Wisconsin Badgers at Indiana Hoosiers (+4.5)
Third-ranked Wisconsin puts its unbeaten record on the line when it attempts to defeat host Indiana for the 13th consecutive time Tuesday. The Badgers are off to the best start in school history and are one of three Big Ten teams to avoid a conference loss in the early part of the league schedule. The Hoosiers had to rally to defeat Penn State on Saturday to prevent opening Big Ten play with three straight defeats.
Indiana lost twice to Wisconsin last season – once in the regular season and again in the semifinals of the Big Ten tournament. The Hoosiers are in transition mode after losing four senior starters off last season’s powerhouse team and will need a superb performance to knock off the Badgers, who can tie the program record for consecutive wins (2006-07) and are coming off last Saturday's dominating victory over Illinois. “I’m certainly proud of them,” coach Bo Ryan said. “But you start thinking about that too much and it can go the other way in a hurry.”
TV: 7 p.m. ET, ESPN
LINE: The Badgers opened as 4.5-point road faves.
ABOUT WISCONSIN (16-0, 11-5 ATS): Freshman forward Nigel Hayes is emerging as a potent force off the bench, averaging 13 points over the past five games. Hayes is averaging 6.8 points and shooting 52.3 percent from the field but he’s refusing to let the praise over his performance or that of the team go to his head. “There was a quote we were talking about – a John Wooden quote – of ‘Don’t get caught up in the praise or criticism,’” Hayes said after the win over Illinois. “So that is what we are trying to do right now. Don’t get too high on ourselves.”
ABOUT INDIANA (11-5, 7-7-1 ATS): Little-used Austin Etherington was the hero against Penn State after he drained the go-ahead 3-pointer from the corner with 1:22 to play. The basket was only the fifth of the season for the sophomore forward averaging 1.9 points per game and Crean hopes it is the kind of moment that will propel Etherington’s confidence level skyward. “The fact that he went in and his confidence grew like it did to the point where he could knock down that shot in the corner was huge,” Crean said. “He grew up a lot and this week in the sense of he was on the court in really crucial situations.”
* Wisconsin is 6-0 ATS in the last six meetings in Indiana.
* Wisconsin is 10-2 ATS in the last 12 meetings.
* Under is 4-1 in the last five meetings in Indiana.
* Underdog is 4-0 ATS in the last four meetings.
1. Indiana’s last victory over Wisconsin came on Jan. 31, 2007 when the Badgers were ranked second in the nation.
2. The Badgers committed just four turnovers against Illinois and lead the nation in fewest per game at 8.2.
3. The Hoosiers have made 20 or more free throws in four of their last five games.