsin’s two wins last season — one in Madison and the other in the Big Ten Tournament — the Hoosiers were hindered by practically nonexistent 3-point shooting. IU was just 6-of-14 from beyond the arc combined in the two games; the Hoosiers averaged 6.6 made 3s and 15.2 attempts in their other 34 games.

Teams haven’t had much luck from beyond the arc this season against the Badgers; opponents have shot 65-of-208 (31.3 percent) on 3-pointers. That includes Illinois’ 2-of-14 showing in the Badgers’ 74-51 win on Saturday. The Illini had entered the game leading the Big Ten with nine made 3-pointers per game.

Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan credits his frontcourt for the Badgers’ defensive success.

“Once we got Mike Bruesewitz back healthy (from a leg injury and a concussion) … along with Ryan Evans and Jared Berggen, I think those three seniors have helped (the guards) come along defensively,” Ryan said during Monday’s Big Ten coaches teleconference.

Losing the 3-pointer as a weapon won’t necessarily hurt the Hoosiers (15-1, 3-0), whose best-in-the-nation scoring offense counts on 3-pointers for 26.3 percent of their total points (366 of 1,393 points). The Hoosiers have two of the nation’s top 15 shooters in Victor Oladipo (third, 68.3 percent) and Cody Zeller (15th, 63.4 percent).

Whether IU can find inside shots against the Big Ten’s top scoring defense (54.7 ppg) will be a big factor in the Hoosiers extending their home win streak to 19 games.

Not that the Hoosiers are shabby on defense themselves. IU boasts the Big Ten’s top field-goal percentage defense (36.4 percent) and is allowing just 60.4 ppg.

“I think the things that are helping our team is, our defense is much better, which is allowing us to get more baskets, our rebounding is better,” Crean said Monday.

Wisconsin has won four straight games at Assembly Hall, the only program to ever do so.



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