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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


UW looks to rebound after first home defeat

UW redshirt freshman forward Ryan Evans and the Badgers suffered their first home loss to an unranked Big Ten team Tuesday. They get a chance to get back on track against struggling Indiana.[/media-credit]

After suffering a home loss for the first time this season, this week has been a different experience for No. 11 Wisconsin as the Badgers look to avoid losing consecutive games, something they have not done in 2009-10.

UW welcomes the Indiana Hoosiers to the Kohl Center for a Saturday afternoon matchup the Badgers cannot afford to lose. With only six games remaining, Wisconsin will likely have to win all six to earn even a share of the Big Ten title.

Still, forward Ryan Evans insists it has, for the most part, been business as usual the past two days in practice.


“It’s the same old, we stick to the same routine,” he said. “We’re just preparing for Indiana.”

As a redshirt freshman, Evans had a courtside view of the Badgers six-game losing streak a year ago. Based on what he’s seen, though, the 6-foot-6 forward does not expect a similar result following the Badgers’ first home loss since Jan. 27, 2009.

For true freshman Mike Bruesewitz, on the other hand, losing at the Kohl Center is an entirely new concept after the Badgers went 13-for-13 to open the season at home.

According to Wisconsin’s other 6-foot-6 freshman forward, the team’s reaction was much like that which he experienced as a member of his high school basketball team.

“What I’ve noticed, like in high school, a lot of times when we’ve lost, usually the next day practice is pretty good, pretty competitive, people got after it,” Bruesewitz said after practice Thursday. “And that’s kind of what happened here again today.”

After losing to unranked Illinois, the Badgers will face another unranked opponent in the Hoosiers, who currently sit ninth in the Big Ten conference standings.

Much as they were a year ago, the Hoosiers are an athletic, yet young and inexperienced team in head coach Tom Crean’s second year at the helm.

Last year, Wisconsin struggled early against Indiana on the road before dominating the second half en route to a 17-point victory at Assembly Hall. When the “Crean and Crimson” came to the Kohl Center, UW dominated throughout, cruising to an 85-61 win.

Indiana enters the game with the Badgers having lost 69-52 at home to No. 13 Ohio State with Wisconsin being the second of three straight games for the Hoosiers against ranked opponents.

The Badgers will have another tough guard-forward combination to deal with Saturday, albeit one with far less experience than that of Demetri McCamey and Mike Tisdale.

IU sophomore guard Verdell Jones III, who scored 39 points in two games against UW a year ago, ranks second among second-year players in the Big Ten with 14.7 points per game. Alongside the 6-foot-5 Jones is 6-foot-9 freshman forward Christian Watford.

A native of Birmingham, Ala., Watford leads Big Ten freshmen in scoring with 12.5 points per game, while also pulling down a team-high 5.9 rebounds per game.

According to Bruesewitz, keeping IU off the glass will be a key factor in the game.

“They’re the second-best offensive rebounding team in the Big Ten,” he said. “We’ve got to make sure we keep people off the glass, because second opportunities just kill teams. It deflates you defensively and inflates them. So we’ve just got to make sure we keep them off the glass, that’s probably the biggest thing.”

In nine career matchups, UW head coach Bo Ryan owns a 6-3 record against Crean, with seven of those decisions coming while Crean was at the helm of in-state rival Marquette.

Though the contest with Indiana lacks the marquee-nature of many of the Badgers’ recent games, Ryan’s squad recognizes the importance of getting back on the right track following a tough home loss to the Illini.

“We have to get ready for the next game,” senior guard Jason Bohannon said following the Illinois loss. “We have to put this behind us and realize there is another very good team coming in on Saturday. We have to be ready to play.

“It’s just the nature of the Big Ten; if you lose a game and you are still focusing on that game, you will lose the next game down the road. We have to look ahead and come ready to play.”

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