Indiana-Wisconsin Preview

The Associated Press

Wisconsin hasn't won a Big Ten tournament game since cutting down the nets in 2008.

While the 14th-ranked Badgers have dominated Indiana of late, ending their tournament woes Friday against the No. 15 Hoosiers in Indianapolis may not be easy - though the Hoosiers will be without point guard Verdell Jones III.

Fourth-seeded Wisconsin tries for a 10th consecutive victory over fifth-seeded Indiana, which didn't have much trouble advancing to this quarterfinal matchup but has lost Jones for the season in the process.

The Badgers (23-8) carry plenty of momentum into this tournament after concluding their regular-season schedule with three wins in a row. Star senior Jordan Taylor and sophomore Josh Gasser each scored 16 points while Jared Berggren and Ryan Evans combined for 22 in Sunday's 70-56 victory over Illinois.

"Right now we're kind of on a little roll with (three) straight wins, we're just trying to keep it going here," Gasser said. "We play our best when we've got multiple guys scoring in double figures and that's what happened the past couple games. If we can continue that, we can hopefully make a little run."

Though the Badgers certainly look primed to do just that after receiving a conference-record 12th consecutive first-round bye, they've struggled mightily in the last three Big Ten tournaments. Wisconsin has been sent home after its first game each time thanks to shooting a combined 31.1 percent from the field.

"It's been some ugly games for us down there since I've been here," Taylor said. "Obviously we haven't won there since '08. It's just been some ugly games, but sometimes you gotta find a way to win ugly games and we haven't been able to do that.

"No matter what the game is like Friday, we gotta try and find a way to win."

The Badgers have experienced plenty of success against the Hoosiers (25-7) of late, winning nine straight in the series by an average of 15.8 points.

Wisconsin knocked off Indiana 57-50 at home Jan. 26 in the only matchup this season. A repeat performance, however, could prove difficult in front of what should be a Hoosiers-friendly crowd in Indianapolis.

After dropping six straight in conference tournament play since defeating Wisconsin 61-56 in 2006, Indiana cruised to a 75-58 first-round win over Penn State on Thursday. Jordan Hulls scored a team-high 20 points while freshman standout Cody Zeller had 19 and 10 boards, carrying the Hoosiers in the same building where both players won high school state titles.

"It's not my first time playing here," Hulls said. "Shots were falling down for me, teammates were finding me when I was open and I created a little bit on my own. So luckily, the shot was falling down."

The victory proved to be bittersweet, however, as Jones suffered what turned out to be a torn ACL in the first half. The senior averaged 7.5 points and 3.2 assists this season.

Indiana, which ranks second in the country shooting 43.2 percent from 3-point range, made 8 of 18 from beyond the arc Thursday and 29 of 36 (80.6 percent) from the foul line.

"Indiana played great basketball. They played very tough, very physical," Nittany Lions coach Patrick Chambers said. " ... They drove the basketball. They did some pretty good things."

A victory Friday will give Indiana its most wins since 1992-93, when it went 31-4 and reached the NCAA tournament regional finals.

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