It’s gonna be a hot time on the cold town of Bloomington tonight. IU fans know full well that this evening harbors a Big Ten showdown between two squads with 3-0 conference records in the Hoosiers and the incoming Wisconsin Badgers (ESPN, 9 p.m.).
IU, with a 15-1 overall record, moved up to No. 2 this week in both the AP and USA Today Coaches polls. Thanks go out to former No. 1 Duke, erstwhile No. 2 Michigan, and then-No. 4 Arizona for taking losses in the past week. But it’s Louisville that ascends to No. 1.
Meanwhile, Wisconsin has votes in both polls and could make a definitive Big Ten season statement—yea, an NCAA tournament-approaching statement—by knocking down the Hoosiers in Assembly Hall. The Badgers themselves boast a 12-4 record into the contest.
The IU faithful will recall the last time these teams met: March 9, 2012, when the Badgers dismissed the Hoosiers from the Big Ten Conference tournament, 79-71.
Expect a physical, grinding battle from these teams, as IU, led by a fresh co–Big Ten Player of the Week in Cody Zeller, seeks a stranglehold in the conference standings. And for good reason: In this young new year, each team is marching toward Madness.
Photo by Tony Valainis