FORT WAYNE – Indiana’s defense and patience will be tested tonight at Assembly Hall.
The Hoosiers (11-5, 1-2 Big Ten) play host to No. 3 Wisconsin (16-0, 3-0), which is always willing to wait for the best shot available.
They are not an above average passing team, they are a great passing team, IU coach Tom Crean said of Wisconsin during Monday’s Big Ten teleconference. Where they are so efficient, and where they have hurt us in the past and have hurt so many others, is when the game gets into rotation and you are constantly helping and overhelping or trying to stop the dribble or stop this or stop that, they are such a great passing team. They not only make the next pass but the pass after that and, if need be, the pass after that.
The Badgers have recorded an assist on 206 of their 408 made field goals this season and enter tonight averaging 12.9 assists a game.
Wisconsin’s willingness to pass the ball has led to four players scoring in double figures with Sam Dekker leading the way with 14.2 points a game. Frank Kaminsky averages 13.6 points, and Ben Brust and Traevon Jackson average 13.1 and 10.8 points.
And all of those scorers have shown a willingness to share the ball, with Jackson leading the way with 69 assists. Brust has 26 assists, and Dekker and Kaminsky have 23 and 17.
I think this team has moved the ball side, top, side pretty well, Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan said. I can never say is it your best team (at) doing that, I would not know how to answer that one. It is a good passing team as far as changing sides of the floor and making the extra pass.
Wisconsin has also shown it is comfortable in playing in low- or high-scoring games.
The Badgers posted wins of 48-38 over Virginia and 59-53 over Florida. They also notched wins of 103-85 over Bowling Green and 95-70 over then-No. 23 Illinois on Sunday.
I think we are obviously making a few more shots, stats will tell you that said Ryan, who team is averaging 76.4 points on 47.2 percent shooting after averaging 65 on 42 percent shooting last season.
I think we have been very opportunistic. We’ve also been in some low scoring games as well as higher scoring games. I think it is about the points per possession, what you are getting. If you can get them at the free-throw line, if you can get them with threes, with the extra point, you know the and-ones in the post; I just think that this team so far has been a little more opportunistic and a little more accurate overall.
While the Badgers’ offensive efficiency has the Hoosiers’ attention, IU forward Noah Vonleh has Wisconsin’s attention.
The 6-foot-10, 240-pounder was named the Big Ten freshman of the week for a fifth time this season after he helped lead IU to a 79-76 victory over Penn State on Sunday with 19 points, six rebounds and a block. Vonleh is averaging 12.3 points and 9.3 rebounds.
Size and agility usually have a lot to do with that, and he’s got both, Ryan said of what makes Vonleh a good player. He’s got a knack for the ball. He competes. He’s just a really good player, period.