Indiana Hoosiers vs. Wisconsin Badgers Pick & Prediction FEBRUARY 27th 2024

Wisconsin figures there still is time to salvage an uneven second half of the season.

The focal point for that goal: defense.

Wisconsin has won two of three on the heels of a four-game losing streak entering Tuesday’s game against host Indiana in Bloomington, Ind. Players credit a renewed emphasis on ‘D’ for a surge that has helped the Badgers (18-9, 10-6 Big Ten) climb into a tie for third place in the conference standings.

“After a loss, the urgency always goes up a little bit,” Badgers forward Tyler Wahl said. “I feel like on the defensive end … we’ve picked it up a lot. We’ve been wanting to sit down, we’ve been wanting to be physical, we’ve been wanting to string stops together.”

A weeklong break since their most recent game, a 74-70 home win against Maryland on Feb. 20, has allowed the Badgers to rest and get healthy.

The team’s veteran core has welcomed increased contributions from freshman John Blackwell, who scored nine points against Maryland while playing strong defense against the Terrapins’ guards.

“He does things you can’t teach,” Badgers coach Greg Gard said. “That’s an innate feel. He’s a smart basketball player.”

Indiana (14-13, 6-10) has lost four in a row and eight of 10 since a promising start to league play. Included in that stretch is the Hoosiers’ 91-79 loss at then-No. 11 Wisconsin on Jan. 19.

Shooting struggles, especially from long range and the free-throw line, continue to plague the Hoosiers, whose 31.5 percent accuracy from beyond the arc ranks 12th among 14 conference teams.

Indiana is last from the free-throw line at 65.3 percent.

The Hoosiers went just 2-for-15 on 3-pointers during Saturday’s 83-74 loss at Penn State, getting makes from Mackenzie Mgbako and CJ Gunn over the final 1:35 with the outcome decided.

“We’re getting a lot of good looks,” Indiana coach Mike Woodson said. “I just think it’s from a mental standpoint. I’ve got to get them where they’re comfortable just making them, because we haven’t made them this season.”

–Field Level Media

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