Indiana Gets Ready to Battle The Badgers at Assembly Hall

Bleacher ReportCorrespondent IFebruary 25, 2010

NEW YORK - DECEMBER 08:  Devan Dumes #33 of the Indiana Hoosiers dribbles the ball against the Pitt Panthers during the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden on December 8, 2009 in New York, New York.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Chris Trotman/Getty Images

Five weeks. 35 days. 840 hours. 50,400 minutes.

That's how long it has been since Indiana has last won, which was Jan. 21, 2010.

Since then, the Hoosiers have been in an eight-game slide, and currently it seems like there is no end in sight.

Players are playing soft, without energy, and without any confidence.

Yet heading into the final stretch of the season, maybe things can change.

Indiana has nothing to lose in tonight's game against the Wisconsin Badgers, who gave the Hoosiers their worst loss of the season, a 28-point beat down, 83-55, in the teams first matchup in Madison. 

The Hoosiers will have a new matchup to worry about tonight, with Wisconsin's second leading scorer, forward Jon Leuer back into the lineup. The 6'10" big man loves to spot up outside the arc, but is more than able to go down low and make shots with his back to the basket.

The best suited to guard him would definitely be freshman forward Christian Watford, who, if he keeps his hands up, plays strong defense, and forces him to the wings, should keep him from scoring and racking up rebounds.

Speaking of defense, the team sorely lacked that in the last game against Wisconsin.

Constantly this team was out of position, over committing, and just playing soft defense and letting Wisconsin run all over them.

At some point, the players, you would think, would realize that they just need to play solid defense, and they have a chance to beat anyone.

Indiana tonight has a chance to end their losing streak, that has at times seemed close to ending, and at other times, seemed like it would last forever.

Guard Jeremiah Rivers must play strong and drive to the hoop. Watford must find ways to score inside. Guard Verdell Jones III must get back to the basics, and just take jumpers inside the arc, which usually when he takes them, finish with a swish. And the Indiana bench must outscore and outplay the Badger bench and starters.

For the Badgers, they are and have been one of the most consistent teams in NCAA men's basketball in the last 10 years.

They have no players who we can call "stars" yet they have four players who average double digits in scoring, led by guard Trevon Hughes, and they lead the Big Ten in scoring defense, free throw percentage, and turnover margin—three statistics that are vital to winning.

Opposing teams in the Big Ten have scored on average just 56 points per game against Wisconsin. Indiana is in last place in that category, with teams scoring 72.1 points per game.

Wisconsin is an extremely solid team, but if anyone knows how to play Wisconsin its Tom Crean, who faced them every year with Marquette and as an assistant coach at Michigan State.

With Coach Crean's help, Indiana can pull off a stunner tonight, and finish the season with a bang.