A spot in the Big Ten tournament championship game is on the line when top-seeded Indiana and fourth-seeded Wisconsin meet in Saturday's semifinals in Chicago.
The No. 3 Hoosiers dispatched Illinois in Friday's quarterfinals while the No. 23 Badgers advanced by overcoming a double-digit deficit to knock off Michigan.
Wisconsin won the regular-season meeting 64-59 at Indiana.
The early season loss surely provides the Hoosiers with even more motivation to end an 11-game losing streak against the Badgers.
Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan didn't want to discuss the Badgers' longstanding dominance of the Hoosiers after beating the Wolverines. "I don't even think about those kind of things," Ryan said. " Never have. And people that know me will tell you that."
Indiana's 59 points in the first meeting is its second-lowest output of the season. The Hoosiers average 80.8 points and are 16-1 when scoring 80 or more this season.
Indiana had a 38-26 rebounding edge in the win over Illinois. "I think our guys really, really understand how important rebounding on both ends is, and specifically how important guard rebounding is," Indiana coach Tom Crean said afterward.
TV: 12:40 p.m. CBS.
ABOUT INDIANA (27-5): Sophomore forward Cody Zeller had 23 points and 10 rebounds in the January loss to Wisconsin and excelled in the victory over Illinois by scoring 24 points on 9-of-12 shooting and collecting nine rebounds. Junior guard Victor Oladipo had a solid all-around game against the Illini with 12 points and 11 rebounds and senior forward Christian Watford scored 15 points as five Hoosiers reached double digits. "These guys are so unselfish and they're so selfless with one another," Crean said. Indiana is in the tournament semifinals for the first time 2006 as the program bottomed out badly before Crean arrived to revive it.
ABOUT WISCONSIN (22-10): The Badgers made a stunning turnaround in their 68-59 victory over Michigan by scoring three times as many points (51) in the second half than the first (17). Wisconsin's 17.2 percentage over the first 20 minutes was a season-low for a half and the Badgers shot 60.7 percent in the second half while tallying their most points in a half this season. Sophomore point guard Traevon Jackson led the way with 16 points and frustrated Big Ten Player of the Year Trey Burke for much of the contest. Jackson is aware of the chatter that the Badgers don't have the type of talent that schools like Indiana and Michigan do. "When we play together as a team, we can get beat anybody," Jackson said. "Yeah, these guys are NBA guys, but we believe in ourselves as well."
Three points to considers:
1. Indiana's last victory over Wisconsin came Jan. 31, 2007, when the Badgers were ranked second in the nation.
2. Badgers junior G Ben Brust had four of Wisconsin's eight 3-pointers against Michigan.
3. The Hoosiers racked up nine steals against Illinois, including two by freshman point guard Yogi Ferrell, whose 71 steals are three shy matching the school record held by Isiah Thomas (1980-81)
PREDICTION: Indiana 72, Wisconsin 69
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