The No. 8 Badgers (3-1 Big Ten, 9-2 overall) could tie Illinois for second in the Big Ten tonight as they take on the Indiana Hoosiers (2-2 Big Ten, 7-4 overall) in the Kohl Center. The Badgers will be playing their first game in 2021 due to the cancellation of Sunday’s contest at Penn State.
Indiana’s trip to Madison comes on the heels of a home victory against the only team in the Big Ten to beat Wisconsin this year: the Maryland Terrapins. Unfortunately for the Hoosiers, sophomore guard Armaan Franklin was injured in the eight-point victory. Franklin leads all members of the Hoosiers’ rotation in three-point percentage at 47.6% on the season and is second in scoring with 12.7 points per game. Franklin is not officially inactive yet, but he is doubtful to play.
If Franklin does not play tonight, head coach Archie Miller will have to rely on underclassman playmaking against the veteran Badgers. Freshman guard Trey Galloway is most likely to take Franklin’s spot, as he already averages 24 minutes per game. Galloway is shooting an impressive 46.9% from the floor, but shoots barely over 22% from deep. Redshirt sophomore forward Jerome Hunter will likely have to pick up the slack from deep as the only other Hoosier to shoot over 30% from distance.
While the Hoosiers may not have their full depth at the guard spots, their forwards are healthy and dangerous. Sophomore forward Trayce Jackson-Davis is the clear star of the Hoosiers’ show, averaging 20.3 points, 8.9 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game. The preseason All-Big Ten forward was named to the midseason Wooden Award watch list on Jan. 6 after scoring 22 points and nabbing 15 rebounds in their win against Maryland. Senior forward Nate Reuvers and redshirt senior forward Aleem Ford will have their work cut out for them on both ends of the floor if Jackson-Davis matches up with either one of them.
The Badgers are looking to get back into a rhythm after a full week without a game. In their last game, they took down the Minnesota Golden Gophers in a 71-59 beatdown. Star point guard Marcus Carr was held to just 11 points in his least impressive performance of the season. If the Badgers can bring the same defensive intensity, they could entirely shut down Indiana’s backcourt.
This is the Badgers’ final tune-up before they take on the Big Ten-leading Michigan Wolverines in Ann Arbor next Tuesday. While the top-ten matchup is undoubtedly worth looking forward to, the Badgers aren’t the type of team to get sidetracked from the game at hand, especially after a home loss against an unheralded Maryland team. Every team in the Big Ten this season has the potential to pull off an upset if you don’t bring it every night.
The game is set to tip off on FS1 at 6 p.m. Central Time.