Indiana and Wisconsin were perhaps the Big Ten’s two hottest teams going into last weekend, having won a combined 23 straight games before Saturday.
On Thursday, though, the 11th-ranked Hoosiers and 13th-ranked Badgers will be looking to rebound from losses when they face off in Madison.
Indiana (17-2, 6-0) had ridden a 13-game winning streak to a top-10 ranking, but the Hoosiers were surprised at home by unranked Connecticut on Saturday, losing 68-63.
The Huskies outrebounded Indiana 44-28, while the Hoosiers shot a season-worst 37.1 percent from the field. Star freshman Eric Gordon shot just 5-for-16 and scored 14 points.
“He looked like he was struggling tonight,” Indiana coach Kelvin Sampson said. “The game didn’t really come easy to him.”
Gordon, a 6-foot-4 guard, leads the Big Ten with 21.7 points per game - more than four points above the next-highest scorer - while 6-foot-9 senior D.J. White is third in the conference with 16.8 along with a league-leading 10.2 rebounds.
The duo shot a combined 10-for-29 (34.5 percent) against the Huskies.
“I think for the first time, a couple of us played a little selfish, probably took some shots that we hadn’t taken all season,” guard Armon Bassett said. “Sometimes we didn’t make the extra pass today.”
The Hoosiers are still off to their best 19-game start since 1992-93, and they remain the lone unbeaten team in Big Ten play. However, they have yet to face a ranked opponent this season and their six conference wins have come against five of the six worst teams in the league.
Wisconsin similarly has been feasting on the bottom half of the Big Ten, but the Badgers (16-3, 6-1) dropped their first conference game on Saturday, losing 60-56 at Purdue to snap their 10-game winning streak.
Brian Butch led the Badgers with 20 points and 13 rebounds, but was just 4-for-7 from the free throw line, part of Wisconsin’s 12-of-19 effort as a team.
Wisconsin also shot just 38.5 percent from the field - its worst shooting game since November - and lost despite holding Purdue to 37.5 percent shooting.
“Every team in the Big Ten is hard to prepare for and has their own identity,” Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan said. “When preparing for a Big Ten matchup, the key is to not forget your identity.”
Wisconsin’s identity has been that of a balanced offense and one of the nation’s best defenses. The Badgers allow just 54.7 points per game, tops in the Big Ten and third in the country. Indiana, meanwhile, leads the league with 78.6 points per game offensively.
Wisconsin is 12-1 at home this season, has won six straight at the Kohl Center, and is 103-6 at home since Ryan took over in 2001-02. Indiana hasn’t won at the Kohl Center since the 1997-98 season, losing six straight there.
The Hoosiers, however, are 4-0 on the road after going 3-8 away from home in 2006-07.
Exactly one year ago, they snapped then-No. 2 Wisconsin’s 17-game winning streak with a 71-66 home win.
In that game, White had 16 points while the Hoosiers were led by reserve A.J. Ratliff, who scored 20. Ratliff has been held scoreless and played a combined 18 minutes in Indiana’s last four games.
Neither team has lost consecutive games this season.