Wisconsin Basketball: Badgers top Hoosiers to secure fifth straight win

(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

The Wisconsin Badgers ended their six game home stand with their fifth straight win as they defeated the Indiana Hoosiers by ten and seem to be back on track.

The Wisconsin basketball team got their fifth straight win with a 71-61 victory over the Indiana Hoosiers. The win seemed to bring back the Wisconsin way of playing basketball. After starting league play a month ago with two games, falling to Ohio State and defeating Penn State, the Badgers are back playing the Big Ten for good. The Badgers needed this more than ever.

Right before the new year, the Badgers blew out UMass-Lowell 82-53 after they had a hard time with Chicago State. One day after the new year, Wisconsin started conference play again.

We weren’t sure what to think of this Indiana team. They fell to Indiana State to begin the season. In Archie Miller’s first season with the Hoosiers, the non-conference was very difficult so that loss was anything than what they needed.

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From there, they fell to Seton Hall, Duke, Louisville and Michigan in one of their first two conference games. Indiana had a game where they thought things were going to get better. They defeated Notre Dame by three. The Hoosiers then fell to Fort Wayne in the next game.

I had a lot of expectations for this Indiana team coming into the season. Granted the recruiting wasn’t as high as it has been in the past and they lost a few guys to the NBA, but I think Archie Miller is a good coach. Making the tournament kind of far fetched, but competing well was going to be there for IU.

Moments before the game against Indiana on Tuesday night, the Badgers announced that Brevin Pritzl was going to miss the game. That adds a third body to the count of guards who have missed time this season.

Bucky went with “next man up again.” Instead of inserting another guard into the starting lineup, Wisconsin went with they guy has been seeing the most minutes off the bench.

Nate Reuvers has had himself a roller coaster of a season. He went from possibly redshirting after not finding his groove in the preseason to now being a starter for the men’s basketball team.

The big man from Lakeville, Minnesota has turned into the sixth man in recent games. Reuvers has played in double-digit minutes in each of his first ten games. He went off for double-digit points in the first two Big Ten games this  season. At 6’11, Reuvers is also a three-point threat which gives him that much more potential.

Reuvers only played 14 minutes, which was second lowest among the ten starters, but when he was out there, the forward opened the court up for the All-American.

Not only did the Badgers look the best they have all season in their fifth straight win, but Ethan Happ looked every bit of a play-maker as Dan Dakich and every other Wisconsin big man fan club member expects him to be.

I’m not sure if it’s because Dakich was on the call for the game and he stresses that the ball must work through Happ (as he did about Kaminsky and Hayes) on every possession, but that’s exactly what happened in their fifth straight win.

There could’ve been another reason why Happ performed so well too. The Bad Man himself, Aaron Rodgers was in attendance.

Either, this fifth straight win was exactly what the Badgers needed. They had to overcome adversity once again.

Wisconsin decided to actually go big for once and it paid off.

Aleem Ford at 6’8 215 didn’t have to play the four. He could still stretch the floor, grab a couple rebounds and play a solid 32 minutes. The three-point threat that he has turned into is what Bucky needed this season.

Khalil Iverson had a nice match up all game. He didn’t have to force a three-pointer at all. He shot 2-4 from the field and went to the line seven times. And made six of charity shots.

We were also blessed with another monster dunk. He actually used a ball fake underneath to his advantage and threw it down.

Brad Davison just continues to shine right before our eyes. It wasn’t his best shooting night from the field, only going 4-12, but he knocked down a pair of triples and all four free throws.

Maybe Davison should drive and get to the line more? The three-pointers will come. He’s actually a good shooter from the line (77%) so he needs to take advantage of scoring situations anyway he can get them.

We can’t conclude this write up without mentioning a few former and current walk-on’s.

There was another Aaron that needs to be talked about. Moesch played a career high 25 minutes in the Badgers fifth straight win. His previous high was 13 against Indiana during his sophomore season.

When Reuvers was out with foul trouble, as he concluded the game with four, the senior forward stepped up in a big way. He didn’t necessarily add a ton of points, but he filled in the back court quite nicely.

Moesch knocked down both of his free throw attempts, recorded three boards and two assists. Basically, if Alex Illikainen and Andy Van Vliet don’t want to add production, Moesch is certainly willing to take advantage and prove that he belongs in the rotation during his senior year.

This time around, T.J. Schlundt was trusted as the first guard off bench. He came in, knocked down a triple, played solid defense for 20 minutes and solidified his spot.

Walt McGrory only played four minutes, but his minutes, along with Schlundt’s will come and go. It’s a learning process for everyone.

Lastly and normally I wouldn’t include two guys who only played four minutes, but Charles Thomas IV certainly made the most out of his time. He also only played four minutes, but he secured three offensive boards in that time. He knew the urgency that this team has if they want any chance at getting back into the Tournament discussion.

Next: Wisconsin Football: 3 Biggest Takeaways from 2017 Season

With this fifth straight win and second overall conference victory, the Badgers are right back in things when you look at the conference standings. They’re 2-1. Right smack dab in the middle of the Big Ten Standings.

The Badgers now go on the road, but two of the three are against Rutgers and Nebraska. No need to chirp and mess everything up, but their probably couldn’t be a better two to play as the Badgers are riding a winning streak. That would shoot Wisconsin up the standings with a 4-1 record and they will take anything at this point in the season.