Wisconsin had one of its most dominating defensive games of the season in a win against Indiana earlier this month. It was the kind of effort Hoosiers coach Tom Crean is looking for from his team.
The 17th-ranked Badgers go for their sixth straight win over struggling Indiana on Thursday as they try to improve to .500 on the road in Big Ten play.
Wisconsin (20-7, 10-5) has the top scoring defense in the conference, allowing 57.1 points per game. It was especially impressive in an 83-55 win at home against Indiana on Feb. 13.
The Badgers forced a season-high 21 turnovers, which turned into 29 points, and had 15 offensive rebounds which led to 18 second-chance points.
Wisconsin’s effectiveness on the glass came despite missing leading rebounder Jon Leuer, who has played the last two games after missing the previous nine with a broken wrist.
Leuer has come off the bench since returning, and in a 70-63 win over Northwestern on Sunday, he finished with 11 points, four rebounds and three blocked shots in 22 minutes.
“That was experience that we got back on the floor in those situations, and that’s why he was out there,” coach Bo Ryan said. “Plus, even with that tape on his hand, his hands in the post are the best of our bigs.”
With Leuer struggling to make shots due to his injury, Jason Bohannon continues to play well. Bohannon finished with 17 points Sunday and scored a career-high 30 against Indiana earlier this month. He’s averaging 19.5 points and shooting 52.2 percent from 3-point range in February.
The Badgers have struggled on the road, going 3-5 overall, but they have won their last two visits to Bloomington and will be facing a Hoosiers team that has dropped eight in a row.
Indiana (9-17, 3-11) never led in an 81-58 loss to Minnesota on Saturday, shooting a season-worst 32.2 percent and trailing 44-25 at the half.
Devan Dumes had a season-high 20 points off the bench, while leading scorer Verdell Jones III shot 2 of 8 to finish with 10 points. Christian Watford, averaging 12.3 points, scored three while connecting on 1 of 12 field goals.
In the last eight losses, the Hoosiers have been outscored by close to 15 points per game. They are allowing an average of 76.8 points in the last six.
“I told them after the game … I don’t hope the program is coming back, I believe that it will and I believe in those guys,” Crean said. “I also told them that if we don’t get better defensively and they can’t do a better job of guarding their man … they are not going to be a part of this moving forward. I don’t have any patience for lack of getting up into people defensively.”
Indiana has lost 14 in a row to Top 25 teams since beating then-No. 14 Purdue 77-68 on Feb. 19, 2008.